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How 2 Train for a Half or Full Marathon

So you want to take on a half-marathon/marathon? Here’s a few tips.

Are you considering training for a half-marathon or a full marathon? Finishing a half or full marathon is no small feat and requires patience, determination, and consistency. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a first-timer, there are fundamental principles that will help you achieve your goals and stay injury-free. Here are a few tips. 

Have a Plan

One of the first steps in your marathon journey is to have a well-defined plan. How many days per week can you dedicate to running? Are there specific days when you can set aside 1-3+ hours for a long run? Having clear answers to these questions is crucial in selecting the right training plan. Your schedule and lifestyle should align with your running routine. If you can only commit to three days a week, your plan should reflect that. A plan tailored to your availability will not only optimize your training but also minimize the chances of burnout.

Follow a Written Training Plan

While some experienced runners might be tempted to make it up as they go, I strongly recommend following a written training plan. Having a plan specifically designed for your parameters we discussed above is a game changer. They provide structure and progression that help you gradually build your endurance and fitness, minimizing the risk of overtraining or injury. It’s like having a GPS for your running journey – it keeps you on the right path.

Accumulate Mileage

Before diving headfirst into your training plan, it’s wise to accumulate some mileage. Building a base of chronic workload in your legs can ensure you’re ready to go when it’s time to start your plan. This not only prepares your body for the demands of a structured plan but also acts as a protective shield against injuries. Start with shorter, easy-paced runs and gradually increase the distance to build up your mileage. I recommend starting this process 4-6 weeks ahead of your plan. It’s important to know how many miles your plan requires in the first week so you don’t have to make a significant jump up in miles. If you’re looking for some help on how to do this, consider checking out this program to safely build your mileage up toward 20 miles per week ahead of your plan. Yes, I’m recommending you train to train. 

Make Time for Resistance Training

Running is your primary focus and you should “Keep the main thing, the main thing.” However, don’t underestimate the importance of strength training. Even a small amount of resistance training can make a world of difference. It increases your resilience as a runner, making you less prone to injuries and reducing the relative stress of running. Focus on exercises that target your core, glutes, and legs – these muscles play a critical role in running.

Consistency is Key

Last but certainly not least, consistency is the golden rule of marathon training. Stick to your plan, day in and day out. It’s not always about pushing yourself to the limit; it’s about showing up, putting in the effort, and repeating the process over time. Small, consistent steps can lead to big achievements. Remember, the marathon is a long-distance race, and your training should reflect that. Don’t be discouraged by occasional setbacks or off days – they’re all part of the journey. Remember, it’s not just about reaching the finish line; it’s about enjoying the journey, staying injury-free, and pushing your limits in a healthy and sustainable way. I’m more than happy to help in any way as you take on this challenge. If you have any questions, need advice, or want a customized training plan, feel free to reach out.

-Keep running strong!, Dr. Greg.

Need guidance and a plan as you take on a half or full marathon? Check out our guides, templates, and support from Dr. Greg with our online platform, R2P+ . Get Started Now!

Dr. Greg Ellis PT, DPT, CSCS

Performance Physical Therapist 

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