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How to Train for a Marathon

Do you have your heart set on running a marathon? The first thing to consider is building up a sufficient mileage base. Most running experts agree that prior to marathon training, you should be running a minimum of 25 miles weekly, four or five days a week.

In general, people begin training for a marathon 16 weeks prior to the event. During this training period, it is important that you do not allow either your longest run as well as your weekly mileage increase more than 10 percent each week. You also need to follow a hard/easy training regimen. Long runs, speed workouts, racing and hill training are considered hard workouts. You can avoid injury by going for an easy run on the day after a hard workout.

Your long run is the staple of the marathon. Three weeks prior to the big race, you should go out for a 20-mile run. Some experts recommend doing this run at your predicted marathon pace. In order to determine what this pace would be, you should participate in a few 10-k races throughout your training season. If you multiply your best 10-k time by 4.65 an add 10 percent of the total, you will have a rough estimate of your marathon time. Another way to find your ideal pace is to use a heart-rate monitor. To find your target heart rate, subtract your age from the number 220, and multiply that number by 60 percent and 85 percent. This is your target heart rate range. Keep in mind that if you are not accustomed to running distance, you will have greater endurance at the 60 percent range than at the 85 percent range.

If this is your first marathon, you should not be too concerned about speed. However, being on the course for over five hours can be harmful to the joints. You may want to schedule one 30-minute speed run during the week. Throughout this period, you should monitor your body for any potential injuries. If you feel sore, take a rest day. Proper nutrition is important, as well as proper hydration.

Perhaps the most important, yet often neglected part of marathon training is the tapering-off period. Two weeks prior to the marathon, you should cut your mileage in half. Not only will this give your muscles a rest, it will help promote maximum glycogen storage in your muscles. Also, two days before the big event, most experts would advise you not to run at all. Good luck!

 

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