For How Long Should You Train for a Marathon?
If you are thinking about running a half marathon for the first time, one of the first question’s that pops up is ‘how long does it take to train for a half marathon’? This depends on a lot of things. However, in general, training for a half marathon requires at least 3-4 months of dedicated training in order to be race ready. Don’t worry, we’ve considered a buffer period for if you get sick, injured or slammed with work.
The key to a successful half marathon training plan for beginners is to make sure you consistently put in enough weekly mileage to get your body accustomed to running for long periods of time.
You'll also want to incorporate one to two days of cross-training to help you build your fitness and boost your injury resistance. The highest mileage weeks of your training will be between three and five weeks before your race. In the final two weeks before the half-marathon, you'll want to start reducing your mileage. This is called your ‘tapering’ phase.
One of the biggest half marathon training tips we can give you is to set goals. However big or or even small goals can help you stay focused and motivated. Here are some goals you can set for yourself to get started:
Enter a Race!
Three months away from your big race can seem like an eternity!. This is why you should give yourself intermediate goals. Whether it’s a 5k or 10k, your participation in races will give you practice and help you prepare mentally and physically for the half marathon.
Running a suitably challenging distance continuously is a good place to start. Whatever the distance, build up gradually; and once you achieve the target, set yourself a new target distance.
By getting some continuity in your run training, your running will improve as your body adapts to the consistent training stimulus.
What Should You Buy for Race Day
There are certain mandatory things you need for a marathon. To start with, get fitted for a pair of running shoes that are suitable for long-distance running.
Get good moisture-wicking running socks and a race day outfit. Make sure you wear your gear on your long training days, so you know that it works for you. It is important that you train with your gear outdoors to mimic the conditions you would face on your race day.
A good fitness tracker will help you when you start a training program, as tracking your route and recording your speed, pace and distance will help you improve in your running.
Strength Training/Exercising for A Marathon
Any half marathon strength training plan should include strength training. Strength training will help you to lower the risk of injury and improve your running economy. Ten to twenty minutes of strength training is effective, especially if you choose compound, functional movements.
Diet Plan for Marathon Training
It is important to experiment with fueling and hydration strategies that work for you prior to your race day. Your training runs are just as much about preparing your body as they are about finding the fuel and gear that work well for you. Saying that, hydration is a key component of nutrition for runners. As you drink more, it should be balanced with other fluids rich in electrolytes.
Your marathon training diet should encompass an appropriately balanced diet of protein, fats and carbohydrates. Protein is one of the major building blocks of muscle. When you run, a lot of strain is placed on your body. After training, protein helps your body recover and gain lean muscle mass. As a source of energy, monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats (aka “healthy fats”) are ideal for runner. Carbohydrates, or “carbs”, have a bad rap in popular media, but as a main fuel source for working muscles, carbohydrates are essential for nutrition.
After a workout, your body has depleted a good amount of nutrients and needs to refuel. Providing your body with the right mix of nutrients will allow it to recover quicker to full capacity. Within 30 minutes, runners should eat a well-balanced and healthy meal containing protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
During the run, aim to consume about 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour while you are running. Your on-the-run fuel should come from sources that are easy to eat, digest, and carry.
How to Recover?
Marathon training recovery is crucial to your success in completing the race. Without a proper recovery routine, you're less likely to bounce back after a hard run and be able to put in the prescribed mileage the following day. So now you're wondering, ‘how to recover from a marathon’? Make sure to check out our Guide to Long Distance Running Recovery.
Active compression solutions such as SPRYNG, will help speed up your recovery by improving your blood circulation, promoting lactic acid flush out, and increasing the oxygen supply to your muscle tissues. Find out more about the science here.