Tips for Training a Marathon as a Beginner

Trainingstipps für einen Marathonanfänger

Training for a marathon needs time and dedication. Novice runners who would like to train for such an event need to approach their training schedule from a different perspective than seasoned runners. Training a marathon beginner will involve a variety of techniques that focus on covering the distance comfortably.

Various Components of Marathon Training for Beginners:

Long Runs

26.2 miles is a long stretch to cover, so naturally training for a marathon will involve long runs. To train for their first marathon, runners will need to have been running comfortably for at least six months to a year. To start their training, a marathon beginner will need to be out running for four days in a week. The mileage covered will increase with progressive sessions and so will the intensity.

Walking Breaks

While marathons are meant to be run, walking periods in between are an integral part of the process. Most plans that provide marathon training for beginners will include the recommendation to incorporate walking breaks in between. Recommendations can range from walking one minute out of ten or walking for half a minute before running for another half and then walking again, but all suggestions offer a practical purpose.

Because it is difficult to drink while running, walking breaks gives the runner a chance to hydrate themselves more easily during the marathon as they approach an aid station. In addition, slowing down to a walk gives the body a chance to rest before picking up the pace once again.

Cross Training

A typical marathon-training schedule for beginners will always involve one day of cross training during the week. This gives the trainee a chance to use other muscle groups after their regular long runs. Conventional cross training workouts can include activities like cycling, swimming, jogging or even walking. However, certain sports like tennis or basketball are not recommended as activities that demand sideways shifts are not an ideal choice. There is the hazard of injury when playing sports that call for abrupt movements.


Rest is undoubtedly as crucial a component of beginner marathon training as is the training itself. It is during the period of rest that active muscle groups veritably strengthen and reinvigorate. Otherwise fatigued muscles can regenerate during this time allowing the runner to run well once again. Most marathon training plans for beginners will recommend two to three days of rest during the week. Moreover, not only muscles suffer, nut your skin does, too! Chafing and blistering can destroy your whole progress and interfere your plan crucially! Use 2SKIN for prevention and you don’t have to worry about skin irritiations.

Timeline for Beginner Marathon Training:

While each marathon-training plan for beginners will vary slightly both in duration and intensity, most of them will be devised along the following guidelines:

Weeks 1-3

The first three weeks of the training program will typically involve plenty of easy running with the aim to get the runner used to a consistent running routine. Just once a week, there will be a long run whose duration will increase steadily. The goal here is to get the legs accustomed to running, regardless of how fast or slow the pace might be.

Weeks 4-6

By this time, runners will have run their first few long runs and can look forward to including some tempo and speed running into their beginner marathon-training plan. These variations will aim to bump up running speed as well as try out training techniques that more seasoned runners use.

 At this stage, some marathon training schedules for beginners may also recommend including one day of cross training into the lineup. But if soreness is experienced due to the change in tempo, then runners are advised to give themselves an extra rest day to recover fully.

By the end of six weeks, runners will have long runs as well as speed runs under their belt with some exposure to cross training as well; feeling well prepared to step into their next stage of training.

Weeks 7-10

During this phase of the training, marathon beginners are set to run their first 10-mile run. Here walking breaks within long runs will serve well as this is the first long distance covered at a stretch. During this stage, some marathon training programs may also include a 15 mile run with an emphasis on completing the distance rather than covering it in a specific time.

Weeks 11-13

To assess their potential, beginner marathon runners may want to sign up for half a marathon a couple of weeks before the actual marathon. If so, this is the time to do that. This opportunity may be used as a rehearsal for the big day and half marathon or not, most programs will plan a 20 to 22 mile run during this time.

This phase of training is very crucial, as it will test the running potential of individuals to see if their pace can complement their time of running.

Weeks 14-16

After the big run of the previous stage, runners in most programs will now get a chance to taper and recover before the real deal. Recovery is essential during this stage so that the body can be fully revved up for the event.

When approaching marathon day, remember that marathons are all about endurance where momentum is decisive. To come out successful make sure that the training includes frequent sports massages as well as stretching prior and post training sessions and that running gear ranging from socks and shoes to clothes are comfortable and meet your requirements.

How do you prepare for a marathon? You are very welcome to share your experience with the community!

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