If you’re not the type of person that feels content with purely rocking up on race day and giving it your best shot with little or no preparation (and you’re not because you’re reading this) then we’ll give you some marathon essentials and time-saving measures that can make marathon training more feasible for time-poor folk.
Firstly, realise that running a marathon is tough and does require a level of commitment and dedication from you. Although it’s certainly possible to bowl up on race day and get around the likelihood with poor or no training is that it’s really going to hurt, you’ll hate it, you’ll want to stop (several times), you might even throw in the towel altogether.
Training for a marathon on a busy life schedule is possible but you’ve got to know and understand your marathon motivations, commitments and constraints and be happy with what you can realistically give and any outcome.
The ideal busy marathon basics.
Do a build-up. You can’t rush or squeeze the miles in. Ideally a 12 (adequate 10 and at a minimum 8) weeks of regular running. A little consistent, regular running matters more than irregular, stop-start workouts.
Weeks 1 to 4 – build a routine, identify opportunities to get out and run. Be firm with yourself but flexible with your week where possible.
Weeks 5 to 8 – notch it up. Focus on one longer run a week that progressively increases in distance.
Weeks 9 to 10 – Not to be missed! These include the two longest run you’ll aim to cover 16 to 18 miles.
Weeks 11 to 12 – Stick to the routine, knock back the distance and volume and be fresh for marathon day.
Actually do some running. Aim for three runs a week. In the first few weeks these will be likely be shorter (under 45mins) as you progress and build up but by the time you are rolling into week 4 to 10 these should be 45min, 60mins and one longer effort.
Do some distance. Run long. There’s no escaping the fact that a marathon is 26.2miles. Run, jog, walk or crawl it you’ve got to cover that distance to bag your medal at the end. Preparing with a few 3milers won’t cut it. Be ready to tackle some distance runs and find the time in your week to add a little more distance (and so time) as the week’s progress.