Running a marathon is transforming experience! Are you ready for it? And it is not like running two half marathons, it is much more than that… Understanding this is very important for a half marathoner or a beginner who wants to take up the challenge. Once you have made the commitment to fulfil it, you have to allocate time needed for training a Full Marathon (FM).
Training is very crucial for FM as it will determine the quality of your run on race day. I suggest a systematic 13-16 week training plan depending on your current endurance level. Building base and slowly building endurance is key to enjoy a marathon. Running 4 times a week and doing strength training and cross training (like cycling or swimming) on other days is the best way to train for a FM. I try to do three short runs and a long run during the weekend for endurance building. The short runs could be 40 minutes to 60 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The short runs are usually fast including one hill repeat and one tempo run. As hydration and nutrition while running is important to maintain your energy level during the race, I usually practice with hydration during the long run. The key is to drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry. Drink energy drink first, then drink water. Eat before you start your run.
Tapering is reducing your mileage to recover from the stress of the intense training and also to restore energy for the race day. My tapering period starts around three weeks before the race. I complete my longest run three weeks before the race day and gradually reduce the mileage.
A week before race
A week before, I try to hydrate well through the week by drinking Fast and Up Reload or ORS and water through the day. Eat on time, get quality sleep and relax your mind. Think about the strategy for the race day, make a pacing plan.
Your Race day strategy
Start slower than race pace, warm up 2-3km, run conservative during the first half of the marathon, then try to maintain the race pace. If you are feeling strong (depends on your training), run the last 3-5km fast and go for a strong finish.
Message for runners debuting their full marathon
Run the first half of the marathon slower and go for a strong finish.
Devyani is scientist and runner. She is 2015 Comrades up run finisher. She is a pacer for many major marathons including 2020 Chennai Marathon.
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