Do you need to run the marathon distance in training (video)?
Do you need to run the marathon distance in training (Video)?
A frequently asked question that I get from aspiring marathon runners is:
do I need to do the marathon distance in training before attempting to run in my first marathon?
The simple answer is no. There is no need to necessarily run the 42 kilometers in training before you do your debut marathon.
Certainly the longer the preparation that you have leading into your debut marathon the better. A longer training program allows you to incrementally increase your running volume week by week, so that come the marathon you’re able to do a longer run in training than someone that started with a shorter preparation.
For example this longer run may include a run of upwards of 30kms, perhaps around the 35-36km mark.
Another factor that determines the longest run scheduled in a pre-marathon program, is the previous running history of the runner attempting their first marathon. The more seasoned runner, with greater seasons or years or running should ordinarily be able to ‘handle’ more longer runs in distance (and duration) as part of the marathon preparation.
Compare this to the runner who is new to the sport of running and is embarking to make an early attempt at their first marathon. This runner may not be able to include runs of 30kms or greater into their program as the ‘base’ of training will be reduced. This runner is also more susceptible to ‘spiking’ (suddenly increasing) their running training, which is typically a key injury causation or contributory factor (see Step 5 The Power of Rest in You CAN Run Pain Free!).
So in summary you don’t need to run the marathon first in training, however it is nice to get as long a run in as you can safely do before you tackle your first marathon. That doesn’t mean cramming your volume because that can spike your load in on your body and potentially lead to injury. Seek the guidance of your health professional and good luck with your first marathon.
If you would like to learn more about preparing well for your first marathon be sure to click HERE to get your FREE download of my e-book ‘5 Keys to Preparing Well for Your First Marathon’.
Brad Beer (APAM)
Physiotherapist, Author AMAZON Running & Jogging Best Seller ‘You CAN Run Pain Free!‘, Founder POGO Physio