Is running a marathon on your bucket list?
Once you’ve decided that you are ready to take on the challenge of 26.2 miles, you want to make sure you prepare and complete your marathon in a safe, injury-free manner.
How to Prepare & Avoid Injury
Plan to take anywhere from 12-20 weeks to train for any running event. Better yet, first train for the building blocks of a marathon. Start with a 5k, then 10k, work your way up to a half marathon and then finally a marathon. Although this will take you longer, it will ensure a safer training routine and help you avoid injury.
First and foremost, make sure you have good running shoes; you’ll be using these a lot. You want shoes that support your foot structure but still allow movement. Most running stores have associates trained in gait patterns and can help you choose a shoe that is right for you and your activity. Shoes have a maximum life span depending on the miles you put on them, so it’s possible that you will need more than one pair when completing your training goal.
It is important to keep in mind that you will not run every day, in fact, you only need to run 3-5 times per week, with your “long run” once every 7 or so days. This will allow you to gradually build your base mileage over the course of weeks. When going out for your run, pick a pace that you can sustain so that you do not slow down later in the run. Built in cross-training days are also important to help you improve your cardio without the stress/impact of running. Moreover, it is imperative to understand that rest and recovery periods are just as important as the runs themselves.
If you are unsure how to start training for an upcoming marathon, there are multiple training programs available online to help you schedule your runs. The program you choose should have you start by running every other day, gradually increasing your mileage, and then increasing to consecutive running days. Keep in mind that if you start to feel pain during or after a run, you should stop and consult a sports medicine physician to see that it is safe for you to continue your training. It is easy to develop overuse injuries if you are not carefully following a gradual training program.
Good luck in your training!