Marathon Training 101

Cardio – everyone’s worst nightmare. If you didn’t grow up playing sports, or weren’t born with the genes of a natural runner, it’s a total chore to run for more than five minutes straight. However, there are some people out there who enjoy running for fun – what a concept! Every day its easy to spot people running at the gym, around a track or around campus. If you happen to be super into running and want to do more than your normal routine each day, consider training for a marathon. VALLEY has some tips and tricks that include more than just attempting to run a long distance each day to make you marathon ready in a few months.

Run for Different Time Intervals and Distances

If you’re new to the world of running races, completing a marathon will be no easy task. A marathon is 26.2 miles in distance, and takes an average of five hours to complete if you run at a good pace. If you’re in no rush, you can also finish a marathon in about seven or eight hours. However, if you’re no stranger to running long distances, you could complete a marathon in just under three hours.

When starting to train for a marathon, don’t force yourself to actually run the distance of a marathon to see if you can do it. Running for a long distance at the beginning of your training isn’t a true test of your endurance. Instead, start running for varied minute intervals: run for one minute then walk for four minutes, run for two minutes then walk for four minutes, run for four minutes then walk for one minute, and so on and so forth. These time intervals should be repeated enough times to add up to 30 total minutes of cardio.

After you’ve conquered running different time intervals, push yourself to run different distances. Start easy with a mile a day, adding up to a mile and a half, two miles and then maybe even five miles. Once you feel comfortable and confident running longer distances at paced times, start aiming for the ten or 20 mile marks. With time, running for a long time at a longer distance will be a breeze.

Strength Training is Essential

While running is obviously important to train for a race, it can’t be done each day. Every other day of training should be filled with strength training exercises. The most essential exercise should be to spend 30 minutes on an elliptical to increase calf and thigh strength. Though you might think that running can build these muscles by itself, working out an elliptical will work your muscles in a different way than running can. Ultimately, you’re becoming stronger by doing both.

Aside from the elliptical, it’s important to implement weight lifting into your training routine. No need to fear – we don’t mean intense weight lifting that would require you to lift more than your body weight. In this case, lighter free weights will be your best friend. Lifting weights makes not only makes you stronger, but can tone your body to get rid of excess weight. It’s essential to have a strong body to run so that you can keep up a good pace and not get tired so fast.

Stretch Every Single Day

After every workout, whether you’ve been running a few miles or lifting weights for ten minutes, you should immediately stretch afterward. Stretching will release the tension that was just built up in your muscles, so that it won’t be difficult to move any of your limbs post-workout. While training for a marathon, it’s almost impossible to not feel any pain as your body will be put through exercises that it may not have experienced before. If you don’t stretch, that pain could may last for an extended amount of time.

Keep a Balanced Diet

To make sure the results of your training are effective, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced diet. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to cut out all of your favorite foods to eat only fruits and vegetables for each meal, but instead to eat in moderation. Yes – fruits, vegetables, servings of meat and protein are essential, but don’t be quick to turn down a piece of pizza or a bowl of ice cream. Crazy diets aren’t the best option while training for a high-endurance race, so don’t cut down on the food you normally intake. However, don’t indulge on sweets and other junk food on the daily, as that can slow you down in the long run. Remember that balance is key when it comes to eating during training.

Now, with some more knowledge on how to train for a marathon, it may not seem that scary! If you’re feeling bold, go ahead and start running just for fun, and maybe one day you can turn that into a marathon.


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