Congratulations on setting a terrific goal! It is my goal as well.
I started by training for a 10K that was 6 months away (honestly I was originally planning on walking it). I used the Spark Your Way to a 10K and it was great. A nice, slow work up to 6 miles. I agree with what other say about having intermediate goals. And I absolutely recommend registering for the events you plan to complete. Once you pay the registration fee, you have to do it! If there isn't an event in your area in the time frame you are looking for, sign up for a Virtual Race on Spark People. That is how I got my 5K in.
I'm now training for a Half Marathon in May. So just shy of 1 year from when I started training. I am certainly no expert, but I cannot stress how important it has been for me to increase my milage slowly and take rest weeks. It has prevented injury and burnout (for me at least).
You should be very proud that you have set a marathon as a goal! Take it slow and steady and I know you can do it! Good Luck!!
I'll echo Coach Nancy's caution. I wouldn't aim for a marathon next April. A year sounds like a long time away, but for a marathon it's really not.
I'd take it slow. Aim for the 2014 version of that marathon if you want.
The goal is to enter and leave the marathon uninjured and happy. Rushing into it tends to not have both.
Fitness Minutes: (122)
18 3/24/12 7:00 P
Thanks everyone! I'm really self-conscious about running in public so the tracks feel a lot more comfortable to me. But once I'm able to do two miles, I'll make my way to the streets. I'd like to train for our city's marathon next April because I've heard about how beautiful of a run it is! Thank you again! :)
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
2,533 3/24/12 11:57 A
I definitely second the advice about training on different types of terrain. There's nothing like training on a flat track like the 1/4 mile track at the local high school and then realizing a mile into a 5k race that you're expected to go uphill. :P
Fitness Minutes: (30,218)
16,787 3/24/12 10:41 A
Thanks everyone, this was helpful to me too!
I just wanted to add that any marathon you want to do, learn about the terrain. Some marathons, even 12ks, involve mountains, hills, or steep streets. Be sure to train for that as well.
Fitness Minutes: (964)
16 3/23/12 1:53 P
I agree with everyone else. I'm a fan of the couch to 5k although since you can already run a mile it might start a little slow for you. I'm also a fan of Hal Higdon. He has training programs online. (just google him, the training programs come right up) I did couch to 5k for my last 5k in November, but moved up to Hal Higdon's novice 5k program for this one. He has a 30 week Novice traning program for a marathon. It looks like it starts you off at 9 miles a week. I would try to get up to 7 miles a week on my own before taking jumping up to 9. I tried to go from 4 to 5 miles a week to 7 miles a week for lent and it went very very bad. I got very run down very quickly. My speed dropped from 11 to 12 minute miles to 13 to 14 minute miles even though my distance per run didn't change (I just changed the number of days I ran from 2 to 3).
Preparing for the marathon distance is a long term project which should include both running and strength training, Begin your running programme with something such as the Couch to 5K programme and your strength programme with a bodyweight exercise conditioning programme.
Get away from the track and begin to run on the roads and the kinds of surfaces you will encounter when you begin to enter road races. Segue your bodyweight conditioning programme into a strength building programme as you progress.
A final point which will keep you from the frustration of injury, ensure your running mechanics are correct, do not run with a heel strike. I have posted a rather lengthy explanation of good running mechanics on the Spark teams F.I.T. Females in Training and also in Resistance Band and Bodyweight Training.
Fitness Minutes: (18,075)
1,260 3/23/12 9:34 A
start off with smaller runs first to help you and when youare ready for a marathon get a program that will tell you how far to run and what days it is very helpful
Fitness Minutes: (170,852)
11,568 3/23/12 8:43 A
I know you can do this. The Spark 5k plan is a great way to get started. Many people also use the Couch to 5k (C25K) plan to get started running. And do take her advice to start slowly to allow your body time to adapt to running. It will help you be a better runner and lessen the opportunity for injury.
I would like to reemphasize the point about nutrition. I run, too. Not very fast, but I run. I can tell a difference in how well I run and how I feel when I am making wiser food choices over poor ones.
Fitness Minutes: (66,181)
7,159 3/23/12 12:15 A
Agree with Nancy, many people run into difficulties thinking it can be done faster.. Reality check we slowly became couch potatoes and the process the other way takes just as long if we want to avoid injuries...
Running is high impact, and it can take a while for your leg muscle and tendons to adjust to stresses and impact of running. 12 months is probably a reasonable timeframe to train towards a marathon.
But probably the best way is to set yourself some intermediate goals. Start with running a 5K, then a 10K, then a half marathon before setting out to tackle the marathon.
In terms of getting to 5K, I'd definitely recommend a Couch to 5K training programme. Rather than running continuously, these programs work through progressively increasing intervals of running and walking.
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
46,222 3/22/12 10:39 P
While running a marathon is a great goal, know that it can take up to a solid year of consistent running to build the musculo-skeletal system to not only run a race of this duration, but to train for one as well.
My advice to you is to get started on a 5K training program (see link below) and go from there!
As far as diet is concerned...just like you can't put regular gas in a NASCAR, same is true for a runner's body. You want to put in the best fuel to not only help with your running performance, but to aid in repair and recovery of the muscles.
Fitness Minutes: (122)
18 3/22/12 10:32 P
My goal? Run a marathon someday!
So what I've been doing is increasing laps again since I've never been a runner and I don't know the rules to running. I'm at four laps (one mile) and I'm wondering...to train for a marathon, should I just add a lap or two every week? Is that too much? Too little? Should I not count laps and just time myself?
Also, I haven't really made changes to my diet...should I? I love to eat and I don't count calories or track my food...I know, I'm really bad at this kind of stuff.
Also, should I do different kinds of exercises besides running? I added crunches, planking, and push-ups...but should I also lift some light weights??
I read a lot of articles online telling me different things and I just don't know what to go with...so what's worked for you and what advice would you have for someone who doesn't run??
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