How To Train For A Marathon

There are a variety of marathons near Houston, TX, this year, as well as other races. A marathon is one of the most grueling races at 42 kilometers—26.2 miles. You don’t go from living a sedentary lifestyle to running a 26.2-mile race overnight. You have to train for a marathon. Sometimes, the training is in the gym and sometimes it’s out running. It’s all about building endurance and knowing your limits first. If your last running experience was playing dodgeball in grade school, you have a long way to go. Take it slowly.

Test your limits.

Start by getting a physical or checking with your healthcare professional, since a marathon is especially grueling. The less fit you are, the more important it is. You have a goal, running a marathon, but which marathon and when? If you’ve never exercised, start slowly and plan for a marathon as far as a year in the future. Beginners can start with a 20-minute walk/run routine, where you run for as little as 15 seconds and then walk for a minute to catch your breath, returning to running. As you get fitter, extend the running period and shorten the recovery time. Once you can run a full 20 minutes, it’s time to start training for your marathon.

Build your mileage.

Marathons are grueling for a reason….they’re really long! Once you can run 20 minutes straight, start working on your mileage. Work out 3-5 times a week, with at least one long run every 7-10 days. Many runners use Fartlek techniques that constantly vary pace throughout the run. Instead of going at high-intensity and recovery, you go at close to high-intensity speed, medium, low speed, and everywhere in between the three, but never slow down to recovery pace, always keeping your heart rate slightly higher. Run on various types of terrain.

Build up your distance.

Alter the way you increase your distance run. Start by increasing your long run by a mile every week or two. If you’re running 10 miles, the next distance run, go 11 miles, then 12 miles. Instead of going 13 miles the next distance session, revert to 10 miles, and the following session, increase it to 13. Don’t worry about your pace on the distance run, but distance. Rest on the days you’re not running. It should be active rest, like swimming, calisthenics, or yoga.

  • Focus on sleep. Sleep allows the body to heal and produce HGH—human growth hormone. HGH aids in muscle repair.
  • Hydration is important. Get a hydration pack or belt. If you don’t want to carry the water, create a path that goes past water sources, like fountains. Drink lots of water before any long run.
  • You have to feed your body right to be your best. Eat a healthy diet throughout training. The night before a long run, or the marathon itself, make your meal rich in carbs and carry energy packs or fruit during long runs.
  • If running a marathon is your goal, personal training can help. Our small group in-person training is also another good option.

For more information, contact us today at Reggie C. Fitness

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