It is 2018 and bucket-lists are far from an ending fad. While traveling and dining destinations are sure to make the cut, there is a surprising bucket-list contender that is more common than one might think: marathon running. Completing 26.2 miles is an ultimate physical goal that many people work to accomplish. The sheer physicality of the race can be a significant challenge– although with discipline, diet, and exercise, the success of running a marathon can be addictive.
Your first marathon will be very different from other races and physical challenges and therefore requires specific training. Stay consistent, pay attention to your body, and take it one day at a time. Get mentally prepared, sign up, and take the leap.
Where to begin
The first place to start: understanding. You need to know your body and understand that you don’t just wake up as a marathon runner. It takes time, practice, and sweat. Depending on your age and shape, you may want to consult a physician before entering marathon training. Once you are cleared to go, start small. It is recommended to become a consistent runner for a year before entering a marathon. However, it’s your life, so do you. But remember to be healthy and safe. Build up endurance and mileage over time, and enter in shorter races to get prepared physically and mentally. Some great races to start with include 5ks, 10ks, and half-marathons.
Elements of Marathon Training:
- Base Mileage – Base mileage is simply how many miles you can run at the beginning of your training. This is the amount of mileage that your body is comfortable running. The point of knowing your base mileage is so that you can aim to increase your weekly mileage over the course of a span of time. Run three-to-five times a week and avoid increasing weekly mileage by more than 10% from week to week.
- Long Run – Starting with shorter distances (10-15 miles) and working your way up (20 miles), doing a long run every 7-10 days extending the mileage every other week, allowing your body to gradually adjust to long distances and build endurance. Preferably, first-time marathon runners should run 20 to 21 miles 2-3 times before the day of the race.
- Speed work – This element is all about increasing cardio capacity by practicing intervals and tempo runs. Intervals are running repetition sets ran at a substantially high pace with recovery jogs in between. Whereas Tempo Runs are longer paced runs aimed at building mental and physical endurance. While this is an optional part of marathon training, speed work can increase aerobic capacity making runs easier and more enjoyable.
- Rest and Recovery – Resting and recovery, for some, can feel pointless or useless. However, the rest allows your body to heal for maximum performance. If you just can’t sit still during these days, utilize cross training. Whether its a hike, swimming, yoga or lifting weights, find yourself a workout that isn’t high-impact or extremely actively.