Ask This When Starting a Marathon Training Program
Running a marathon is both a grueling endeavor and a tremendous achievement. Many people run 5k and 10k races, but running a 26.2-mile race requires months of dedicated training and preparation. If you're planning to run a marathon, your choice of a training plan is perhaps the most important decision you'll make (up until the moment you finish your race). Some marathon training plans are designed for people who are newer to running, while other training plans are built to help veteran marathon runners improve their race times. You can find marathon training plans online, in magazines or in books. You can also consult a personal trainer or running coach to get a more tailored approach to running a marathon.
Is my health good enough to take on this challenge?
Marathons aren't for everyone. Talk to your doctor before you start training. Ask about any health issues that may hinder your progress or put your safety at risk. This could be anything from joint issues to cardiac health issues.
How much do I need to run each week?
The answer to this question really depends on your current fitness level and how much you already run. A trainer can help you craft a weekly workout plan based on what you should be running right now.
How much farther can I run from one week to the next?
A good rule of thumb is to never increase your mileage by more than 10 percent. So if you run 20 miles one week, run a max of 22 miles the next week. Some people are able to add mileage more aggressively though. You may also significantly increase your mileage by adding in another day of running to your week, and that's usually OK. A trainer can help you make these decisions.
Where will I do my long runs?
Anyone training for a marathon will need to plan for some long runs after a couple months of training. When doing an 18 or 20-mile training run, you need to think of where you can run where you'll have access to water and restrooms. Plan these details ahead of time as you're considering which training plan to follow.
What other activities can I do?
You can relieve a lot of stress from your body while marathon training by taking up secondary activities such as running or biking. Not only will this keep you from getting bored with your training, but doing other activities will also strengthen other muscles and help to prevent injuries from over training.
What time of year is my marathon?
The date of your marathon will have a huge impact on your training. For example, if you plan on doing a marathon in the spring, then you'll need to be ready to do your training during the coldest time of year. On the other hand, if you do your training in the fall, then you'll have to deal with the heat of summer during a lot of your training runs.
Are there any running clubs nearby?
Training for a marathon is much easier if you have others to go running with, and running stores are often connected with community running clubs. Getting connected with these groups can provide lots of motivation to not skip your workouts.