Basic Road Map For Running A Marathon
Running a marathon is not a task you should undertake without proper preparation. Covering 26.2 miles requires a high level of fitness that can only be gained through resilience and commitment.
If you’ve been running regularly for some time, you may be wondering if you have what it takes to tackle the marathon. Here are ten signs that you are ready to take the step up.
1. You’re running at least three times per week
The marathon should not be taken lightly. In order to get ready for the marathon, you need to be running regularly, and make running a habit. The minimum amount of weekly mileage you should be running comfortably in training is the race the distance.
If you can’t run 26 miles each week in training, you can’t expect to handle the full distance in a single run. Instead, you should keep building your training volume, responsibly.
Conversely, if you can easily run at least 26 miles per week over a longer period of time, it’s a sign that you’re getting ready for the marathon.
2. You’ve done your long runs
While there are many aspects to a quality marathon training plan, one workout reigns supreme when you’re getting ready for the full. That is, of course, the long run.
To get ready for the marathon, you need to do your long runs. And you need to do them consistently over a longer period of time. You should make your ling run least 90 minutes. And, if you’re ready for the marathon, you’ve likely strung together at least 12 weeks of long runs.
3. You can run an 18 mile training run
Speaking of long runs, it’s not all about time on feet. While every runner is unique and with their own, personal goals, the marathon distance is the same for everyone.
To get ready for 26.2 miles, you should be capable of running an 18 mile long run in training. If that’s beyond you at the moment, you should probably postpone your marathon debut for a while yet.
4. You’ve completed a half marathon race
While doing the prerequisites in training is good, it’s a well known fact that race day is a different kettle of fish. That’s why you should have some experience with running races before you embark on a marathon.
If you’ve already completed a half marathon, you have had a taste of what the marathon will be like. If you did it in style, ran it at a consistent pace and avoided hitting the wall, it is a good sign that you might be ready for the full marathon.
5. Your body is handling the training
Many runners make the mistake of pushing too hard in training. The result is a training cycle plagued by nagging niggles, or even full fledged injuries.
If you’re doing too much in training, and suffering frequent setbacks because of fatigue, niggles or injuries, it’s a clear sign that you are overreaching. While marathon training should be taxing, you need to stay within your body’s limits to get ready for race day.
Is your training going well? Can you handle the workouts and long runs, without suffering setbacks and injuries? If so, it’s a surefire sign that you are getting ready to run a marathon.
6. You can fuel on the run
If it’s one thing that separates marathon training from getting ready for shorter distance races, it is the fact that you need to practice your nutrition strategy. No matter how fast you are, your ability to consume nutrition during the marathon can make or break your race.
This comes with its own challenges. Depending on the sensitivity of your stomach, you may find that it’s difficult to eat while running. That just means you need to train your gut.
Are you regularly fueling with gels or foods rich in carbohydrates on your long runs without running into trouble? That’s a good sign that you’re getting ready to race the full marathon.
7. You know what you’re capable of
What’s the most common mistake among first time marathoners? Starting out too fast. Way too fast.
An important part of preparing for a marathon is to get to know your body, its limitations and capabilities. That way, you can craft an informed and realistic race plan.
A good race plan for a first time marathon runner takes a conservative approach. Your number one priority is to avoid bonking. Set a realistic time goal, but aim to speed up towards what you believe is your realistic race pace somewhere after the halfway mark.
8. You’re prepared to hurt
No matter how much you’ve prepared, and how realistic your race plan is, the marathon is going to hurt you. Properly recovering from a marathon takes weeks, or even months — and that’s a result of diving deep down into the pain cave.
You know you’re ready for the marathon when you feel ready to embrace the hurt. Instead of training to avoid it, you’re training to get used to it, and to cultivate it. You know it’s coming, and you’re going to turn it on its head and use it to your advantage.
You know you’re ready to run a marathon.