runningRunning a full marathon is a popular goal for fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors who enjoy the challenge of reaching such a prestigious goal. But training for a marathon isn’t something that can be done without careful planning and purpose. From injuries and exhaustion to terrible weather and everything in between, there are certain strategies and techniques that can help you most efficiently plan for your next marathon and reach your own goals.

Before You Begin

Preparing for a marathon begins before your feet hit the pavement. First of all, know your body’s limits, especially if you have suffered injuries in the past that might create difficulty in your training. Second, find the marathon that you want to run so you have a specific date to push toward. If you marathon is three months away, you can train differently than if your marathon was in three weeks. It’s really best to give yourself a full year of running 20-30 miles a week before devoting yourself to a training program.

Remember the Primary Elements

Any successful marathon is made possible by four core elements. The first is your base mileage, also known as the mileage you run per day at least three to five times per week. It’s recommended to run 12 to 20 miles per week at first, then gradually build to 50 miles per week over a four month period.

The second element is your one long run per week, longer than your normal base mileage to help you adjust to the marathon distances. If your first long run is 10 miles, then increase it the next week to 11, then 12, and so on. Speed work is also an important component of marathon training since varying your intervals will keep your body challenged and on point. Finally, the one element that many people overlook, rest and recovery. Running intensely seven days a week will lead to injuries and mental burnout, so remember that it’s okay to take a break!