Top 5 Marathon Training Tips

By Dawn Marcotte , last updated November 29, 2011

Including the top 5 marathon training tips in any training regimen will help you complete your training without an injury and be successful in your goal. It is important for athletes training for their first marathon to have a training plan, ensure they have proper equipment, cross train, weight train and have a training buddy.

Training Plan

Regardless of whether this is their first marathon or the 50th marathon, all athletes should have a specific training plan. The plan should cover at least three months with rest days, weight training, and cross training in addition to running. First time marathon runners will want to have at least 6 months to train to ensure they are able to build their endurance. 26.2 miles is a long way to run without proper training. Each week will have a long run that grows by 10 percent until the runner can go at least 22 miles or more. Some plans actually go up to 24 or 25 miles. Each week should also have at least one day of rest to allow the body to repair any minor damage done during the training. Generally every 4th week is a rest week where the runner will not increase any distance and may actually run less to allow the body to recover.

Proper Equipment

Running shoes have improved in technology to help runners go faster and sustain fewer injuries. Running in shoes that are worn out will add stress to joints and may cause a stress fracture from repeated pounding on the pavement. Running shoes are usually good for many hundreds of miles, but a marathon runner may run 50 miles a week. It is important to ensure the shoes are replaced as soon as they wear out. Additional running equipment may include a belt to hold a water bottle and snacks for during the run. Shorts and a top that breathe are also a great addition.

Cross Train

No matter how dedicated a runner may be, cross training is still a must. Runners who don’t cross train are missing an opportunity to strengthen their core muscles and upper body, which can improve overall running time. Swimming is an excellent cross training sport, as it doesn’t place any additional strain on joints and uses the entire body.

Weight Train

Weight training is another way to increase muscle strength and speed. Weight training for a runner is a bit different than standard weight training as the emphasis is on improving speed as well as gaining muscle. This type of training usually involves lower weights and more repetitions.

Have a Training Buddy

This is an often-overlooked tip, but it can really help keep you motivated. Having someone to run with even once a week will ensure the training progresses. A running buddy that will hold you accountable for showing up to train will ensure you stick with it longer. A new runner can particularly benefit when paired with an experienced marathoner who will have tips on the best gear or the best route to run.

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