Marathon running is not easy and takes a lot of hard work and dedication to accomplish such a task, but you can honestly go from couch to marathon running if you really want to.
The task ahead of you may take quite some time if you are new to the life of fitness, but following these simple guidelines will help you complete a half marathon, and soon after you will be ready to take on the more advanced techniques to improve your performance further.
Motivation and Goal Setting
You must be motivated in order to go from couch to half marathon status, and without it you might as well just remain on the couch and watch some more television.
Marathon running is going to decrease your body fat percentage and increase your lean muscle gains. Simply put, you want to tell yourself that you can get things rolling and make time to train properly. Once this decision has been made you should set some goals.
Your goals for going from couch to marathon running should be both near and future. First, think about run times and reaching a specific amount of distance.
For example, a person who has only ran a mile in their lifetime would feel ecstatic to reach being able to run five miles. Next think about your future as well. Do you want to place in the top ranks of your marathons, or weigh a certain amount upon completion of your beginner marathon training schedule? The choice of goals to set is yours, and believing in yourself is what helps you achieve them.
Nutrition and Gear
You want to eat plenty of healthy foods that contain high amounts of nutrients. Simple carbs and unhealthy fatty foods destroy your body and chances of being able to complete a half marathon.
Complex carbs such as quinoa, whole grains, and brown rice should be a part of your marathon diet plan in order to supply your body’s metabolism energy to drive forward in the marathon. Also include protein which is going to assist your muscles through the growth and recovery phase.
Dietary fats will be used as a secondary source for energy, which is used when your glycogen levels from carbs have been used up. See my Marathon Training Diet for more information.
Next, ensure your shoes fit properly and are comfortable. You do not want them to tight or to lose because serious injury may occur, for example excessive rubbing of feet against the sides of shoes could cause inflammation or even an infection. Make sure that you use some type of compression brace if you have any type of knee injury (I will discuss braces further in a future article).
Water is very important for your body, and a very big deal for marathon runners. One of the worst things that can happen to you during a competition is dehydration. To counter this, you should be consuming 6–8 ounces of water every 20 minutes. This will allow your body to stay hydrated throughout the entire session. Do not chug the water down, gradually take gulps and carry on with the run. And be careful about sugary energy drinks, personally I try to avoid them.
Couch to Half Marathon Training Schedule for Beginners
Before taking on the task of going from the couch to half marathon runner status, you should be able to run for at least 30 minutes before even attempting to perform paces and distances a marathon runner trains with. Below is an example of what a beginner half marathon training schedule should be like, and the numbers represent the amount of miles to run:
You can easily go from virtually having no type of running experience to becoming an amazing marathon athlete by doing the following:
- Warm-up stretching for 30 minutes. For more information read this article by Fitness Magazine.
- Starting out with brisk jogs lasting up to 30 minutes
- Jog until you are finding it easy to do, then start running at moderate paces for distances up to 2 miles.
- Eat nutrient based diet plans fully avoiding all simple carbs and snacks. No calories from drinks!
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Perform strength training exercises to increase the lean muscles on the legs.
The table above may seem a bit difficult at first, but once you get the running going you notice that it is not as bad as you thought first starting out. Feel free to download the PDF version and once you have mastered this plan check out my 16 Week Marathon Training Schedule for your next marathon.
Mix the table with the simple tips given above to ensure you’re at your max potential when your competition arrives. Sometimes you may have to tweak the schedule to fit your needs if you fail to reach a certain distance, but remember that it is not easy going from couch to half marathon status so keep your head up and perform the 8 week beginner marathon training schedule twice if you have to.