Whether the start of lockdown inspired you to explore other ways of exercising away from the gym and you’ve committed to running ever since, or you’re brand new to the sport but are already looking ahead to marathon training, preparing for a marathon can be challenging for runners of every level. From setting out and committing to a detailed training plan, to building up your agility, stamina and essential core strength, there’s a large list of things to consider.
No matter whether you’re a complete beginner, or you’re at a more advanced stage in your running journey - all marathons require you to commit to some level of training and preparation. The main difference that will set beginners and more experienced runners apart are the different training plans available. While beginners will need a few months to train for a marathon, using this time to build up their core strength and endurance, advanced runners may only need a few weeks to prepare. Suitable for runners of all abilities, this guide will take you through everything you need to know about training for a marathon.
There are a number of ways you can prepare yourself for a marathon, so we’ve made a list below of the main things to consider ahead of the big day. But regardless of the contents of this list, you’ll need a motivating factor to work towards when you’re training. The best thing to do before you start preparing is to decide which marathons you want to take part in. Although this may seem like early days, it’s important to have an end point to all your training - otherwise it can seem like a never-ending cycle. And, if you find a marathon you’re keen to register for, we advise booking a place well in advance. Not only do most get booked up quickly, but we advise leaving at least 6 months for training, which, in most cases, will require plenty of hard work.
Once you’ve decided on the marathon you want to do, you can move onto the steps below.
If you’re ready to start training but have taken our advice on board and are searching for a motivating factor, there are a large range of beginner friendly marathons that take place across the UK every year. Below are a few suggestions on the best beginner-friendly marathons that you might want to consider applying for.
Date: 23rd April 2023
The London Marathon attracts thousands of runners and their families each year, arriving from every corner of the globe. With a route that’s mainly flat, this marathon is perfect for first-timers. And, as an added bonus, there’s thousands of supporters at the sidelines - so even if you go alone - there will be plenty of people cheering you on. Although entries have now closed, you can still apply for a charity place, otherwise, this may be something to put in the diary for 2024.
Date: 2nd April 2023
For those looking for a run with a view, the Brighton Marathon, which is suitable for runners of any level due to its flat route, might be the perfect option. Boasting an iconic view of the sea, the route will take you past the most stunning areas in Brighton. And, making the hard work worthwhile, after the race it’s a tradition for many runners to take a dip in the sea to cool off.
Date: 28th May 2023
Another scenic option, the Edinburgh Marathon route will take you through the city and then back past the East Lothian Coast. This sell-out marathon is a firm favourite among the running community, and it’s clear to see why it takes the place of the second largest marathon in the UK.
Whether you’ve been involved in a running club for some time, frequently run 5Ks, 10Ks, or half marathons, or you’ve even participated in a marathon before but are looking for some refresher advice, we have a number of tips to help prepare more experienced runners for marathon day.
The time it takes to train for a marathon can depend on a wide variety of factors. Among others, these may include how active you are as an individual when you start training, as well as the level of running that you’re currently at. For instance, if you’re new to running, and you don’t regularly participate in fitness activities, it will likely take you around 6 months - possibly longer - to train for a marathon. In contrast, it might only take highly experienced runners a few weeks.
However, the training plan you decide to follow, which you should choose depending on your level - should give you an idea on how long it will take to train. Most training plans for marathons are between 16 and 20 weeks, so even if you already have prior running experience, you should leave enough time to prepare your body and build your fitness.
Another thing to consider when you’re preparing for a marathon is to make sure that you’re wearing the appropriate clothing. After all, the last thing you would want is to wear materials that are likely to rub on your skin and cause irritation or discomfort, or wear clothing that is too heavy and can cause you to overheat. Our guide on ‘what to wear when running’ provides expert tips on the best materials to wear when running - whether you’re training or participating in a race.
From choosing a training plan, to deciding on which marathons you want to compete in, hopefully, this blog has pointed you in the right direction to take on your next running challenge. And, once you have everything planned and you’re ready to start your training, if you haven’t already, it’s important to invest in some comfortable and high quality running clothes. Featuring breathable shorts, tops and more, discover our collection of running clothes at Avec Sport and find the perfect kit for marathon day.