Many marathons are held in the fall rather than in the middle of summer. If you're thinking of tackling one this autumn, now's the time to start training for it. But before you enthusiastically jump into training, make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.
If you're new to running but determined to check off "run a marathon" from your bucket list, you'd be smarter to set shorter distance goals before trying to complete a marathon. A marathon, which is 42.2 kilometres, is extremely draining both physically and mentally, and jumping into running this long distance could be overwhelming to the new or fairly new runner. In fact, if you've never run a half-marathon, you may want to race this distance before taking on your ultimate goal of a full marathon.
Training programs typically span four months and include running three to five times a week, so you need to be prepared to devote all this time on your schedule to running. Consider that toward the last few weeks of training especially, your long training runs will take several hours to complete, as you'll be running close to your goal distance.
More than just eating up much of your schedule, marathon training calls for you to make changes in other aspects of your life too. You'll have to get plenty of sleep, especially on nights before your long morning runs. You'll need to adjust your diet as well, eating to fuel your body and staying well hydrated for training. Both these aspects of training may affect your social life — you won't be able to drink or stay out late as you normally would. That said, if you're training with a group or a clinic, you'll soon make new running friends who'll relate, and you can enjoy a whole new social life through your running buddies.
If you are indeed ready to take on a marathon, know that the incredible accomplishment of crossing that finish line will be one you will never forget. It's a rewarding goal after dedicating yourself to months of training.
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