If you’re looking to challenge yourself, why not try running a marathon? They not only challenge your physical toughness but test your mental resolve as well. Even though the training & marathon will be tough, especially for a first-timer, the feeling of absolute satisfaction after finishing the journey will be unmatched.
Before you get hyped up for your first marathon, here are some important things to note. Completing a marathon is no easy feat. A full marathon is a staggering 42km from start to finish. To compare, the length of Singapore from East to West is only 50km, only 8km more than a full marathon. Meanwhile, a half-marathon (as the name implies), covers half of that, with 21km. While this is considerably shorter, it’s still not a walk in the park.
A marathon training plan is not just recommended, but mandatory. You have to condition your body to go the distance and steel yourself for the long road ahead. If this hasn’t scared you off yet, then read on for the full marathon training plan.
In this guide, we will be covering how to train for a 10K (or 10km) run, half marathon and full marathon.
How To Train For A 10km Run
Training Period: 8 Weeks
Training Schedule: 3x a week
Training Days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday/Sunday
A 10km run isn’t that brutal. 8 weeks is adequate, provided you don’t flake out partway. Be sure to run at least 3 times a week to keep up your stamina. Of these, 2 should be short runs (around 30mins) and one long run (preferably during the weekend).
Every other weekend, be sure to add 2-2.5km to your weekend routine, to keep yourself sharp. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where you’re running 10km or more during training. That’s okay, more practice ensures that you know exactly what your 10km race day entails. However, be careful not to overdo it and injure yourself before the big day.
If possible, don’t just stick to running, and incorporate cross-training into your routine. Cross-training refers to aerobic activities that aren’t running, and there are many to choose from, such as swimming or cycling. Cross-training ensures that you do not get injured from overusing a body part. As a bonus, it also helps with the monotony of running all the time.
How to Train For A Half Marathon
Training Period: 12 Weeks
Training Schedule: 4x a week
Training Days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
This is where it gets truly challenging. Half marathons are no joke. Full dedication is required if you don’t want to embarrass yourself. Before starting to train for a half-marathon, you should have already trained for the 10km run. This half marathon training plan assumes that you are familiar with the 10km run, and are at an adequate level of fitness. If you’re ready to tackle this tall task, here’s your half marathon training plan.
Monday: Always a rest day. It’s important to give your body time to recover.
Tuesday & Thursday: These are the backbone of your training routine. On these days, run at a moderate pace. These running days build up and condition your body for the longer runs. Start with 3km on Tuesday & 4km on Thursday and gradually increase your distance. By the end of the routine (on week 11), you should be running 5-7km for each day and have an idea of how ready you are.
Wednesday & Friday: Remember how cross-training was only highly recommended in the 10km run? Well, for a half-marathon, it’s not just a recommendation anymore. You need to do it. However, only do it on either day and not both. The cross-training exercise you choose should not be too taxing on your body, and only be 30-45mins.
Saturday: This is the main way to gauge your timing. Start small from 5km on the first week, and gradually increase your distance until you reach 19km on week 11. This is your long-distance run, so be prepared! You are advised to bring along your earphones to ensure boredom does not creep up on you. This run should be at an easy pace, slightly slower than those on Tuesday & Thursday.
Sunday: This is your “rest day”. You can either go for a 20-minute run or do cross-training. Just don’t be slacking off!
So far, the 12th week has not been mentioned yet. So what’s the plan? This is your race week, so you need to take it easy. Just go for short 20-minute runs on Tuesday, Thursday & Friday to keep yourself active.
How To Train For A Marathon
Training Period: 20 Weeks
Training Schedule: 4x to 5x a week
Training Days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Now that you’ve aced the 10km run and completed a half-marathon, it’s time for the final challenge. Training for a full marathon will be time-consuming, so beware. But, it’ll all be worth it, in the end. When you look back at this 10-month journey, you should be proud. Your conviction, dedication and perseverance lead you this far. After this, you’ll be a full-fledged marathoner! Remember to note down all distances and timings to get the most accurate measurement of your performance.
Monday & Friday: These will be your “short” runs. Start off small with 5km on the first week. Gradually increase your distance until you reach week 17, where you should be running 12-13km for both days.
Wednesday: Wednesdays will be a little different from Mondays & Fridays. You’ll start off at 5km too, and the distance you run for Wednesday, Monday & Friday should be similar, if not identical. The difference is that on Wednesday, starting from week 6, you’ll be incorporating “marathon goal pace”. The name is self-explanatory, but this is the pace you’ll (hopefully) be running at during the marathon.
Here’s a tool to help you calculate this. On week 6, you be covering approximately 6.5km, and 3km of that should be at your marathon pace. By week 17, around 8km out 12-13km should be run at marathon pace. If you feel like giving up, remember all the effort you took to get here and push on.
Tuesday & Thursday: These are your rest days. Not just “rest days”, but actual rest days. Cross-training is not necessary as you will be pressed for time between your long runs, short runs and rest days.
Saturday: From week 1-4, this will be your rest day. From week 5 onwards, this is your long run. Start off at 10km and go longer till you reach 32km on week 17.
Sunday: This will be your other “short” runs. This run will range from 5-8km and you get to choose how long you want it to be. However, this will only last 11 weeks. On week 12, you should stop as your other days will get much longer, and you will need the rest.
Week 18: This is when you start winding down, in preparation for your marathon. You should follow your week 16 routine, with minor adjustments. For Wednesday, increase the distance ran with marathon pace by 2km while retaining the total distance. Everything else should be the same.
Week 19: Run 8km for Monday, Wednesday & Friday, 26km on Saturday, and the rest will be for recuperating.
Week 20: This is it. The race is this week, and you need to prepare yourself mentally. No cheat days, stay hydrated and get enough rest. All you need (assuming your marathon is on Sunday) is 5km on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
By Muhd Farhan