Tag Archives: How-to

How to run a marathon.

5 Jul

1. Pick a marathon to run that is at least 6 months away.  Here’s a list of Marathons.

  • Smaller, flatter marathons are best for first-timers.  They have better atmosphere and flattish running is easier.

2. Start by running/walking for 15-20 minutes 3 days a week.

  • The easiest way is to run away from home for half the expected duration (ie. 10 minutes out in a 20 minute run) and then just run home.  If it takes longer to get home then slow down on the way out or add a walk break or two.  This will help you learn to pace yourself properly.
  • There’s no shame in walking from time to time, interspercing regular walk breaks of 10-20 seconds every few minutes works really well.

3. Increase the amount of time you run by 7% per week.  So your 20 minutes 3x per week is 60 minutes.  Next week would be 60 x 1.07 = 64 minutes.

  • Running by time smooths out the natural variations in individuals’ natural pace.  It also lets us lose the attachment to distance that leads many to overtrain by running too fast/too far so they can hit their goal for a workout.

4. Increase until you’re doing 3x 30 minute runs per week.

  • During this time you’ll naturally walk less and less and your speed will naturally increase without additional effort – that’s important, without additional effort.

5. From then on keep increasing the duration of one run per week, usually a weekend “long run”.  So increase the duration of just that run by 7% per week and leave the other two at 30 minutes.  Continue until your long run is 20 miles. Run My Route lets you measure your runs.  Then you’re ready.

  • Run easy for most of the running, don’t worry about pace – in fact, it’s better if you don’t.  The best thing you can do is just get out the door reliably 3x per week.  Speed is the outcome of doing the regular work, not the goal itself.  Once you can run for 20 miles then you’re ready for a marathon.
  • During these longer runs you’ll need extra calories and water.  Gatorade, Powerade, Coke (with water), and any number of other options.  Either take some money and stop in at a convenience store on the route (don’t litter!) or hide some bottles along the route.

6. Enjoy it.

  • But if you’re not then get dressed and go run for 3 minutes no matter what (Just do it!).  What happens after 3 minutes is your business.
  • If you miss a long run then step back a week in distance.