Running your first Full Marathon? There’s no doubt that a 42 km marathon is a daunting task, but with proper training and gear you can take on this challenge fairly easily. Every distance challenge comes with its set of rules and methods that you need to follow depending on how long and hard you have been training. Running a distance of 42 km means higher levels of fatigue and greater damage to the endocrine system than shorter races. Though these ailments are temporary, it is best to approach a challenge of such a magnitude in a methodical and strategic manner to ensure that you incur minimum injuries and maximum chances of success.

The most common mistake that beginners (and many advanced runners) make is rushing their training. Not only will you be at the receiving end of sores and blisters, but it can also cause some irreversible damages. Depending on your fitness level, goals and ability you’ll need anywhere between 12 to 20 weeks to prepare for a full marathon. Competitor.com categorizes runners on the basis of their levels of training into three categories – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Depending on what your fitness level is, the following is a guide on how much and how often you should train for your Full Marathon.

The Beginner 

Since you are a beginner your fitness levels will be relatively lower and hence you need more time to train for a marathon. The same goes for runners who are out-of-shape. If you are of the habit of running 12- 15 Km on your long run, then you’ll need 18-20 weeks to sufficiently prepare for a marathon. This will ensure that you have enough time to carefully build your mileage and run a longer distance. Runners of this level should focus on finishing the race and not setting a time specific goal. If you are running less than 12 km then you need to focus on increasing your distance and train for a longer period.

As a beginner, you should set a distance based goal instead of rushing your training time

The Intermediate Runner

If you are a runner with a medium level of fitness and who is comfortably covering a distance of 40 km per week with a double digit long run, then you can dedicate anywhere between 14-18 weeks of training solely for a full marathon. The goal for intermediate runners who are easily running 30-40 km should be time-based. You need to build your long run to about 35 km before the race and then you can alternate between 30-35 km, where the shorter of the long runs can include some goal marathon-pace running.

The Advanced Runner

If you have been running marathons then covering a distance of 60 km per week is not that difficult. However keep in check what your longest run has been and it should be somewhere between 20 to 25 km. Since you are already in the habit of running, you don’t need as much time to specifically train for a marathon and a training period of 12-16 weeks should suffice. The first half of the training will help you get up to 35 km for your long run. And the second half will include more pace-specific long runs.

For every running ability, the goal remains the same. Run more consistent long runs and complete them in a shorter duration. No matter what level of marathoner you are, always work on your ability to run a higher mileage and you will successfully cross the finish line. To get you started, Mobiefit RUN has training programs for every level of fitness. Sign-up and choose from the Starter and Elite 5K, 10K, and 21K training and diet programs.

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