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How To Start Training For A Marathon For The First Time - A Beginner's Guide

Marathon Training Books

Making the decision to compete in a marathon is a very important first step in a long and difficult process. A marathon is not an impossible feat but it is also by no means an easily attainable goal. Anyone who is considering completing their first marathon should realize there is a great deal of work involved in training for a marathon and the runner should be prepared to devote time and effort into the training to successfully complete the marathon. This article will provide a great deal of information for first time marathon runners who are confused about how and when to begin training for their first marathon. This information is critical because those who do not understand this information may feel as though completing a marathon is not possible simply because they do not know how to start the training process.

The question of when to start training for a marathon is one of the most commonly asked questions by runners who are interested in completing their first marathon. However, there is no simple answer to this question. There is no one answer which will be right for everyone because all runners are unique. Factors such whether or not the individual is already running regularly or is completely new to running, the terrain of the chosen marathon and the current fitness level of the individual all contribute to the amount of time required to prepare for a marathon. First consider a fairly experienced runner who is already completing events such as 10Ks and half marathons and runs a decent amount of mileage each week. This runner may find it is possible to train for a marathon in a relatively short amount of time. However, an individual who is not already running regularly and has never competed in any type of organized race of any distance will likely require more time to complete a successful marathon training program.

Typical novice runners find a period of approximately 16 weeks to be an appropriate duration of time to adequately prepare for a marathon. This timeframe enables the runner to start out with a relatively low amount of mileage and then build on this weekly mileage throughout the course of the training program until the runner is able to complete runs of approximately 20 miles in length. This is important for a couple of reasons. First of all the runner will want to be sure he has a sufficient amount of time to build up his weekly mileage to reach distances which will give him the physical strength as well as the confidence to know he can complete the marathon with relative ease. Another important reason to allow enough time to build up mileage slowly is failure to do so can result in injuries which can hinder the training or even cause the runner to not be able to compete in the marathon. This is because increasing the mileage too quickly can result in overuse injuries such as shin splints which can make running painful and may cause the individual to have to take a few days or even a few weeks off from training to allow the injuries to heal properly.

There are also no simple answers to the questions of how to start a marathon training program. However, one key ingredient to all marathon training programs is the program should be designed to allow the runner to start out with a relatively low amount of running and to increase this amount of running very gradually to prevent injury. Being extremely careful about this gradual increase in mileage will enable the runner to gain strength without sacrificing health or muscle mass.

The type of marathon training recommended will also depend on a number of different factors as well. Specifically this will include factors such as the runnerís personal goals, the terrain of the course and the amount of time available to devote to training. Personal goals factor into the equation because a runner who only hopes to finish a marathon may train quite differently from a runner who aspires to win his age group or finish in the top 10% of all finisher. Runners who have more competitive aspirations will likely have to train more aggressively than those who only aspire to complete the race. Additionally, more competitive runners should also devote a portion of their training to speed work in an effort to improve their speed and increase their chances of performing well on the day of the race.

The terrain of the marathon course should also be carefully considered when planning a marathon training program. Most race directors can provide information on the terrain of the course before the participants enter the race, so the runners can determine whether or not they wish to enter the race based on the profile of the race. This is important because hills can be more taxing than flat surfaces and many new runners may not be interested in competing in a marathon with a large number of hills. However, a first time marathon runner who selects a marathon with a hilly terrain should be sure to devote some of their training time to running hills in an effort to prepare himself for the race sufficiently.

Finally, runners have to carefully consider the amount of time they have to devote to training before planning their marathon training schedule. This will prevent runners from establishing a training schedule which is unattainable. Carefully consider the amount of time you have available to run each week and make sure you donít establish a schedule with which you will be unable to keep up with your weekly running requirements.


The video clip above is from my DVD about running stetches and other running related information. Click on the DVD case below to find out more.

Running Stretches and Running Tips

Click Here to view the DVD.

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