You don’t have to be a runner to run a marathon. You just need resilience, desire, and ice — lots of ice. My senior year of high school, I started training for the Manchester City Marathon in September. After a long battle with shin splits, I gave up on the original race, started my training schedule all over again, and registered for a different marathon in February. I trained throughout the winter and was a finisher in the Hyannis Cape Cod Marathon.
My training and race were not without challenges, major mistakes, and periods of extreme pain. That is to be expected, and it makes the finish that much better.
If the idea of running a marathon, or even a half marathon, has ever crossed your mind –- just start training. The first step is to start running. If you’re already a consistent runner, you’ve already completed the first step. If not, you’re only one step behind. It’s suggested for first time marathon runners to have been running consistently for at least one year. Getting comfortable running is the first and most important step.
When that is complete, choose a training plan. My suggestion would be to take a look at Hal Higdon’s marathon training program. The site offers many different training levels for different kinds of runners. If you are having a hard time deciding between two levels, start with the higher one and fall down to the lower one if needed.
Most schedules work the same way. The total mileage goes up each week with a “long” run on Sundays. The Sunday run should be treated like the race. Try to wake up early since the race will be early. Try to eat the breakfast you will eat on race day. The schedule you follow will also taper back in mileage on Sundays before increasing again. This is to give your body time to recover. Particularly in the last few weeks this tapering is extremely important.
There are about a million training plans out there. Choosing one is easy. Following it will be a challenge. But crossing the finish line will be more than worth it.
By Kelsey Caminiti