Marathon Training

Posted by martin.parnell |

Next Event:

Lacrosse Quest 24


  • Start: 7.00pm Friday May 4th

  • Finish: 7.00pm Saturday May 5th

  • Location: South Fish Creek Recreational Centre

  • RTP Fund raising target: $50,000

Having run over 260 marathons and completed a number of Iron man and ultra marathon events, I have often been asked "How do I run a marathon?" However, the question I think needs to be asked is "Why do I want to run a marathon?" There are many answers including, I have it on my bucket list, I want to lose weight, I want to run it with my husband /wife / son / daughter, I want to run it for my favourite charity. The reason I wanted to do a marathon was because I was challenged by my younger brother Peter. I was 47 at the time and was not a runner, but I never say no to a challenge from a sibling. It's important to establish why you've set this goal for yourself because, over the weeks and months when training gets harder you'll need to remind yourself why on earth you're doing it.

The key to completing a marathon is planning. Paul Brant, an American Football Coach, once said "It's not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference". The path to running a marathon must be broken down into a number of steps. It is important to set goals along the way. I use race distances as markers to gauge progress. The three distances I use as stepping stones are 5km, 10km and half marathon (21.1km).

When I look back at my running log I see that I started running in December 2002 and did my first 5km race, the Sudbury Sun Run, in April 2003. I then ran the Ottawa half marathon in May, the North Bay half in June and the Calgary marathon in July 2003. However, looking back at Sue's running log, she started running in 2005, completed two 5kms and a 10km in 2006; a 5km and 10km in 2007; a 5km, four 10kms and a half in 2008, two 10kms and two half's in 2009 and the Regina marathon in 2010.

The rate that these individual steps are completed will be dependant on the physical fitness of the individual, but I wouldn't recommend skipping any of them.

A good way to start on the path to running a marathon is to get support. There are a number of magazines and books that give good guidelines. Other options include joining a running club. When I was learning to run I joined the Sudbury Rocks Running club and got lots of help from the other members. Also, consider using a coach, sometimes you need someone to give a kick up the butt to that next training run.

It has to be said that the marathon is a very different race to the shorter distances. The main reason is that for races up to a half marathon the need for hydration and nutrition is necessary, but the amounts may not be as critical. You may be thirsty and hungry at the end but a trip to the aid station at the finish line will sort that out.

With the marathon, it is essential to stay hydrated and ingest your source of nutrition, liquid or solid, on a regular basis throughout the race. There has been many a runner that was unable to complete a marathon, not because of poor training but because of lack of adequate hydration and / or nutrition.

Quote of the Day

"You can run but you can't hide"

Joe Louis

Sprinting to the finish of the 2010 Boston Marathon. Very cool!

Marathon Training

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