8 Tips for Starting Your Marathon Training

8 Tips for Starting Your Marathon Training

8 Tips for Starting Your Marathon Training

If you’re not new to running but are new to marathons, then it can be a whole different training game – as long-distance races can seem (at first glance) daunting to prepare for. It needn’t be that way with some careful prep and planning. Let’s step back and take a look at 8 different tips for starting your marathon training and taking part in a mass participation sporting event for the first time.

Take a Quick Trip to the GP

Take a quick trip to the GP

You’re ready to make that commitment, but it’s important before you crack on to take a quick visit to your GP for a health MOT and once over. This is important if you’ve got any underlying health conditions such as heart disease – or if you are, or have been previously, a smoker, or have any issues with your weight. They can take your overall health into account and will be honest with you if it’s not a good idea – or whether it’s worth starting with something a little gentler.

Start Gently

Got the all clear? Then go ahead and start planning your training properly. It’s important to not overdo things at first, so take it gently and steadily. A super way to begin is with four half an hour’s walking or jogging per week. Once you’re comfortable with this, up the intensity a bit and then set yourself better time or distance goals to work towards. Your first could be to run – without stopping – for a mile or maintain a running pace for 15 minutes. After a few weeks, you should notice your stamina improving and you can move on to ‘proper’ training.

Develop your Training Plan

Start off gently and build up to a training routine that develops at a natural, healthy pace – we’ll cover this more below. It’s here you might find that you’re starting to develop the odd niggle from repeated exercise and movement, so get to the GP and tackle them with proper medical advice as soon as possible, and take time to rest and recover.

Set Yourself Goals to Work Toward

One of the most important things to do is to set goals to work towards. They can be small to start with – and they’ll help you stay motivated and in the right frame of mind. It could be aiming to get to a certain number of miles in x number of months, or working more on upper body fitness – everyone’s aims will be different.

Maybe your goals are altruistic? Is it to raise money for charity or is it to improve your health – whether that’s physically or mentally? Take some time to work out your aims – you can then see what you need to do to achieve them – and when you reach that point, you’ll feel a huge sense of relief – and a job well done.

Be Realistic

Be realistic

Your goals have to challenge you, but they must also stay within the realms of what you can cope with. Setting unrealistic targets is going to make you feel fed up when they’re not met. Take things step by step and one goal at a time and you’ll feel like you’re achieving great things.

If your main goal is completing a marathon, training towards competing in smaller events like park runs or 10k races. These are smaller targets, but you’ll be participating straight away and it’ll help you work out your performance and training levels.

Set a Realistic Timeframe

Give yourself about 20 weeks to train effectively – especially if you’re starting from scratch. The more time you have, the better prepared you’ll be mentally and physically. Build up your plan gradually and slowly – by the end, it’s good to aim towards being comfortable with an 18-mile run.

Get a Running Mate or Two

If you don’t like running or training alone then consider setting up or joining a support group of fellow runners who will be able to jolly you (and you them) along in times of need. You may just want to turn the training into more of a social affair, which can be a huge benefit.

Don’t Forget to Treat Yourself

Have two days off a week from running. It isn’t healthy to focus solely on exercise and training. Listen to your body and if it’s telling you it’s too tired to carry on – listen and heed that warning. Treat yourself to a favourite food, a good coffee, or a warm bath, and enjoy relaxing for a little while. Training for a marathon is not about punishing yourself until you can’t take any more.

Final Words

Enjoy your ‘run in the sun’ – typically, it will run so smoothly you’ll not even notice. That superbly organised event will probably be thanks to the hard work and dedication of a team of event organisers, marshalls, safety stewards and more besides. Spare a thought for their dedication and professionalism while you glow in the aftermath of the marathon, your medal hanging round your neck and another course you have managed to finish, thanks to all that dedication and hard work you put in.