Beginners Marathon Training Program
You’ve decided to run a marathon… congratulations!
Welcome to the Marathon Training for Beginners, take the time now to do some research on which race you want to finish. Some things to consider are the time of year, the location of the event, cost of the entry fee and travel, as well as the number of participants. Marathon season in the USA peaks in October, with a steady decline in the number of races in the Winter, Spring, and early Summer.
Keep in mind that if you’re planning to race in Autumn, most of your training will be done during the Summer months, but be prepared for a chilly race day. Whether you find a small local race or you want to be one of the 45,000 runners expected to finish the ING New York Marathon, you will experience the dedication, effort, and elation shared by everyone who finishes the 26.2 mile race.
Marathon Training for Beginners
Once you’ve picked your race, it’s time to start looking at training plans. With the number of finishers increasing each year, there are a multitude of free plans online designed for the novice all the way to expert. Have a look at three to four of them to see how they would work into your weekly schedule and whether or not they seem feasible. A good beginners marathon training plan should have a base, a build, and a peak and taper phase worked into it. Each phase will consist of long runs, cross training, and rest.
The base phase is the first part of your beginners marathon training plan. Whether you just finished another plan or a race, this is the time to get some easy miles under your belt. Take your time on the runs. These should be slower than your expected race pace for the marathon. Anticipate running three or four days out of the week, with your long run on the weekend.
The other days of the week you will be cross-training (swimming, cycling, hill walking, or skating are great options) or resting. Be aware of how your body feels, how sore or tired you are the day after your long run, and don’t be afraid to take a day off if you are sick or not feeling well. During the base phase of your beginners marathon training, your long run will increase from around four miles to six or eight miles. You should be comfortable doing a long run of this distance every week.
Marathon Training Scheduale for Beginners
The build phase is when you start adding more mileage and speed to your training plan. Different from the base phase, your long runs should be done every ten days to two weeks. These runs will go from ten to seventeen miles and not increase by more than two miles or ten percent of the previous long run. By increasing gradually and taking more time to rest, your body will have enough time to recover and you will reduce your risk of injury.
Once a week you should replace one of your easy runs with a “tempo” (also called a “lactate threshold” or “steady-state”) run. The lactate threshold is the point at which your body will sharply increase its production of lactate– the stuff that makes your legs feel tired and heavy. A tempo run is designed to gradually increase the body’s ability to put off producing lactate at faster speeds. In research by Exercise Physiologists Robergs and Roberts, training programs that combine high volume, maximal steady-state, and interval workouts most improve the lactate threshold.
The key to a tempo run is to sustain a speed and effort that is around 65-70% of your maximum speed. One of the numerous tips about tempo run pace is that if you are breathing hard or cannot hold a light conversation, you should slow down. Conversely, if you can sing loudly or yell during a tempo run, you should pick up your speed.
The final phase of the beginners marathon training is the peak and taper phase. To taper means to cut back on your training. This way you are fresh and strong for your race day. The taper phase should be between one and a half to three weeks long. This can be one of the toughest parts of your marathon training plan because you will have a lot of energy reserves and may feel the need to run more or faster than you should during the peak and taper phase.
You should gradually be decreasing your long run from seventeen or twenty miles down to eleven or twelve miles the week before your race day.
Get Marathoners Running Gear
If you are new to marathon training, or just began, you will need a runner’s training watch. You will not meet a single runner who does not have some kind of running watch. A running watch is as important as running with comfortable running shoes.
There are top notch GPS running watches, which cost over $250 (some will hit the $350 mark) but be aware you do not need those! For preparing yourself to a first marathon you need a basic GPS fitness tracker. It will measure your mileage, heart-rate, pace and time.
Our recommendation for a first time marathon runner’s watch would be the Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS Receiver. It is used by thousands of runners, top rate reviews, has endless running features yet simple to use.
Here is Amazon GPS fitness watches page, you can check other watches marathon runners use. You may notice the Timex watches cost less than the Garmin watches. But Garmin watches are by far more popular by marathon runners.
Marathon Training for Beginners – Conclusion
Once you reach the starting line, believe it or not, all of the hard work has already been done for this event. Allow yourself plenty of time to warm up and find your pace corral. Let your friends and family who’ve come to watch you know which miles will be best to watch you from and be sure to thank them for being there for you. Enjoy the moment, thank the volunteers, and congratulate yourself on your first marathon.
Read More About Marathon Training: