About now, the thought of running 26 miles is probably pretty daunting, but actually that’s the easy part. The hard part is getting there in the first place.

Proper preparation for a marathon takes months of conditioning, gently building up to longer distances, fitting in mid-week runs, different sessions and your longer Sunday slogs. Throw in a social life, work commitments and rest days and you’ll be investing in a bigger diary. There’s an art to balancing your training and recovery to ensure you reach raceday in your best shape. 

Base level

Before you start on a marathon training plan, you should slowly prepare your body for the approaching challenge. Even if they consist of a quick three mile loop, regular training runs a couple of times a week will help prepare your legs for when the schedule properly kicks in with 12 weeks to go. 

Rest days

In training (as with wine, cheese and TV box sets), it’s about quality over quantity. The more you train, the more rest you need, and the time spent recovering from your last run is as important as the run itself. 

Be flexible

We appreciate that life sometimes gets in the way; Steve only has one thirtieth birthday, those reports don’t write themselves, and nothing should ever clash with Bake Off. If you can’t make a training session, don’t over-think it. Providing you’re hitting the majority of your targets, a night off is not going to ruin your chances of a PB. 

Training for a marathon is a serious commitment. Aiming for five hours or less on raceday takes many hours of preparation in the months before. Of course, there’s also fundraising to consider - becoming a hermit and only discussing your mile pace won’t help you with your target. Remember to get out there and play on the heartstrings as well as working on your hamstrings. 

Your aim should be getting to the start line, let your legs take it from there.

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