Simple ways to train for a marathon

There are a number of things to consider before you compete in the marathon. These factors include your current level of fitness, your experience with running long distances, and your lifestyle. A marathon can be a pretty intense race, so it requires you to stick to a training plan that will build up your endurance levels as well as physical strength. With the proper training, running nutrition, and running gear, you will find yourself ready to race in a marathon in good time.   MKeep reading to learn more about how to build your ideal marathon training plan so you can cross that finish line.

How long does it take to run a marathon?

Let’s break this question into two parts: what the average time it takes to run a marathon is and how long does a beginner have to train for a marathon. A marathon is 42.2 kilometres long making it one the most strenuous activities. A seasoned runner can finish the race in about 4 to 6 hours, while the most elite run at around 2 hours.

Without adequate preparation, an inexperienced runner can risk the overload of lactic acid buildup. If your body cannot expel the lactic acid more quickly than it builds up, the lactic acid in your blood can trigger fatigue, abnormal heart rhythm, stress, overheating, and dehydration. You see why it is important to increase your body’s endurance levels.

Most exercise coaches or physiologists recommend that someone who runs regularly to train for at least 12 weeks to 6 months. This advice is suited to seasoned runners or people well within the fitness range needed to run a marathon.

Beginners should get used to a running schedule and improve their strength and endurance levels for shorter distances before tackling the 5K to marathon races. The best way to find out how much time you will need to train for a marathon is to consult a health and exercise professional.

Which exercises to do in a marathon training plan

Beginner marathon training plans should include three important workouts: speed work, hill runs, and long runs. On the days that you are not doing these workouts, you should do strength building exercises or easy running that will not impede on your ability to do the 3 main workouts. Be sure to take 1 to 3 rest days in between each workout. This way you allow your body to rebuild, repair, and build muscle and strength.

Here’s what each of the 3 workouts can do to help you get ready to run a marathon:

  • Speed work:
    Speed work not only helps you run faster, but it also helps you keep fatigue at bay. Speed work improves your fitness levels, the range of movement in your joints, as well as your ability to run and a comfortable pace for longer. You might like to alternate between resistance sprint training, regular sprint training, or assisted sprint training.

  • Hill runs:
    running upwards on the hill will help to improve your strength, speed, and even running form. Being stronger and running in good form will help to decrease your chances of getting a sports injury.

  • Long runs:
    When you are about 12 to 16 weeks close to the marathon day, you should prioritise doing long lines. Doing long lines at a conversational pace will help improve your endurance levels, as well as your muscular, cardiovascular, and metabolic systems. It also helps you to become more mentally adapted to running a long trail with confidence.

Running nutrition for marathon training

Fuelling your body before, during, and after each one will help your body to bounce back quickly as well as provide you the energy to run longer distances at a great pace. Also, training your body to handle food for a marathon will help with adapting to eating on  race day without feeling sick.

Carbohydrates are important to eat before and doing a run, as they provide your body energy. Bananas, bagels, and oatmeal are great to have around 60 to 120 minutes before a run, while energy gels are the perfect energy boost doing a run when you need to make that final stretch. Energy gels are easy on your stomach and convenient to carry on a run. Make sure to choose one of the high quality running belts or running backpacks that are lightweight and anti-chafing to store your energy gels in.

Sample marathon training plans

Each runner’s lifestyle, physical fitness, and experience with running long distances will vary. That’s why there is not one plan that will work for everyone. While the below 10 week sample marathon training plan provides suggested workouts and rest schedules, be sure to switch them up to best suit your ability level and needs. You should do one workout a day and have rest days between some.

Week 1-3: (day 1-7)

  1. 8 core exercises, 20 to 30 seconds each
  2. Rest day
  3. Run 2 km at a conversation pace
  4. Rest day
  5. Run for 10 minutes, walk 2 minutes, run 30min and repeat all for a set time period
  6. Walk only or take a rest day
  7. Run 4 to 9km at a steady pace

Week 4-7:

  1. Run 30 minutes, five minutes at tempo pace, 2 minutes recovery jog, repeat until time is up
  2. Rest day
  3. Run 5 km at conversational paste
  4. Rest day
  5. 5 to 8 court exercises, 30-40 seconds each
  6. Rest day
  7. Run 11 to 17kms

Week 8-10:

  1. Run 2 to 3 km at a conversational pace
  2. Rest day
  3. 6-8 Court exercises, repeat 20 times each
  4. Rest day
  5. Rest day
  6. Half marathon or long run at steady pace
  7. Rest

Get marathon ready

Remember, running a marathon is as much a physical challenge as it is a mental challenge. Marathon is as much a physical challenge as it is a mental challenge. Sticking to your marathon training plan can take a lot out of you, so positive self-affirmation and working on your mental health will do a lot of good. And once you find yourself ready to start training, look for a reliable and certified running coach or personal trainer to help develop your perfect training plan. Be sure to eat nutritious food and get lots of rest and you’re good to go.