It’s essential to start preparing for a marathon 2-3 months before you begin your marathon-specific training. The more prep work you do before training starts, the less likely you are to get injured and the more likely you’ll be to reach your goals. Here are 7 things you need to do in the weeks before you start following your marathon training plan.
Pick a training plan or hire a coach.
This is a no-brainer, but make sure you’re strategic in picking the right plan or coach. To ensure you get the plan you need, review your past training logs and make notes of what kind of weekly mileage you want to complete. Write out your goals for the race. Then start looking for the training plan that’s going to work best for you. If you only want to run four days a week, don’t choose a plan that asks you to run six days a week. Running isn’t your only goal in life, so find a training plan that works well with your lifestyle.
Work on your weaknesses.
If you know you need to work on glute strength, commit to strength training three days per week now so that once marathon training starts, you’ll be strong enough to handle all the miles. If you know you need to work on your mental game, start working on it by reading books, listening to podcasts, etc. Even if you don’t have weak glutes or know of any muscle imbalances, you should still focus on doing strength training a minimum of two times per week.
Be a little less structured with your workouts, but give each workout a purpose.
Marathon training can feel as though it goes on forever and ever. Now is the time to be a little less structured with your workouts. Give yourself the freedom to workout later in the day on the weekends. Don’t be afraid to miss a workout to see friends, or just cut yourself some slack when you need it. Make sure you’re doing the work you need to (base building and strength training), but don’t go crazy. Once marathon training officially starts, you’ll need to be on your ‘A game’ and giving yourself some time to breathe now will set you up for success.
Build your running base.
Before you begin training, you’ll need to have completed 4-6 weeks of consistent running. The number of miles you’ll need to run per week to build your base depends on your goal for the marathon, your running history and what kind of mileage you’ll be doing during the first month of your training plan.
Have fun with your workouts.
This is a time when you can try out all the fun fitness classes in your neighborhood without having to worry about how they will interfere with marathon training. Once marathon training starts, there won’t be much time for exploring new workouts.
Improve your running form.
Now is the time to focus on stride rate, stride length, foot strike, arm swing, etc. Small changes made over time can make you a more efficient runner.
If you had any nagging injuries you haven’t taken care of, see a doctor or physical therapist.
Don’t wait for a small twinge to become a real injury. Get it taken care of ASAP!