How to Prepare for a Marathon

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How to Prepare for a Marathon

If you're a runner, it's likely that, at one point or another, you've considered a marathon. And a marathon can be great, particularly as a way to show yourself and others how hard you've worked to make it to this level of fitness. However, that 26.3 mile run can be daunting, and you shouldn't start it without being prepared. So, how to prep for a marathon? Follow these guidelines, and you'll be running it in no time!

Get the Right Equipment

running shoes

If you're a runner, you likely already have the equipment needed to run. Namely, clothes and shoes that will keep you cool, wick away sweat, and allow for safe, easy strides. However, a few weeks before the marathon, you might want to consider giving your wardrobe a once over and seeing if anything needs to be replaced. Running shoes that are already on the worn out side might simply come apart during a long run.

Start Building Mileage

two men running sunset silhouette

Next, time to work on some actual running! The first thing you should do is work on building up how far you can actually run. It's best to start this twelve to twenty weeks before the marathon, to allow you time to adequately prepare. Start by running three to five times a week, and never increase your distance by more than ten percent a week. By the end, you should be able to do fifty miles per week.

Start Long Runs

girl running sunset

This is something that should be done once per week, or even once every ten days. On these days, you should aim for a distance that is longer than your normal run, but still doable. Say, twelve miles. Then, increase how far you run by a mile or two every week. After three weeks, you should start scaling back from this, taking a mile or two away until you're back at your original distance.

Work on Speed

man stretching on bridge

Since marathons are generally endurances races more than anything else, it might not make sense to work on speed. However, working on building up your speed will allow your muscles to push themselves farther while you're going slower. This makes runs that are longer, but slower, feel much, much easier! Build up by sprinting small distances in intervals, then returning to your regular running pace. Or sprint even farther, and walk for a few minutes in between.


woman laying on park bench sleeping

When prepping for a marathon run, you have to take rest days. These are days in your training where you do no running whatsoever. It might seem counterintuitive, but it's the best way to recover, build up, and avoid any injury which could happen. There should be no running, not even a short one, on these days! Cross-training is a good way to stay active on these recovery days. And always scale back in the weeks leading up to the marathon!

Running a marathon isn't an easy thing. It takes practice, preparedness, and tenacity. With these pointers, you'll be crossing the finish line triumphant...if a little tired.

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