Whenever the subject of marathon-running comes up, people usually sit in one of two camps: those who think it’s a completely impossible thing to achieve, and those who could see themselves doing it one day.
Among those interested in the idea of completing the full marathon distance, there are two further subgroups: those who are already keen runners, and those who rarely run, if at all.
However, contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a complete health freak before you sign up to your first marathon; in fact, all you need is to be willing to be dedicated to achieving your goal. This means sticking to a marathon plan which is specifically designed to prepare your body for running 26.2 miles and making the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle that contribute to a successful training regime.
Many marathon runners will tell you that crossing the line after 42.2 kilometres is the easiest part of running a marathon, and the most difficult part is the training.
However, don’t let this put you off. Training for a marathon can be a journey of self-discovery which teaches you things that you didn’t know about yourself, as well as what you’re capable of.
For this reason, many marathoners choose to travel abroad for their running events, organising a holiday around the big day to make the days before the marathon even more memorable.
So, whether you’re looking for how to get started with or maximise your marathon training, or you’re looking for inspiration for your upcoming marathon holiday, read on to learn all about the world of marathoning!
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Marathon Training Plan
It’s hard to know what to do to prepare your body for a marathon, especially if it’s your first one. Thankfully, there is plenty of advice available online. For instance, the Virgin Money London Marathon website has training plans available for all sorts of runners which are backed up by fitness professionals.
It’s recommended that runners of all abilities spend up to 20 weeks preparing for a marathon.
Here’s what you can expect to see on your marathon training plan if you’re a complete beginner:
- Month 1: Covering miles with a combination of walking and running, building up running stamina as you decrease the amount of run walk you use and try to run without stopping.
- Month 2: Increasing distances and varying running speeds to improve your cruising technique and pace.
- Month 3: Working towards and completing half marathon distance as a training run.
- Month 4: Running up to 20 miles at a time and tapering before race day.
If you’re already a keen long-distance runner and you’re comfortable running continuously for up to 30 minutes, your training program will be slightly different to that of a complete beginner’s plan.
Here’s what your training plan could look like:
- Month 1: Increasing distance and stamina as well as cross-training workouts and stretching to complement your runs
- Month 2: Varying run speeds, Fartlek and interval training, increasing mileage
- Month 3: Continue to increase mileage and complete a half marathon as a training run
- Month 4: Final long training run and tapering before marathon day!
Of course, there are many plans available which are tailored to the endurance abilities of each runner, as well as their aims. For instance, if you have run a marathon before and you’d like to improve your time, you will be able to find a plan that prepares you physically and mentally to achieve your goal.
When it comes to your training plan, it’s important to bear in mind that it is simply a plan. In other words, listen to your body. If you get injured or you’re finding it hard to keep up with your plan, it’s okay to alter it slightly until you feel stronger. Alternatively, find a different plan which may be slightly less intense which will help you prepare your body to finish the race.
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Famous Marathon Runners
The marathon distance is nothing short of extreme, so it’s no wonder that the world of long-distance running has produced a host of famous names that are known all around the world for their super-human abilities.
Here is a rundown of some of the most famous people to have become household names for their running achievements:
· Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich
Kenya is well-known for producing a never-ending stream of long-distance champions, and Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich joined the long list of famous Kenyan runners when he set a new world record of 2:03:23 at the 2013 Berlin marathon. Although his record has since been beaten, he has maintained his winning streak, finishing the London, New York and Tokyo marathons in first place.
· Dennis Kipruto Kimetto
Another famous Kenyan, Dennis Kipruto Kimetto was the person who broke Wilson Kipsang’s world record in 2014 – he held this record for four years until it was broken by Eliud Kipchoge in 2018.
Dennis Kimetto’s name has been prominent in the running world since 2011, when he began his winning streak by finishing in first place in the Nairobi half marathon. He then went on the do the same in Dubai, Berlin, Tokyo and Chicago at various marathon events.
· Eliud Kipchoge
Probably one of the most famous names in running at the moment, Eliud Kipchoge is the current holder of the world record for the fastest time for the marathon at 2:01:39.
With more gold medals at major running events than bronze or silver ones, Kipchoge is living proof of Kenya’s unbeatable running talent.
· Sir Mo Farah
Probably the most famous Brit in marathon running at the moment, Sir Mo Farah has put the UK on the map in the world of long-distance running events with his collection of medals as well as his famous celebratory move known as the ‘Mobot’.
Sir Mo rose to fame at the 2012 Olympic games when he became double Olympic champion. Since then, he has gone on to place well in several other marathons and other distances. In 2017, Mo became Sir Mo when he was given a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II for services to athletics.
A Guide to Marathons Around the World
Running a marathon is a major life event for anybody, and that’s why so many people sign up to marathons overseas – to make it a weekend to remember.
The beauty of choosing to run a marathon abroad is in the way it allows you to be picky about everything from the city and its climate to the terrain and gradient of the course – and you get to make a holiday of your event!
Here are some of the world’s most famous marathon events that people travel far and wide to participate in:
· Berlin Marathon
Berlin has a lucky charm for professional runners in recent years as the city in which many world records have been set and broken.
The Berlin marathon probably has one of the most interesting historical background of any race due to the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. Prior to this, the race was confined to the half of Berlin located in West Germany. September 1990 saw the first Berlin marathon in which runners covered a course which passed through both sides of the city, running through the historic Brandenburg Gate along the way.
· London Marathon
Probably one of the most famous and popular marathons, the Virgin Money London Marathon takes place in the Spring. The race is so popular that amateur applicants who do not qualify with a good-for-age time must enter into a ballot which is revealed in the October before the event takes place.
· Paris Marathon
Popular among Brits looking to run their marathon abroad, the Paris marathon takes runner through some of Paris’ most famous historical landmarks. Starting at the Champs-Elysées and passing the Louvre, place de la Bastille and Notre Dame cathedral, runners can take in the history of the European city before crossing the finish line and becoming a marathoner.
Hire a Personal Trainer for Marathon Training
Completing the full 42.195Km of the marathon distance is a gruelling task that is almost impossible without sufficient preparation. Training is key, however, many marathon runners agree that training in the run-up to the race is tougher than the marathon race itself. For this reason, many people hire personal trainers to put them on the right track and keep them motivated through the tough training schedule.
Not only can hiring a PT help with your marathon preparation but getting support from a trained professional will also help your body to cope with the recovery stage once you have crossed the finish line.