Are you signed up for a fall marathon, but not sure what to do between now and when marathon training officially starts? It can be challenging to figure out exactly what to do in order to prepare for following an intensive training plan.
To start marathon training feeling your best, you’ll need to find a balance between being laid back about your workouts but also making sure you’re doing the work you need to do in order start marathon training off on the right foot.
If you’re too strict about following a plan now, you risk burning out before you’ve made it halfway through your training plan. If you aren’t strict enough about doing your base building workouts, you risk getting injured during training or not being able to reach your goal.
Here are 7 things you need to do in the weeks before you start following your marathon training plan.
Review your past training logs. Make notes of what kind of weekly mileage you want to complete. Write out your goals for the race. Then start looking for the training plan that’s going to work best for you. If you only want to run four days a week, don’t choose a plan that asks you to run six days a week.
Running isn’t your only goal in life, so find a training plan that works well with your lifestyle.
#2) Work on your weaknesses. If you know you need to work on glute strength commit to strength training three days per week now so that once marathon training starts, you’ll be strong enough to handle all the miles. If you know you need to work on your mental game, start working on it by reading books, listening to podcasts, etc.
Even if you don’t have weak glutes or know of any muscle imbalances, you should still focus on doing strength training a minimum of two times per week.
#3) Be a little less structured with your workouts, but give each workout a purpose. Marathon training can feel as though it goes on forever and ever. Now is the time to be a little less structured with your workouts. Give yourself the freedom to workout later in the day on the weekends. Don’t be afraid to miss a workout to see friends, or just cut yourself some slack when you need it. Make sure you’re doing the work you need to (base building + strength training), but don’t go crazy. Once marathon training officially starts, you’ll need to be on your ‘A Game’ and giving yourself some time to breathe now will set you up for success.
#4) Build your running base. Before you begin training, you’ll need to have completed 4-6 weeks of consistent running. The amount of miles you’ll need to run per week to build your base depends on your goal for the marathon, your running history and what kind of mileage you’ll be doing during the first month of your training plan.
#5) Have fun with your workouts. This is a time when you can try out all the fun fitness classes in your neighborhood without having to worry about how they will interfere with marathon training. Once marathon training starts, there won’t be much time for exploring new workouts.
#6) Improve your running form. Now is the time to focus on stride rate, stride length, foot strike, arm swing, etc. Small changes made over time can make you a more efficient runner.
#7) If you had any nagging injuries you haven’t taken care of, see a Doctor or Physical Therapist. Don’t wait for a small twinge to become a real injury. Get it taken care of ASAP!