Has “complete a marathon” been on your to-do list for years or featured in your New Year’s resolution? There is no better time to prepare for a marathon than the present.
When crossing a marathon finish line, you’re filled with an unparalleled sense of satisfaction and joy. Whether you’re completing the 26.2-miles to fulfill a life goal or support a worthy cause, it takes time (preferably 5 months to a year) and dedication.
Here are a few steps to prepare for a marathon
First, consult with your doctor. They can give you safety tips and nutritional advice. You’ll also need to research marathons (on websites like Marathon Guide) to find the right one for you. Consider the location, the crowds/popularity, and the date. Also research the gear you’ll need like running shoes (extremely important) and comfortable running clothes.
Building a “running base” before starting a marathon training program is important. Experts like Sam Murphy consider the running base the “cake” and the marathon training the “icing.” Building a proper running foundation requires toning your muscles, heart and lungs. You can do this by slowly building up your speed, gradually increasing the length of your runs, and strengthening your running muscles. This can take a few weeks or months. Start small with a 5k marathon (roughly 3.1 miles) and work your way up. You can get the feel of running a marathon and build up your endurance.
Marathon training programs can last 12 to 15 weeks, maybe even longer. During this time the runners increase the amount of miles they run during the week, starting off at 15 miles a week and increasing to 30 miles or more a week. Shape magazine offers training schedules for those thinking of tackling a half-marathon. And the ING New York City Marathon website offers six sample schedules for full marathon training.
While you’re conditioning your body, don’t forget to exercise your brain. Marathons can be physically and mentally exhausting. Set goals for yourself; for instance, do you have a specific time in which you hope to complete the marathon? Also, don’t forget to readjust your diet while you are training and completing the marathon. Marathon Guide offers some nutrition ideas.