So, you’re a new runner, and you find that you’re really enjoying it. You have been making great strides and improvements since you first began, and you want to take your game to the next level. You’re hyper-motivated and on the ball.
Naturally, your next step is to try and take on a marathon. In all seriousness, marathons of any length is no easy task. With that in mind, you can prepare for a marathon in just six months, but it will take some dedication and prep work to be as successful as possible on this training journey.
It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding.
Create lofty goals, then break them down
First you are going to want to set some lofty goals for yourself. It is important to set some long-term goals that you can feasibly reach without overworking yourself. By making a six-month timeline you can take it slower, allow your body to adapt and reduce the chance of any overstressing or injury.
The more time you are able to give yourself to adequately adapt to this new regiment, the better. For example, for our bones, it takes about 6 months or more to adapt, with our tendons also taking similarly as long, and our muscles 3-4 months to be completely acclimated to a certain routine.
Even if you are a physically strong person, you need to be attentive to the impact this has on your body.
Just the impact alone of constant running is a lot to ask your body to handle. Easing into the process is key, it cannot be stressed enough, so don’t rush into it and make a goal months out. For example, if you have a marathon scheduled for the spring, start training around September or October to not just be at peak performance, but peak health.
If you try to cram it all into a span of 3 months, you’re going to have a terrible time and it will be detrimental to your body’s health to boot. Prepare for a marathon properly and you will be fine.
Enter a short race halfway through your training
When you’re about halfway through your training regiment, it wouldn’t hurt to try and build your confidence and skill by entering a shorter race.
This could be something like a half-marathon, to set a precedent and be a building block for a full one at the end of your training.
Using the spring example again, you could enter a race in January or February, only a few months off from the main goal.
These small goals and incremental successes will work wonders for your confidence and faith in your ability, while also showing yourself that the training is working out. There’s no pressure to perform super well, but just to do it and succeed in that.
Keep a record of your training
This last piece of advice may seem unusual, but after every run, record how you’re feeling, your thoughts and general demeanour.
Write it down, and slowly build up a catalogue that will not just serve as a reminder of your progress, but more importantly help you determine which runs gave you the best quality. Was it one’s at a certain time of day, or on a certain diet that day? This is a great way to prepare for a marathon.
Was it the number of hours you slept the night before? Was it a specific pair of marathon running shoes that feel best on you? These are all subtle questions that are hard to quantify without recording, so be sure to make a note of it regularly, to better understand your habits and how to tap into your peak as frequently as possible. Be sure to buy a hydration pack for running to help you stay hydrated.
All in all, the journey to a full marathon is just as fun as the marathon itself, and equally momentous. Finishing your first marathon will be an incredible experience that makes all the months of training easily worth it.
If you are feeling hyped up and motivated to go down that road, you can be sure it is a rewarding and intense experience that you may even get addicted to. Making sure that running is enjoyable to you is of key importance as well, so keep in mind that you are training as well as recovering.
The last thing you want is to be completely sore, tired, and make training seem like a chore to cross off your list.
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