Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and recommended marathon training advice for completing the marathon. Prior to commencing any marathon training, please check your health and wellbeing with a medical professional.
One of the most popular and challenging races that people will attempt to run is a marathon race. The marathon is a gruelling event that takes place in several cities around the world and is attended by the regular public and professional athletes alike.
The marathon isn’t an event that people can attempt to do without any training. It is a race that must be worked up to unless you are already a runner that is already running in excess of 50km per week.
In this post, we’ll share an approach that you can use to prepare and condition your body for a marathon race.
You will receive the training framework for running the marathon.
What marathon distance events are there?
You can opt to do a full marathon or a half marathon.
A full marathon will see you run 42.195 km (Source)
A half marathon will see you run 21.0975 km (Source)
You will need to decide which event you want to participate in and then you can adjust the type of training that’s needed so you can compete in the marathon or half marathon event.
What equipment will you need to successfully train for the marathon?
You will need this to help you track your running pace, heart rate, running distance, and to help you provide real-time feedback and data for your marathon training. We have previously shared a post on the best running watches.
I personally use an Apple watch, however the Garmin watches are very popular with serious runners.
You need scales to track your weight progress in the lead-up to the event. You need to maintain a lean body frame, but ensure that you aren’t burning away muscle. But that you are still maintaining a low level of body fat.
You need a set of body fat calipers to measure the amount of body fat that’s on your frame. You need to strike the right balance between having enough body fat so that you have enough fat as an energy source for when you are running.
What amount of body fat should you aim to have in the lead-up to a marathon?
|Gender||Body fat % range|
If your body fat isn’t within this range, it won’t stop you from participating in the marathon. However, the run won’t be as easy.
As you start to complete more intense workouts, you will find that your body will continue to sweat. The sweat will usually go into your eyes, so you want to prevent this from happening during your run.
A sweat band that you can have on your wrist is convenient.
It’s very likely that you will be training out in the sun. Because your body will be exposed to UV, you will need to apply suncream to shield your skin from getting damaged from being out in the sun.
The one below is a good suncream to apply on your skin.
You will need to train with a skipping rope to help you improve your reaction time off the ground. This will give you more explosive power so you can quickly accelerate and run with a faster pace during the marathon, with less effort.
Hurdles will be used for doing hurdle hops, which will maximize the amount of power that you will generate. You will need to use these for double and single leg exercises.
You want to do these until failure so that you can train your muscles to generate explosive power, as well as reacting quickly off the ground.
Resistance weights will help to strengthen the muscles in your body and it will help you develop more power for your run.
Resistance bands are also needed to help improve the explosiveness with functional movements. You will use this to improve power generated through your hip flexors and abdominals.
Kettlebells movements will help you generate more power through your hips. This will help you to maximize your hip extension when you are running, which should allow you to cover more distance with each stride.
These are the shoes advocated by Olympic champion Mo Farah. He goes through a pair of shoes once every three weeks due to the volume of running that he is doing every day.
If you can afford these shoes, have them as your racing shoes and ideally your training shoes as well.
You can also see our list of recommended marathon running shoes.
Running earphones or headphones.
If you like to listen to natural sounds, then you won’t need this. Otherwise, you will need to invest in a set of earphones or headphones so that you can keep yourself entertained.
We’ve previously shared a list of the best ear buds for running.
This will give you the option to enjoy music, podcasts, entertainment shows, or even conversations whilst you are running. And since your training runs will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3h, it’s worth investing in a set.
Marathon Training Guide
How long should you aim to run per day?
Mo Farah starts his season by running at least 28km per day or 193km per week.
We’re not expecting you to run the same distance as an Olympic medallist. However, if you want to be competitive, then you want to progressively increase the amount of kilometres that you run on a weekly and daily basis so that your body becomes accustomed to running long distances. (Source)
Aspire towards 28km per day. However, set a minimum starting point of 5km. Then try to progress to 10 km. Then 15 km. And then 20 km per day.
What’s the average pace that you should aim for when training or running a marathon?
In the beginning, you want to condition your body for mileage. So you will probably maintain an average pace between 6-8 minutes per kilometre. The initial goal is to finish the distance of your progressive run.
If you can maintain a faster average pace, then that will provide a benefit.
What kind of mindset do you need to train for the marathon?
Complete the distance.
The marathon is a far event, but the first goal that you have to commit to is completing the distance. And to complete the distance, it is easier to focus on reaching the small goals.
Focus on taking the first step.
Commit to taking the step after the next step so that you complete the distance.
Break the distance down into different sections. So aim to complete 250m, 500m, 750m, and 1km intervals.
No matter what, keep on moving forward and close in on your goal.
Run to a strategy.
Plan how you want to run the distance ahead of time. If you can, plan your route, your motivation factors such as music, and your pacing throughout the training for the race.
What training plan should you follow to successfully run a marathon?
There are different training tactics such as the couch to marathon, an 8 week plan, and a 12 week plan.
Whatever approach you take, keep in mind that you want to progressively condition your body to complete running the distance.
Marathon Training Plan
Below are links to several marathon training programs that you can use to prepare yourself for the marathon.
You need to condition your body to doing long runs. This will be a combination of doing tempo runs over a distance. And running over time.
You want to work your way up to 28km runs ideally. If you can get close to the 25 mile mark, this will help to condition your body to be stronger for the runs.
The alternative is to continue doing timed runs at a tempo.
Tempo runs for time should be at – 60 minutes/90 minutes/120 minutes
As your body becomes more conditioned, you can introduce Fartlek runs and speed runs into your routine.
Marathon Training of Eliud Kipchoge
Here is a sample training schedule of Eliud Kipchoge the greatest marathoner to ever lived.
|Monday||AM 13 miles in 1h10 min|
PM 6.2 miles in 40 min
|Tuesday||AM Track workout: 15min warm up (3.1km). |
1200m in 3:25, jog lap, 5x1km in 2:55 (1.30 rec), jog lap, 3x300m in 42-40 (1:00 rec), jog lap, 2x200m in 27s (1:00 rec). 15min cool down (3km)
|Wednesday||AM 11.1 miles in 1h11 min|
PM 6.8 miles in 44 min
|Thursday||AM 24.8 miles in 2h26 min|
|Friday||AM 11.1 miles in 1h10 min|
PM 6.2 miles in 39 min
|Saturday||AM – 10min warm up (2km). |
30 x (1min on, 1min off), with reps at an average speed of 2:45/km and recoveries an easy jog.
Cross country course. 15min cool down (2.8km)
|Sunday||AM 12.4 miles in 1h 17 min|
What running weight should you aim for to run a marathon?
The main thing you want to focus on is having a lean, athletic frame. The lighter you are, the less weight you need to carry over the marathon distance which will make it easier for you to run and complete the race.
The ideal weight range will be between 60-80kg. If you are heavier, you can expect to feel the impact of your body weight on your joints more.
Having a lighter frame will also allow you to project more power and explosiveness during your run. This will allow you to run further and faster during your marathon run.
|60-70kg||Athletic long-distance runners build|
|70-80kg||Athletic sprinter’s build|
|80-90kg||Athletic, but heavy for a marathon|
|90kg+||Heavy build for a marathon race|
Which shoes should you wear for a marathon?
You must invest in a good set of shoes for your training and for when you run the marathon. If you don’t, it’s likely you will get blisters or some other injuries on your feet or that might even affect other muscle areas on your body.
You want to wear shoes that’s good for the terrain that you are running on. You also want the shoes to give your feet the comfort and ability to breathe during the race.
Which marathon events should you try to attend?
|New York Marathon||TBD|
What time should you be aiming for in the marathon?
The average time to run a marathon is 4h and 30 minutes for men, and 4h 56 minutes for women. (Source)
You can use this marathon time calculator to estimate your running time for your age and gender.
Below is a table that shows the pace you should have for different marathon times.
|Desired finishing time in the marathon||Running pace per kilometre|
|2h||2 minutess 50 seconds|
|2h 30 mins||3 minutes 33 seconds|
|3h||4 minutes 15 seconds|
|3h 30 mins||4 minutes 59 seconds|
|4h||5 minutes 42 seconds|
|4h 30 mins||6 minutes 24 seconds|
|5h||7 minutes 7 seconds|
Don’t forget to fuel your body for your marathon runs.
You can also get protein powder and other supplements for your marathon training.