Training for a marathon successfully requires careful preparation and goal setting irrespective of your ability or how old you are. Experts strongly recommend giving yourself a preparation time of at least three to four months prior to the event and this time period holds good for those who are strong runner and average around 20 miles or more a week.
Experienced and professional marathon runners also need time to prepare themselves even if they clock in the miles. There are a few training principles and efficient goal setting processes that can help you establish a solid running base. You need to know which level you are at: beginner, intermediate or advanced before you start training for a marathon.
Some of the main items that should be a part of your preparation list before you start training for a marathon are a good pair of running shoes, focus on rehydration, getting adequate nutrition, a proper training plan, etc. to work on increasing your overall levels of fitness.
Ideally, all marathon runners need to train 5 days a week. The two days off are a period of rest and recuperation and you can also use these forty eight hours to carry out a thorough assessment of your progress. This period is the time for the body to recuperate and recover and helps prevent injuries caused due to overstrain. To make the most of your training schedule and to make it as pleasurable and rewarding as possible, there are a few key components of the marathon training schedule for first-time marathon runners, intermediate endurance athletes, and experienced distance runners.
Nutrition is important
Athletes as well as novices need to watch what they eat. Your carbohydrates intake is important because your body will need them to cope with the strain before, during, and after the long training sessions that you put it through. So, you need to ensure that your carbohydrate stores are always good. You can monitor it by creating a nutrition sheet with the daily carbohydrate intake per day that is recommended for a runner at your level.
Give yourself sufficient time
Your ability and your fitness levels decide your training time. Overtraining leads to burnout and exhaustion. There is no point in pushing yourself till the last minute and hours before the race because your body needs to be in peak condition right before the race.
Vary the intensity of the marathon training program
You need to have peaks and troughs in the intensity of your training program. Start building your strength and pace gradually during one week and then rough it out the next week to avoid over-training. This process is known as ‘periodization.’
Novices with absolutely no recent running experience need at least a month of planning to build up on their running mileage slowly and gradually. They should keep a dairy of some sort to track their progress and set goals. The programs at the intermediate and advanced levels can be shorter because people already have a good running base to start with.