Adding variety to your marathon training

While running for long periods of time is clearly the most important part of a marathon training program, building up your all round athletic performance is highly beneficial to marathon preparation.

Being an all round athlete means:

  • You are much less likely to become injured
  • You will probably recover from training more quickly
  • You might even be able to put your socks on in the morning without help
  • And you’ll also feel pretty good about how you look and feel.

Building up your all round athletic performance

Running long distances on a regular basis will help build your stamina. But you should also include activities that improve these aspects of your fitness if you can:

  • Flexibility
  • Core strength
  • Leg strength
  • Speed.

Many marathon runners also enjoy other types of endurance or aerobic training, particularly when nursing potential injuries or weaknesses.

Good complementary training includes

  • Cycling
  • Indoor cycling or spinning – great for bad weather
  • Rowing machines
  • Aerobics classes
  • Hill walking.

Mix up your running

A well-balanced marathon training program contains a variety of running:

  • Shorter runs at a higher intensity
  • Interval training – sometimes called Fartlek running
  • Running up hilly areas
  • Running on grass
  • Running different routes to keep training interesting.
  • Occasional “big day” runs which stretch your capabilities a bit.

Other types of training to consider

The following are all highly beneficial to all round fitness and will help you avoid injuries while training for a marathon or half marathon:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Stretching
  • Light weight training
  • Swimming

Swimming is also a great way of staying fit if you get injured during your marathon training schedule because the water supports your body weight.