Before you start marathon training

Before you start marathon training you need to ask yourself a few questions.

And you need to give yourself some honest answers too, otherwise your marathon plans may end in tatters.

But don’t worry too much.

Thousands of people compete in marathons for the first time each year – most of them successfully.

10 questions you should ask yourself before starting marathon training?

1. Why do you want to run the marathon?

There are so many great reasons for running a marathon, such as

  • improved fitness
  • a sense of achievement
  • the amazing experience of race day; or
  • raising money for charity

to name but a few.

Are you clear about your own motivation – because there will be times when you’ll need plenty of it.

2. Who are you trying to impress?

Many people are filled with admiration for people who have completed marathons – and rightly so. Are you taking up marathon running to gain the approval of others – either for your athletic feats or because of the amounts of money you plan to raise for charity? Or are you running for your own self-satisfaction?

3. What’s your level of fitness like now?

Many people run a marathon having started their training at a very low level of fitness. But it’s very tough. If you have a heart or respiratory condition or chronic muscular or skeletal injuries, taking up marathon training and distance running could be one of the poorer decisions you will ever make. Running should make you fitter, but it won’t make everyone healthier.

4. Do you like running?

Let’s be honest – some people really don’t enjoy running. Are you one of them? Do you really think that doing a lot of running (and you will be doing a lot of running) will suddenly made you start liking it.

5. Are you just reacting to being unfit?

Many people get frustrated at the onset of poor fitness and overreact by saying “Right – I’m going to run a marathon to get fit!” There are plenty of other ways of getting fit that don’t involve the rigours of marathon running. Would another form of exercise suit you better?

6. How busy is your lifestyle?

Are you likely to be able to find regular times to train for your race? Do you travel away from home a lot for work or find that you are only at home in the dark? Can you identify a time of the day or week when you can get some good quality running under your belt?

7.Where will marathon training fit into your priorities?

If you have a job, friends and family, there will be times when your training seems a long way down your list of priorities. What are your priorities in life? Are you clear where your marathon training fits in with these other demands?

8. What time commitments could you give up?

Marathon training is likely to take up many hours a week over many weeks. Do you need to give up other hobbies or leisure time to fit in all that training? And are you prepared to do so?

9. Do you have a track record of completing goals?

Training for a marathon is a huge commitment and it can be pretty tough at times. Are you used to achieving goals, or do you give up easily? If it’s the latter maybe you should start with a less ambitious target, like a 10k race or a half marathon. After all, you could always run a marathon next year.

10. What will you do if you achieve your goal?

If you achieve marathon success, will you give up running altogether? Or do you see this as being the first of many marathons?

Do you still want to take up marathon running?

Answering these questions will give you a good idea of whether you have a good chance of being successful in taking on the demands of preparing yourself mentally and physically for running a marathon.