As your mind begins to fill with the exciting idea of running a marathon, you find yourself faced with your first of many questions, "Are you ready for a marathon"?
Ready to be in 0.5% of the population?
Marathons require a lot of effort starting with a time commitment. Can you plan to run at least 4 days out of the week in your current schedule? One of those days should be a long run between 1-4 hours! Will you have the block of time available to complete a long run?
This should be the key determinant in deciding if you are ready for a marathon. Fill out this PAR-Q+ form to determine if you need to see a physician before attempting any exercise let alone begin marathon training. Also, have you suffered a recent injury? If so, how severe/debilitating was it to your body? Are you fully recovered?
It takes time for your body to get used to running and really adapt to the rigors and stresses of the sport, the energy pathways that it uses, the muscle fibers that it recruits, etc. Give yourself time to really develop your stamina and energy for long distance running and lay a firm (but more health focused/recreational) running base.
Build up to being able to run continuously (or at a steady run/walk if you are planning on employing that method during your marathon race). Your marathon training plan will then help you to continue to build your endurance through your long runs on that base that you have already set.
Marathon training calls for running higher mileages every week. Give yourself a base and don’t start training until you are comfortable with running 20+ miles a week.
Training for a marathon will take a lot of dedication and sacrifice particularly on a time front. If your job or personal relationships are too unpredictable and can lead you to having to focus on either one thing or the other, than wait to start your training. Realize what's important and what you want to make a priority.
Training for a marathon is not a run in the park. I like to think for the most part that you are going to be one happpyyy trainee (is that a word?) but there will be "those days" where you literally cannot, will not, want to run another mile. Find your own personal cheerleader who will be there for you. Don't start your training without them in the loop.
Your diet will need to become more carbohydrate heavy in order for you be able to run long distances at a high intensity level. I recommend checking our the the Simplified Guide to Nutrition + Hydration for Runners to find out your exact carbohydrate, protein, and fat needs, daily while training and during the race itself, for your intensity level, pace, and body.
Marathon training is not about making sure you get every single run on your plan crossed off. It's about putting in the effort but realizing when you need to just sit out and rest instead of going for that 5 miler. Sleep is also incredibly important for recovery and repairs that the body needs to make. Start getting into the habit of sleeping for about 7 hours every night to get ready for a marathon and during training or those long runs will do you in.
Since this is really the only piece of gear that you really need in order to be ready for a marathon , invest in a quality running shoe, one that wont leave you injured. Here's a list of my shoe recommendations depending on what level of shoe runner you are at.
Do you have a clear goal? Are you not sure why you actually want to run a marathon? Pause. Think about exactly why you want to run this race. Then write it down. Reflect on it. It should be a powerful enough motivator to actually keep you wanting that training and that race.
5K? 10K? Half Marathon? Try a shorter distance first to see if racing and long distance running is even your bread and butter. I recommend at least running a 10K before starting to train for marathon. It will give you somewhat of an idea of what it means to follow a training plan and actually complete the race. Once you begin training for a marathon, plan a half marathon in the middle of your training cycle.
Do you own a running log? If you don't, get yourself one! Running a marathon is an incredible adventure. Trust me, you will be happy that you have a record of all of your runs, the miles you put in, the thoughts along the way, the good days and the bad days. This will be one of the coolest things you have ever done. Document it.
After reviewing all of these questions, honestly ask if yourself if you feel like at the place you are at in your life right now, are you ready for a marathon?
>>> If you aren't ready for a marathon then I'm here to say that...there is nothing wrong with that. Your time will come.
>>> If you are ready (do you hear the welcoming clapping?) then let's choose a marathon training plan for you!