The Four Building Blocks of Marathon Training

The primary elements of Marathon training 

Base mileage

Build your weekly mileage over time, running three-to-five times per week.

The Long Run

Do a long run every 7–10 days so your body can adjust gradually to long distances.

Speed Work

Practice intervals and tempo runs to increase your cardio capacity.

 Rest and Recovery

Adequate rest helps prevent injuries and mental burnout

Health Benefits of The Run

Race Day Tips

Don't try anything new on race day—no new shoes, new shorts or a new shirt. Don't guzzle 3 cups of coffee if you usually have one. Your long training runs are when you should be fine-tuning your clothing, gear and fueling strategies.

 

 Before the Race

  • Hydrate well for several days leading up to your marathon. Drink a big glass of water before you go to bed the night before race day. Drink another one first thing in the morning.
  • Eat a simple, high-carbohydrate breakfast several hours before the start of the race. Bagels, oatmeal, bars and fruit all work well.
  • Lather up with a little Vaseline or BodyGlide in any areas vulnerable to chafing (you probably learned where during training runs).
  • Get to the starting line early, and if needed, get in the port-a-potty line 30–40 minutes before the official start time. The lines may be long.
  • The temperature is apt to rise over the course of the race, so don't overdress. If you're really cold at the start, wear an oversize trash bag over your clothing to keep warm until the starting gun goes off.
  • If you plan to run with music, check ahead of time whether headphones are allowed on the course; not all marathons permit them. Running with headphones can be dangerous if you can't hear what's happening around you, particularly if you're not on a closed course. Finally, there's something to be said for not tuning out the sounds of the spectator crowds and your fellow runners.

 

During the Race

  • Start slowly. It's easy to get caught up in race-day adrenaline, but starting too fast is a big rookie mistake. There will be plenty of miles over which to pick up your pace if you're feeling great.
  • Don't blaze by every aid station or try to drink from a cup while running full blast. Either practice drinking while running before race day or just pull over for a few seconds to drink.
  • Bathroom lines are longest at the first few aid stations. If you can wait another couple miles without discomfort, it may save you time.
  • If you have a friend coming to cheer you on, plan ahead at which spots along the course he or she will meet you. A friend along the way can be a huge boost.
  • Enjoy the energy of the spectators. However, ignore the guy with the box of chocolate donuts. He's trying to be nice, but chocolate-glazed donuts at mile 18 are not a good idea.

 

Race Recovery and Beyond

Race day: In the immediate moments after your finish, drink several cups of water or sports drink to nourish your tired muscles. Walk a little, if you can, to let those muscles cool down. Do gentle stretching. Eat some simple carbohydrates, whether you feel like it or not.

After race day: Take at least a week off before resuming any kind of regular running schedule, and even then take your time easing back into distance and frequency.

Get plenty of sleep. Eat well-balanced meals. Take care of any injuries or ailments you may have developed during the race. Nourish your immune system, which will be more vulnerable immediately after the marathon