I want to run a marathon: what do I need to know?

·2-min read
Photo credit: Oscar Wong - Getty Images
Photo credit: Oscar Wong - Getty Images

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Ginny from Camden asks:

‘I want to run a marathon: what do I need to know?’

The Expert: Rebecca Gentry, Peloton Tread instructor.

For starters, well done for setting yourself this challenge. Approached with the right mindset, running a marathon can be an incredibly rewarding fitness feat.

‘Enthusiasm is so important,’ says Gentry, with this caveat. ‘Marathon training is a very big commitment, so you need to make sure you’re ready for it.’

Let's start with the training. While the details vary from plan to plan - depending on everything from your fitness level to your goal pace - most will have you running a mixture of long and short distances between four and six days a week, with the mileage increasing incrementally.

Consider this commitment not only in fitness terms, but in the context of what you'll miss out on - everything from social plans to Sunday mornings on the sofa.

Your workout week will need to incorporate more than running, too. ‘Moving repeatedly in any single plane of movement can increase injury risk, so book in three weekly strength and conditioning sessions to help support and strengthen the areas that will take the strain; namely, your back, hips, knees and ankles,’ says Gentry.

It’s also worth noting that to bag a charity place for one of the big races like the London Marathon, you’ll need to commit to finding the time to raise a minimum target – usually around £2,000.

Speaking of cash, you may need to budget for physio appointments, sports massages and kit. On the latter, if you’re prepared to throw your money at anything, it should be your running trainers. Visit a dedicated running store where a specialist can suggest the best ones or your gait.

Bottom line? Go into it with your eyes wide open and you’ll avoid any surprises down the road. Good luck!

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