Mileage for Novice Marathon Runners

As a beginner to the marathon it is likely that your goal is to complete the distance. If you are an experienced long distance runner, you might wish to consider yourself an intermediate marathon runner as some of the ideas here should be ones you are already familiar with (maybe you should read this to check!).

The first thing that should be stressed here is that much of your training for the marathon is going to be about time on your feet out running round the roads or parks getting your body used to the idea of running for 4, 5 or even 6 hours to complete the course.

You shouldn't concern yourself too much with the speed at which you do this, or even if you end up doing some of it at walking pace - but more about covering the miles in front of you.

To do this well you should build yourself a plan to follow as it is a great motivator to be able to tick off the sessions as you build towards the big day.

Building a Plan - Total Mileage

How far should I run each week?

This will depend on a number of factors including your current level of fitness, how long you have to go to race day, age, the amount of time you have available etc etc.

Generally, if you are of average age and fitness, you'll need to start your preparations at least 3-4 months in advance of the big day, and frankly the sooner you start the easier it will be.

Two goals that work quite well, although this isn't exclusively the case, are

Try not to increase you total mileage by more than 10% a week.

Try to build up to 45 miles in the week 3 weeks prior to the event

If you work backwards from this you'll find that you need 16 weeks to move from 10 miles in the week to this target, so would therefore need to start training 19 weeks prior to the event.

Many coaches will also put lighter weeks into the schedule to allow the body to recover from the stresses of training, so in practice you'll ideally want a 6 month preparation period for your first marathon - if you currently run less than 10 miles in a week.

(We believe 10 miles in a week is a good starting point for most averagely fit people - whether this be walking or running).

Learn more / further reading

  1. How should I set up a weekly Schedule?
  2. What should I do on Race Day?
  3. What Clothing and Shoes do I need?
  4. How far should my Long Runs be?
  5. What else can I do to help my Marathon Training?
  6. What should I eat?

Remember, if this all seems a bit daunting, we can put together a schedule prepared specifically for you from our team of experienced coaches with our Online Coaching.



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