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Ascent Fitness


August 19, 2021

Four Key Elements of Training for a Marathon (or any long distance)

Running a marathon seems like an impossible task. There's no denying that 26.2 miles is a very long distance, but we believe that anyone can complete their first marathon if they train smart and commit to following a plan. If you can run a little bit then you can run more. All it takes is some courage, time, and a solid training program.

So how should a marathon training program be designed? Here are our four keys elements:

Start Slow
Just because we said that you could run a 10k that you are ready for a marathon doesn't mean
that you should lace up your fresh kicks and run a 20 miler. Take your time building up your
distance. A good rule of thumb is that your weekly distance should not exceed more than 10%
of the previous week's volume. Soon you will feel more and more like completing a marathon is
a definite possibility. Stick with it and trust the process.

Prioritize Your Long Runs
Throughout a 12 to 20-week training program, you are bound to miss a few runs and workouts.
Don't panic and stress over it! Things get in the way, and it is all about how we respond to
adversity. Your long runs (usually done on the weekends) are your primary focus. As long as you
hit these distances, you will be fine! An occasional missed easy run or speed day won't kill you!

Cross Train
One of the biggest running myths out there is that I don't need to strength train because I run
every day. Without strength training and other endurance activities, you are almost guaranteed
to get injured while training. Strong legs are fast legs. By training your quads, hamstrings, glutes,
and core, you not only feel physically stronger, but you will recover faster.
You will also be able to push harder on speed and hill workouts, have better control of your
breathing, and power through the late miles.
Other great options for cross-training include swimming and cycling. These activities allow you
to get a solid cardio workout with minimal impact on the knees and ankles.

Listen to your body!
Listening to your body might be the most crucial piece of training for a marathon. Most people
follow a plan and think that it has to be done 100% as written.
The problem with doing this is that these are GENERAL programs, not SPECIFIC programs for
you, your schedule, and your body. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a
template program, your body may need more rest than is included between runs.
If your body is telling you to rest, then rest!!!
Allowing your body to recover is much more important than an easy 4 miles or 4x800m sprints.
Make sure you take care of any potential aches and pains from the get-go and cycle through
your shoes every 200 miles or so!

For more information on training for running check out our new Running Club!

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