Marathon Running Tips for Recreational Runners

Training for a marathon is quite a challenge, but it should also be fun and exciting. There are less than one percent of the world's population that can say they ever finished a marathon.

Plenty of marathons take place every year, and raise money for a variety of good causes, but most people never enter. Why? Are they too busy? Too lazy? Or do they think they aren't able?

Our bodies are amazing. You can do anything you set your mind to. Even if you are in a wheelchair, there is a marathon for you.

Anyone can run a marathon. All you need is the desire and some training to get you prepared.

Get Motivated

One of the hardest parts about running a marathon is getting of the couch. But, your need for motivation doesn't end there.

You have to keep the big goal in mind, or you may be tempted to give up. The easiest way to stay motivated is to have a running buddy. When you enter the marathon with a partner, you are both more likely to keep training.

Train together and keep each other on track. Helping each other develop a strong body and the right mindset is a sure way of enjoying your training and crossing the finish line with a smile.

Joining a running group is great preparation for a marathon. Image used under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of Peter Mooney and Flickr

Joining a running group is great preparation for a marathon. Image used under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of
Peter Mooney and Flickr

Marathon Running: Set Realistic Goals

On average, non-runners need several months (16 to 20 weeks) to get into shape for marathon running.

Set small weekly goals that are easy to achieve or you may become discouraged. You may feel like you are getting behind in your training and you will never be ready.

This kind of thinking will have a negative impact on your psyche, and may even lead to depression.

Slow and steady is the key to a good training program. If you don't think you can do it on your own, invest in a trainer or coach.

You and your running buddy can coach and help train each other, but if you don't know anything about running a marathon, seek help and advice from an expert. Learn as much as possible.

Your first goal should be very achievable, like walking for an hour. At a slow pace, you can cover about 3 kilometers. Many people that enter marathons never run at all. They complete the the entire race just by walking. There is no shame in this.

Don't think about the length of the marathon at the beginning of your training. This is considered the pre-training time. Once you can run for 30 minutes without taking a break, you are ready for more serious training.

Thinking about running for four or more hours straight can be too overwhelming at first. However, as your training progresses knowing how long it takes for you to run 42.2 kilometers (the average length of a marathon) will help you learn how to pace yourself. Your goal at this point will be to get faster.

Increase your pace and your distance by about 10 percent every week. Also begin weight training. Strong arms and legs make long distance running easier.

Don't let your routine get too boring. Spend every other day swimming or cycling instead of running. These activities are lower impact, yet still build strong muscles and endurance.

In fact, it is better for your body if you don't run every day. These are called "rest days."

That doesn't mean spending the day on the couch with a bag of chips and a box of chocolates. You should still do some type of exercise, and you still have to stick with a healthy diet.

About two months into your training, you should begin to look for a marathon to sign up for.

Once you commit to a race and put up the fee, you will be less likely to back out.

The big day will be memorable, no matter what time you post. Image used under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of Filmvanalledag and Flickr

The big day will be memorable, no matter what time you post. Image used under a Creative Commons license with the kind permission of
Filmvanalledag and Flickr

Marathon Running: Nearing Race Day

As the big day approaches, you should cut back on your training. During the last week or so before the race, slow down your pace and distance on running days, and lessen your workout on rest days.

Spend more time on yoga and other relaxation activities. Your body will be stronger when race day arrives if you give yourself a chance to recover from all of the intense training of the past few months.

Marathon running is all about endurance. Pace yourself throughout the race and cross the finish line with a big smile.

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