Gearing up for a marathon can be pretty easy if you chart out a proper beginner marathon training plan, and it is ideal to start following your beginner marathon training plan at least 16-20 weeks before the event.
To complete a long-distance run successfully, one must keep in mind that the most important thing is to run injury-free. Running a marathon is like testing your body to its limits, be it stamina or strength.
Beginner Marathon Training Plan
Preparing every aspect is required equally when it comes to running a marathon, you cannot just train your stamina and be done with it. This is why one should always have a beginner marathon training plan to prepare and train the whole body in every aspect of a marathon.
Being a beginner, it doesn’t matter if you win or not, what matters is that you finish the run and make your body capable of doing so.
Why do you Need a Beginner Marathon Training Plan?
Marathons tend to tire out the body in different ways. There are also chances of having sustained overuse injuries.
Keeping this in mind, the beginner marathon training plan should be constructed so that it should do better to the body than harm.
What is the point of having a plan where you over-train for your run due to which, instead of feeling all fresh and energetic, you feel sore and fatigued?
To avoid all these mishaps, one must always be prepared with a training plan, be it a regular runner or an amateur. A beginner marathon training plan or a proper training schedule can be charted out by some professional coaches or sports medicine practitioners.
What Does Beginner Marathon Training Plan Include?
A proper beginner marathon training plan includes:
- Strength training
- Endurance training
- Stamina training
- Agility training
- Proper warm-up and cool-down.
- An adequate amount of rest days for recovery after training days
The most important part of all is warming up and cooling down your body before and after your training. Stretching is a great way to do so. By carrying out proper warms ups and cooling-down sessions, you can reduce the risk of injury as well as promote muscle health.
Warm-ups and cool-down sessions for a minimum of 20 minutes tend to reduce the risk of DOMS and other muscle pains or soreness.
Make sure to add those to your beginner marathon training program, it is essential to build up your base mileage.
You could go for a run three to five times a week to improve the base mileage that will help you in your marathon. It is also ideal for keeping in mind the run pace. Running quickly could tire out the body and make it difficult to finish the race.
Your beginner marathon training plan can include a bi-weekly long run session so that it would help your body adjust to the distance running as well as give you a proper idea as to what pace you should maintain to keep your body comfortable.
However, it is important to know that training for a marathon can easily lead to overuse injuries. To avoid that, experts always suggest endurance training for 20 miles every day would easily get you trained for a marathon.
Strength and Conditioning Exercises
The most effective method to improve running is to strengthen and condition your body properly. Runners require a lot of endurance, strengthening, and conditioning but not to the point that it starts causing an overuse injury.
Making sure to carry out your beginner marathon training plan without harming your body is very necessary. It is also not necessary that the exercises you perform would need a gym.
Given below are a few basic strengthening and conditioning exercises that you could do anywhere and should add to your beginner marathon training plan:
1) Split Squat
Including split squats can prove to be fruitful for your beginner marathon training plan. Take a large step forward then place your hands on your waist and slowly bring your hips and body down. Make sure to keep your back straight.
Bring your hips down to such a level that your knees and ankles make a 90-degree angle. In case they don’t adjust your step length. Your knees should not extend your toes.
Slowly bring your body back up to the starting position and repeat, do it 10 times on each leg and keep proper form.
This exercise is great for activating the hip muscles and improving balance. Start by standing on one leg with your hands on your hips then slowly bend your torso forward and your non-weight-bearing leg backward.
Make sure the non-weight-bearing leg is straight, as well as your back is straight. You could extend your arms forward for added support. Your body would form a T position, then you should slightly bend your weight-bearing leg to help gain control.
Hold for a few seconds and come back down to single-leg standing and repeat. Carry out 3 sets of 8 repetitions on each leg.
3) Hip Bridges
This exercise targets the glutes as they are the main firehouse muscles needed for running and therefore is very important for your beginner marathon training plan.
Lie down supine and bend your knees and feet planted flat on the ground then place your arms crossed on your chest or at the sides of your body.
Squeeze your buttocks and slowly lift your hips off the ground. Try to get your shoulders, hips, and knees in a slanting straight line. Hold this position for a few minutes a relax. Carry out 3 sets of 15 reps.
Make sure you squeeze your glutes properly while doing this exercise.
4) Side plank
Having a strong core is vital to have a proper running posture. Improper running posture leads to chronic conditions like back pain and ankle pain, this exercise targets the core muscles.
Start by lying on your side, place one forearm on the ground in front of you and place the other arm on your hips, or you could extend it as well. Keep your legs extended and on top of one another.
Your shoulders would already be raised. Lift your hips towards the ceiling unless there is a straight line going from your ankles to your hips.
Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. Do 4 sets on each side, you can gradually increase the holding time as you progress.
5) Calf Raises
The calf muscles and Achilles tendon are the most loaded while running and also support the ankle. It is essential to keep the calf muscles trained. Start by standing straight with your arms by your sides.
Slowly lift your body on your toes. You will feel the stretch of your calves. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds and lower your body. You could carry out this exercise by standing on the edge of a step as well.
Carry out 3 sets of 15 repetitions. These are a few basic exercises to be done to keep the leg muscles healthy and toned. You could add weights for the progression of exercises or increase the reps or sets if you deem fit.
Few Tips to Keep in Mind
Now that we have seen the exercises included in the training session, here are some final tips for your beginner marathon training plan for you to become an effective, resilient, and injury-free runner.
1) Practice Regular Strength Training
Your beginner marathon training plan should include a minimum of a 30-minute session of strength training twice a week. Strength training does not mean just cross-training or treadmills, it means training your shoulder and hip muscles to get stronger.
This would help in conditioning and balancing and stabilizing all your lower limb muscles so that their activation and increased range of motion will help you run faster without getting fatigued too soon.
2) Take Note of The Distance
It is imperative to honour the distance that you are going to run. The body as well as the mind must be conditioned to run a marathon. Running a marathon doesn’t just mean being physically fit, it also requires a lot of mental stability and mindfulness.
As experts have said, running a marathon uses 90% of the body and 10% of the mind. Running and training for a marathon takes up so much time that nothing can go wrong while doing so.
You need to have a proper set of knowledge and skills to combat if anything goes wrong mid-run. To attain that, you need to add long-distance running schedules to your beginner marathon training plan,
You could start your marathon training schedule with short runs or run walks at a distance and gradually increase the miles per week. It is always said, practice makes a man perfect.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many km per week for a marathon?
Most training programs for marathons last 12 to 20 weeks. Over the four months before the marathon, new marathon runners should try to increase their weekly distance to 80 kilometres.
2. How do I run my first marathon?
Before the race, ensure that you are properly hydrated. In the week leading up to the marathon, consume a lot of water. By doing this, you will optimize your water intake before the race.
3. How do you breathe when running?
Breathe simultaneously from the nose and mouth while running to ensure you can run for a long distance.
Final Words of Advice
Running a marathon requires a lot of patience and willpower, and it would be simpler if you would follow a beginner marathon training plan. Anyways, when has proper planning for anything never worked?
Apart from that, marathon runner needs to focus on their diet and equipment, and also, remember that proper hydration is vital. Include proteins and carbs in your diet to keep you feeling energetic in the long run.
Lastly, running a marathon is not about winning but about completing what you started! So, give it your best shot and try to have some fun, yeah?