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Training For A Marathon Guide and Tips

Running | August 13, 2013 | By

Marathons are perhaps the biggest physical challenge anyone could undertake and the training involved to accomplish such a feat is just as gruelling. Are you the 1% of the world who is willing to take on this demanding exercise of stamina and willpower? If so, then you might want to read these helpful tips to get yourself prepared.

Marathon Training

Firstly, running a marathon is as much down to the type of person taking part than actual fitness. At the end of the day, anyone can take part and complete it at their own pace, but getting physically and mentally prepared will give you that edge which will take you over the finish line.


Perhaps you want to take part in a marathon to simply prove to yourself that you can achieve it. Personal goals like this can be great motivation if you’re an individual who likes to push their limits.

Taking part in marathons for the sole reason to lose weight probably isn’t the best approach. A lot of people who do this quit. Although the journey to getting fit can result in losing weight, you don’t have to take part in a marathon to acknowledge that.

Your goal should be to have that finish line in your sights knowing you did everything you could have possible done to achieve it. A marathon is about much more than keeping fit; it’s personal development.


The best way to train for a marathon is to simply run. Not on a treadmill or in a gym, but on the streets, roads and pathways, which will be familiar ground to tread on when the day arrives. Running on a treadmill does not exert the same feedback as running on a road, which is much more physically demanding.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t join a gym altogether however. Exercise equipment will give you an all round development of core muscles required when running. Weighted squats, lunges and calf raises can improve the muscle mass in your legs, helping you to maintain stamina on a run.

Press-ups and push-ups will also help your core strength, focusing on abdominals and upper body strength to push you along. However, don’t spend every day of your training in a gym. Get outside and run to feel what it’s like. It will be a lot different to a treadmill.

When running outside, set yourself an initial distance target each week and see if you can beat it the following week, raising the bar as you develop your stamina.


The food you eat during your preparation is just as important as your exercises and your diet should reflect this. Bin foodstuffs with high sugar content during your training. Sugary foods are beneficial for quick bursts of energy, but if left to sit in your system, can hinder your fitness development.

Carbs are essential for slow energy release but should be moderated. Pasta and rice are a great source of carbohydrates and can be used to bulk up a meal. Try to eat these before you start your training for the day, as you will have the energy to train longer and harder.

Protein should be a priority for your nutrition, helping to build muscles in the training stages. Turkey has high protein content and can even be substituted for chicken in meals. Tuna is also protein rich and will help you gain long term goals when exercising.


Get rid of those old trainers you’ve held onto for the past 5 years and treat yourself to a new pair of comfortable running shoes. You’d be surprised at the difference a good pair of trainers can make. Without sufficient padding, you cannot only do damage to your feet, but also your joints. Your ankles and knees can really suffer on a long run, so make sure they’re looked after.

Lightweight running tops and bottoms will also make your training a lot more comfortable. Get a few cheap tops and joggers or shorts to wear throughout the week of your training regime.

As a bit of motivational luxury, you could also consider taking a iPod with you on your runs. Music has been proven to help exercising, so get your fast tempo playlist, stick the earphones on and run to the beat!

What’s your reason?

As I’ve mentioned before, running a marathon can be more of a personal goal more than anything, but you might get more motivated by introducing an external goal as well. Running to raise funds for a good cause or charity will provide that extra incentive to finish and many people will run in a marathon to promote this. Whether it’s an animal charity or a cause for a community or individual, a marathon can provide a great way to raise funds.

So, if you’re still considering on running a marathon as a charity challenge after reading this, make sure you’ve got all the basics sorted. It won’t be an easy ride and will probably be one of the hardest things you ever do, but the personal reward and achievement will be worth every step of the way.