From Couch Potato to Endurance Runner: Training for a Marathon

Whatever your motivation may be, getting in optimal shape for marathon running is no easy feat. It requires patience, discipline, consistency, and a willingness to push yourself beyond your limits. That being said, many beginners make the mistake of pushing themselves too hard and too fast. Building up the physical endurance necessary for a marathon takes time and should be approached with care.

This guide will outline the basic elements of marathon training and help you formulate an effective plan of action to get you into tip-top shape.

The Basics

First things first: go see your physician before undertaking any serious physical challenge. Regular exercise is, of course, an essential part of maintaining your health, but pushing yourself above and beyond what your body is used to can be potentially dangerous. A doctor will be able to identify any possible complications that may arise should you overdo it.

Once you have been for a physical health assessment, it’s time to start making headway. It is important to start slow and let your heart, lungs, and muscles adjust safely to regular strain. The process of readying your body for a marathon can take up to a year depending on your initial levels of fitness and stamina.

Build your mileage slowly and pay attention to the signals your body is sending you. Many aspiring athletes do serious injury to themselves by attempting to build mileage too quickly and ignoring their limits.

Set Achievable Goals

Breaking your training journey down into several smaller milestones will help you stay focused and motivated. Find smaller races to participate in and use them as indicators of how much you have improved.

5-10km races are easy to find and lots of fun. You can use these shorter races to get yourself used to the physical and mental requirements of achieving a set goal.

Increase Your Mileage

Marathons are all about mileage – so you need to get your body used to running for long periods of time and for long distances. Do not rush this process, you should only ever increase your weekly mileage by 5-10%.

It is advisable to do one long run every week and a half to condition your body to distance running. These runs should be taken at a leisurely pace to ensure that you can achieve maximum mileage.

Build Cardiovascular Strength

High intensity speed runs are effective at developing the necessary cardio fitness. In these sessions, you can alternate between fast-paced jogging or sprinting and slow-paced jogging or walking. In other words, run as fast as you can for a certain distance and then give your body a break.

Rest Days

Letting your muscles and mind recuperate from rigorous training is just as vital as the training itself. Be sure to set aside at least one rest day per week during which you do not run at all, and instead enjoy Bingo in Dubai and other fun pursuits. If you really want to do some physical activity, try low-impact exercise that engages your core strength such as yoga.