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Preparing For Your
First Marathon ~ The Foundations of Marathon Training
The prospect of running a marathon is intimidating, to say
the least. Although it looks rather heroic, many people don't realize the
amount of work that goes into preparing one's self for the daunting task of
literally going the distance and, finally, crossing the finish line.
Okay, okay—training for a marathon, especially your first
one, can be hard work. But, you don't have to make that type of work entirely
hard. You just have to put effort AND commitment into it to make it worth your
According to experts who have literally been around the
block a few times, there are four primary elements of marathon training: long
runs, base mileage, speed work and, most importantly, rest.
Foundation #1: Base
If you're planning to train for your first marathon, know
that most training regimes last anywhere between 12 to 20 weeks. There's a
reason why these regimes last that long: the prolonged training period really
helps you build your running endurance and economy, while also getting your
body used to the rigor of running.
Beginners are recommended to build their weekly mileage to
at least 50 miles, preferably over the four months that will lead to your first
marathon. Pacing is key—don't rush through your mileage. And, as a beginner,
don't expect to be able to run on about 25 to 30 miles a week, either. Having
built your mileage to 50 ensures that you'll be able to commit to the work
required to complete your first marathon. So, don't short change your body.
Foundation #2: Long
Beginners will also need to get to a point where they can
take a long run every week. It's best to do this once every 7 to 10 days,
adding on a mile or two every week. But, don't forget to reduce your mileage a
few miles every 3 weeks to prevent your body from getting too overexerted. The
long-short-repeat pattern allows your body to adjust to the exertion that
running places upon it. Pretty soon you’ll have the endurance to run a
marathon. A good place to start would be a half marathon, which has grown quite popular.
Foundation #3: Speed
Although optional, speed work lets beginners potentially
boost their aerobic capabilities by introducing interval training to their
weekly runs. Intervals, to provide an example, are comprised of a series of
short and fast runs in reps that are accompanied by slower recovery jogs after
The most important part of learning how to run a marathon is
knowing when to stop. Rest days allow your body to completely recover from your
training, and essentially helps you from becoming injury prone while out
running. During your rest periods come recovery. And, naturally, recovery
allows your body to heal from its exertion, priming itself for the next outing
so you can perform much better.
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assume any liability for the information contained herein.
The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion
of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice.
Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed
health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you
begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.