Running a marathon is an epic event in a long-distance runner's life, especially the first time you achieve this goal. When you set your sights on a marathon, you'll need to give yourself plenty of time to work toward it. At 26.2 miles, a marathon requires extensive training, possibly taking a year or more to prepare for. Injuries are a real risk when running these long distances, so it's important to build up your mileage gradually with consistent training.
Effective marathon training needs to involve regular running about three to five times a week to build up your base mileage. Training should also include a long run every week to ten days so the body adjusts gradually to longer runs. Interval and tempo runs will help enhance the body's cardiovascular capacity, and rest days will be equally important for avoiding injuries and burnout. Runners also need to figure out how to hydrate during runs, learn about the special dietary concerns that come with long-distance running, and test various types of nutrition and refueling techniques to find a system that feels right.
The choice of a first marathon is important because marathons vary significantly in style and terrain. Some marathons are quiet and low-key, while others are crowded and bustling events. It may be helpful to run in shorter races, such as 10Ks and half-marathons, to figure out which type of race you prefer. Marathons will be held at different times of the year in varying climates, so runners may be faced with running on a warm day or running in cold temperatures. Running a marathon on a summer day might necessitate sunglasses and clothing that will wick away more perspiration, while running a marathon in cold weather will require gloves and a hat, which you may need to discard during the race. Choosing a marathon close to your home will give you a familiarity with the surroundings, which can be an advantage.
- How to Start Running: The Absolute Beginner's Guide: Running releases endorphins, which help improve your sense of well-being.
- Running Advice for New Runners: 8 Tips for Beginners: Novice runners need to start running short intervals, then gradually increase their distance to grow endurance.
- 31 Running Tips to Help You Become a Better Runner: Setting a goal and creating a plan are effective first steps when starting a new running regimen.
- The Best Running Tips of All Time: Pay attention to the tension you hold in your upper body as you run because this can drain you and use up too much energy too quickly.
- How Six Coaches Trained Their Runners to Make the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team: Explore methods and tips from professional coaches who train Olympic marathon runners.
- Top Five Tips for Qualifying for the Boston Marathon: Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is a lofty goal that requires extensive training and experience with both 10K and half-marathon races.
- How to Train for a Marathon: Experts recommend that runners should take one year to train for a marathon to avoid overtraining and the injuries that can come with it.
- Marathon Training: Effective marathon training consists of a progressive program with runs gradually getting longer until about three weeks prior to the race, then tapering off to conserve energy.
- The Complete Marathon Training Guide: Follow this training guide that breaks down training into eight-week blocks to increase endurance, then carefully reduces run distance at the end in anticipation of the big event.
- Nine Things Nobody Tells You About Training for a Marathon: Fear and excitement are common emotions when training for a marathon.
- Marathon Training: Those running a marathon for the first time should strive to finish at a comfortable pace, not set a new personal record for time.
- Boston Marathon Training Plans: Training plans are organized according to runner level, designed for novices, intermediates, and advanced runners.
Online Record-Keeping, Running Apps, and Tools
- Marathon Time Predictor: Use this tool to help you determine the best pace to run in a marathon to hit your goal.
- RunKeeper Running App: The RunKeeper running app is free to use, and runners can use it to set goals, track workouts, and see progress.
Marathons and Road Race Calendar Listings
- Running in the USA: Peruse upcoming races held across the United States with listings on this website.
- Running Events: Marathons: Check out upcoming marathons planned across the United States.
- U.S. Race Calendar: Marathons are listed on this website with links to additional information for each race.
- Marathon Race Listings: Set your search parameters to find marathons held in cities across the country.
- Find a Race: This race database enables runners to enter keywords, distance, terrain type, date, and region to find races.
- GetSetUSA Database: Click on states in this interactive map to find information about races you can register for.
- 2020 Race Calendar: Get information about upcoming half-marathons listed by date and by city.
- Vacation Races: Coordinate an upcoming vacation to run a half-marathon or full marathon in a national park while you're there.
- Find a Race: Explore upcoming races and filter them to find your next goal race.
- Race Calendar: Northwest events are included in this current race calendar, listed by date.
- Marathon Directory: Explore marathons listed in order of date to find marathons near you.
- Race Calendar: New York Road Runners provides a list of upcoming races in and around New York City here.
- Marathon Training Tips: Train carefully and moderately to build endurance without injuries.
- Running a Marathon: Training Tips: Don't attempt a marathon unless you have been training for at least a year, can run about 25 miles a week comfortably, have run at least a couple of 5K races, and have 18 weeks or more to train.
- Marathon Training: Choose a training plan and pace yourself carefully as you prepare to run a marathon.
- Ten Tips for Marathon Training and Injury Prevention: Use the 10 percent rule when training, which involves increasing your mileage by no more than 10 percent each week.
- Six Tips to Prevent Marathon Training Injuries: Have a professional evaluate your running form with a gait analysis when preparing to run a marathon.
Running and Fitness Organizations/Clubs
- Road Runners Club of America: RRCA is a national runners' association dedicated to growing the sport of running.
- Virtual Running Club: Joining this virtual running club enables runners to run races anywhere and participate in fitness challenges.
Running Magazines and Publications
- Trail Runner Magazine : Peruse the training plans here to increase trail-running endurance.
- 25 Golden Rules of Running From Runner's World : When training for a specific running event, train by running at your goal pace for the target distance.
- Go From Couch to Marathon With Women's Running : This training guide will help people go from relative inactivity to being ready to run a marathon in about six months.
Fitness and Health
- American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids: Teenagers and adults need 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: Children and teenagers need daily exercise also, with at least one hour of moderate activity a day recommended.
- New Exercise Guidelines: Any Changes for You? All types of activity count toward the number of minutes of weekly exercise recommended for everyone.
- How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need? Moderate aerobic activity includes brisk walking, while vigorous activity would be jogging or running.
- The New Exercise Guidelines: Vigorous activities might include taking a strenuous fitness class.
By Joe McFerrin