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'26.2' - The Marathon Training Website: 

Finding Time To Do Your Marathon Training

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When we decide to run a marathon we are making a 16 week (or more) training commitment. Our focus is usually on the running and all the mileage we have to do during the training. Rarely do we think about the time needed to accomplish all of this…

The big difference between marathon training and your regular running is that you are on a fairly strict schedule and can’t afford to miss out on too many runs. In a typical training program the average marathon runner will cover between 500 and 800 miles in total. This translates into 75 to 120 training hours (at a 9 minute per mile pace), not counting the time to get ready, warming up, stretching afterwards, etc. Over the 16 week period this amounts to about 7 –10 hours per week.

So how do you find the time to train properly and manage all the other activities in your busy life? - By applying the three ‘P’s principle: 

Ø       Prioritizing

Ø       Planning

Ø       Performing


Most people’s top priority is going to work to earn the money they need to get by. After this they usually juggle the rest like family needs (such as running the kids to school and sports events), entertainment, studying, exercise and so on.

When you decide to run a marathon something has to give way. You have to consciously look at your personal


 schedule and move things around to make the time for your training. If you don’t do this and just try to fit the training schedule into your usual running routine there’s a good chance it just won’t happen, and frustration will set in. You have to make the time to run a priority in your life during the 16 weeks of training.


OK – so we have agreed that our marathon training will be a priority. Now you need to plan for it! If you are part of a family it’s a good idea to tell everyone what the demands on your time will be. For example during the peak training period you might be running 55 miles in a week and will need one to two hours per day (not counting your day off training!) to devote to the marathon program.

You also should look at your weekly schedule and determine the best times for your runs. Long runs are usually reserved for weekends. Saturday mornings have always been my favorite. If you have any flexibility in your work schedule, this is time to take advantage of it. Doing the shorter runs at lunchtime is a good option.

I recommend that you look at your training schedule at the beginning of each week and make a note of when you hope to do each run.
Just by thinking about it is a big step to actually making it happen.

If you have followed the above steps the rest is up to you! You need the mental fortitude to actually follow through on your planned schedule. When something unforeseen comes up, just say “I’ll take care of this after my training run”. Don’t be afraid to ask others to help out either. People are often more accommodating than we think.

Remember - your marathon training comes first! If you start to follow this principle from the very first week of your training it will soon become part of you routine. Finding the time to train for the marathon will not be a problem because it has become a regular part of your daily life.


Following the training schedule correctly will greatly increase your chances of running a successful marathon.


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