For most runners, it is a personal challenge to perform a marathon. You may want to examine their limits or prove that they could go the distance. Perhaps your friends have talked you into doing it. Maybe you would like to get healthier, lose weight, or raise awareness about a charity. So, whatever be the reason, you need to hold onto it and acknowledge it often during your training that lies ahead. You will need this motivation for getting out the door when your legs will be tired or the weather will be nasty. So, how long does it take to run for a marathon?
- 1 How to Get Started
- 2 How Long Does It Take to Train for A Marathon?
- 3 How Do You Assess Your Base Running Fitness?
- 4 What Should You Do on Missing Some of Your Marathon Training Plan?
- 5 Conclusion
How to Get Started
The very first thing that you need to do is to be aware of your limits. The 26.2 marathon could put you at a higher risk of injury than the daily neighborhood jogs. So, consult with a physician before you embark on training programs.
Conformist wisdom suggests that aspiring marathoners need to run consistent base mileage for a year before taking on a marathon training program. The common cause of injury is to build weekly mileage too fast, too soon. So, do not underestimate the significance of consistently running 20-30 miles a week daily before you commit to marathon training.
If you push the pace to add distance or get faster for going further, then your body will respond back. During the training, you need to learn the difference between bad pain (resulting from an overuse injury or other injuries) and good pain (discomfort from leaving the comfort zone).
To prepare mentally and physically for your first marathon, running several shorter races like 5Ks, 10Ks, or a half marathon is a great way. It is quite ambitious to go from 0 to 26.2 miles. Runners who are serious for their marathon attempt, they may like to view it as the final goal with some steps in between. So, initially, they need to look for 5K and 10K events. Also, a half marathon is a perfect way for building into the actual training schedule for a marathon.
However, the leap from a half marathon to the full is not pretty easy. Most runners having a nice fitness baseline could compete a half marathon in some weeks of their training. On the other hand, a complete marathon needs complete dedication to increase their baseline stamina.
How Long Does It Take to Train for A Marathon?
So, how long does it take to run for a marathon? It depends on the base running fitness level of a runner. Along with that, there are various other factors that come into play like injury avoidance and the rate of ramping up the mileage.
Many marathon training plans last for 12 to 20 weeks. Here, these timings assume that the runner is beginning with a decent running base fitness, from which further builds on. For instance, a base of this fitness would be a runner who runs for about 20 miles a week for 9-12 months before they commit to the training plan of a marathon. In case, you start a training plan with no or little recent running activity, then you invite the risk of running injury early on. Check out this video to know about a 6-week marathon training plan for beginners to get to 5K.
The longer you take to train yourself for a marathon, there are better chances of your success. Here, success signifies:
Most runners commit to a marathon without providing themselves enough time to train. So, what happens to these people? If they make it through the training program without getting de-motivated or injured and make it to the start line of a marathon, they will probably have a good start. However, at some point, they will get tired of continuing running and need to walk. Or else, they will get injured or entirely fatigues and need to pull themselves out. So, the primary key to the success of a marathon is to give yourself sufficient time to level up your training incrementally.
How Do You Assess Your Base Running Fitness?
This all comes down to the running fitness level that you have before you start your training for a marathon. Ideally, you need to be running already 20-30 miles a week over 3 to 5 runs before taking on a marathon training plan of 3-5 months. If you have not reached this running level yet, then you need to invest some months for building up this base level. Here are four categories for giving you an idea of how long you need to budget for a marathon training, beginning with the mostprepared one.
Running 25-20 miles a week already
If you have reached this level, then you can readily go for a marathon training plan of 3-5 months. This is because you have a solid running fitness base to begin your marathon training.
Running twice or once a week or 10-km without taking a break
A runner who has reached this level need to spend 2-3 months to build up the base running level before taking on a training plan of 3-5 months. This means that they need to spend 5-8 months in marathon training in total. They need to incorporate several local races and half marathons in their training.
Healthy and fit through spots, not an active runner
If you are not a typical runner but feature a nice base cardio fitness through sports or other activities, then you will like to spend 4 to 7 months to build up the running fitness base before taking on a full marathon training plan of 3-5 months. This means you need to spend 7-12 months in training. Runners of this level can start off with local 5k, 10k, or a half marathon to add to their training program for some months before going on an actual marathon.
If a person who has carried out minimal running and does not exercise daily, then a good goal is to offer yourself a full year for training for a marathon. They can even consider other goals for the moment, such as a half marathon within 12 months. All of this will contribute to the marathon training plan.
For reiterating, the main key to success is to provide yourself sufficient training time. The main idea is to construct the solid running foundation, where you can run 20-30 miles a week over 3-4 runs. In this way, you can even include short running events like 5Ks, 10Ks, or half marathons in that time period. After that, you will have the base required for beginning with the 3-5-month training plan for a marathon.
Of course, strength and flexibility training are significant for runners, particularly when they are training their bodies for running a marathon. It is important to incorporate resistance training to allow your body to understand how to deal with extra muscular pressure and build a strong foundation.
What Should You Do on Missing Some of Your Marathon Training Plan?
Only a few runners reach the end of their training schedule without losing some runs because of injury, illness, or other reasons. If you have missed four weeks or so, then the best decision is postponing the marathon as it is unlikely that you will be able to reach the time you need on the race day after missing a complete month.
In case, you have just missed about 2-3 weeks, then you still have some time for building up to the longest training runs, which prove as a key to success on the race day. If you come back from running injury, then spend one or two weeks to increase the training volume gradually, while using the previous weeks as a guide on your training plan.
It is a serious personal challenge to run a marathon. Here, your success actually depends entirely on how many months you have invested in your marathon training before heading up for the big day. So, how long does it take to train for a marathon? Most typical training plans last for 12 to 20 weeks. During that time, runners run 3-5 times a week for increasing the mileage required for the race day. On other days, they can do cross-training and low-intensity exercise like Pilates or yoga, and also rest their legs to have them fully recovered.