The first modern marathon was included in the 1896 Olympics held in Athens. The ancient Olympic games did not include marathons. The marathon traces its roots to a Greek legend involving a messenger running from Marathon to Athens with an announcement about a military victory. A full marathon is 26.2 miles, and a half-marathon is 13.1 miles. With a goal of participating in a half- or full marathon, runners can begin a training and fitness regimen to help ensure a successful run.
Tips for Beginners
With the idea of running a marathon, a beginner can formulate a training program to prepare for the event. It's important to remember that the body adapts gradually, so training should be slow and methodical. Educate yourself about nutrition, hydration, shoes, clothing, mileage recommendations, running schedules, cross-training, and strength training to learn as much as possible about the process. Consider seeing a physician prior to beginning a training program to get a professional assessment of your health.
- Runners Education: Marathon Training Program for Beginners: After making a goal of running a marathon, learn how to begin training to attain your goal.
- Your First Marathon (PDF): Marathon runners often follow six basic rules for training, including starting slowly and choosing the best shoes.
- Chicago Marathon Starts Now: Choose Your Training Regimen: Explore various options for training regimens when preparing for a marathon.
- Strength Training for the Runner (PDF): While runners do not want excessive muscle mass, they do need strength for endurance and injury prevention.
- How to Train for a Marathon: This women's guide for marathon training covers the important areas, including stretching, weight training, nutrition, and monitoring progress.
- 10 Tips for Marathon Training and Injury Prevention: Learn valuable information to help you avoid injuries while you train for a marathon.
- Training for a Marathon? Tips to Keep You Going: Eating and hydrating are crucial elements for a successful marathon.
- Cold-Weather Running Tips: When marathon training and running involves cold weather, learn important tips for this challenge.
- Marathon Tips That Beat the Competition: Explore tips that can help give you an edge when running a marathon.
- Foot Care Tips: The Napa Valley Marathon organization offers important foot care tips to help runners keep their feet in good condition.
A half-marathon can be an achievable goal for many beginners. Many experts suggest a program of at least 16 weeks to allow for gradual building of strength and endurance. A training regimen usually includes days of hard training interspersed with easier days to help the body adjust to physical demands. Training might include one 1.5-hour run each week and several shorter runs of about 40 to 50 minutes. Adequate rest is also important for recovery.
- A Training Plan for the Country Music Half-Marathon (PDF): A high school track and field coach offers a comprehensive training plan to prepare for a half-marathon.
- Ready, Set, Go! Half-Marathon Training Tips: Children's Hospital Colorado offers advice for runners working toward a half-marathon, including tips about the importance of avoiding injury.
- Five Training Tips for Running a Half-Marathon or Marathon: Runners may need to build a base of strength and endurance before they can begin training for a half-marathon.
- Training Tips and Guidelines: The Chicago Area Runners Association has compiled basic training tips and guidelines to assist runners with marathon preparation.
- Getting Started: Half-Marathon: Fitness preparation is of paramount importance when training for a half-marathon, with most people taking between 12 and 16 weeks for this process.
- Steppin' Out (PDF): Covenant Health has prepared a training program especially for runners preparing for a half-marathon.
Full Marathon Training
After a successful half-marathon, you might set your sights on the completion of a full marathon. This training should involve running four to six days per week consistently. Good nutrition and careful hydration will be important during training to help the body gain strength and endurance. Listen to your body to avoid overtraining and potential injuries. Fatigue and a slower running pace are signs that you might need to cut back slightly. Consider joining a running group to train with other people preparing for a marathon.
- Marathon Training: Rush University Medical Center offers eight tips for training for a marathon, including having a medical examination before beginning.
- Marathon Challenge: Ten Tips: Creating a training schedule and choosing the best shoes for your feet are among ten tips offered for marathon training here.
- Medical Advice and Tips for Marathon Runners: The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System shares important medical advice for people training for a marathon, including building endurance slowly during the training period.
- Marathon Training Tips (PDF): Learn common mistakes made by runners as they train for a marathon to help you avoid these errors.
- Sports Medicine Experts Offer Tips to Help Post-Marathon Recovery: After running a marathon, take steps to ensure a complete and swift recovery.
- Marathon Training Tips: Utilize a number of different training components to cross-train and prepare for a marathon.
- Why Is Taper Important?: In the final weeks before a marathon, runners engage in a taper to reduce training prior to the big event.