All runners no matter their skill level have one common goal: to cross the finish line.
Whether you have Rock ‘n’ Roll, New York or any other marathon in mind, the hardest part is just signing up. But once you’ve accomplished that goal, then the hard work must begin in order to cross the finish line.
But if you’re a beginner runner or completely new to marathon training, where do you even begin? You’ve logged a few miles, but you’re not entirely sure how to progress, when to cross train, what to eat or when to rest.
Here’s a little secret: Anyone can train for a marathon. Running coach and CEO/Founder of TheRUN John Henwood says, “It’s a about doing the work. This includes body maintenance of cross-training and stretching to stay injury free.”
Before taking on this 8-week program, you should have a solid base. “The base is the mileage in a training plan. It’s building the muscles strength and endurance. The marathon distance is all about strength and endurance. We only do speed work to increase lung capacity and improve running economy, which will then improve your marathon running pace and long run pace,” explains Henwood.
It’s important to practice with the fuel you plan to use on race day during you training runs. “You should be hydrating every 5K for fluid. Also gels or Gu are important every 45 to 60 minutes. As for their diet, drink more water and eat five to six times per day for optimal fueling,” says Henwood.
Make sure you stick to the program and keep consistent. “This will help you prevent injuries and have more energy in your longer runs and speed work runs. Your body adapts to the routine pretty well,” explains Henwood. He also recommends new runners to do one to two speed-work sessions per week and to add two long-distance runs per week into their routine.
And it’s extremely important to add in a warm-up and cool-down during every workout to prevent injuries. Henwood suggests dynamic stretches, such as leg swings, which are ideal for a run with a light jog. After each workout do your static stretching.