Marathon Training Tips

What can you say about marathon training?  The sheer beauty of the marathon is that there are no short cuts – you have to run 26.2 miles, and that means that marathon training involves running – lots of it!

Having said that, it’s not simply about churning out the miles.  Too many runners spend months plodding along on the same route at the same pace every day, and end up standing on the starting line feeling tired and heavy legged before the race even starts.

The answer is to find a compromise – you have to do the miles, but your marathon training has to have a plan behind it.  You need to mix up runs of different speeds, different distances, and on a variety of different terrain.  You will keep your mind fresh, your legs fresh, and will also get far more out of your training.

The core of any marathon training program is the weekly long run. You simply can’t train effectively for a marathon if you aren’t doing a long run each week.  The long run gradually prepares your body for the effort required to run a marathon by having you run a little further each week.

Week by week you will build up from six miles, to eight miles, to ten, and so on, all the way to a maximum run of 18-20 miles a few weeks before the race.  Anyone who has ever run a marathon is familiar with this right of passage.

In addition to your weekly long runs you also need to do some runs at a pace slightly faster than your race pace.  These tempo runs are a great way to increase fitness, and again you will slowly increase the distance you run at that pace, teaching your body to run a little bit faster.