marathon legs

Marathon Training 101 – Part 1

This post was last updated on February 16, 2017

It’s that time of the year again! If you’re running in a marathon this year, it’s time to get down to business and start training. Whether you’re running at a pro- or semi-pro level, or running as part of a group of friends and coworkers just for fun, it’s important to condition yourself before run a marathon. Knowing where to start can be a challenge, especially for first time runners.

There are seven phases to the training cycle for full or half marathons. This year’s race is taking place on Sunday, May 7. The time line and benchmarks for each phase depends on which race you are running and your initial abilities. Here are a few tips to help you get in shape and make it across the finish line for this year’s marathon!

1. Offseason/ Base Building Phase

Offseason is a period of reduced mileage. You should continue running, but do not push yourself with high intensity workouts or long runs. The base building phase that follows is the process of slowly rebuilding mileage with low intensity runs and by following the 10 percent rule.

10 percent rule: Never increase your mileage more than 10 percent week over week.

At this point new marathon runners should be beyond this phase. Half marathon runners should be in this phase and gearing up to start their training by the middle of February.

2. Endurance Phase

The goal of the endurance phase is to accumulate time on your feet and your aerobic capacity. It is characterized by an increase in weekly mileage and increasing the long runs by one to two miles per week. As you increase your mileage remember to still apply the 10 percent rule. This phase typically lasts four to eight weeks.

This is the phase of training marathon runners should be in at this time.

There are many factors to successfully training to complete these physical feats. In addition to the main running aspect of your training you will also need to focus on proper nutrition and hydration, warm-up and cool down stretching, cross training, proper footwear, and mental training.

Over the course of the next few months the experts from UPMC Sports Medicine will be looking more in depth at each aspect of successful marathon training.

For more information on marathon training visit our Marathon page at UPMC Sports Medicine.