Image of runners during a marathon race

How to Prepare for a Marathon

How to Prepare for a Marathon

With Joshua McCabe

For many runners, the desire to do a marathon is about personal challenge. Maybe you’d like to lose weight, get healthier or raise awareness for a charity. You might also want to test your limits or prove that you can go the distance. Whatever your reason, hold on to it and remind yourself of it often during the months before the event.

There is wide disagreement about how to prepare properly for the marathon. Often the philosophy, ‘more-is-better’ holds sway with most of the gurus. For an event in which a three-hour finisher needs more than 32,000 impacts with the ground it’s crucial for every runner, especially the new or novice runner to plan training appropriately. The following are a few lessons we’ve learnt over the years of looking after runners of all kinds. 

Running Facts

  • 70% of all running related injuries occur from the knee downwards
  • Over-training increases your chance of injury
  • Strength around your hip, knee, and ankle can reduce the chance of injury

Graph of the Top 10 Running-Related Injuries

4 Tips for Getting Started

#1. Know your limits!

The 42.195 kilometres in a marathon isn’t your average neighbourhood jog. The injury risk is much higher! We all have niggles and old injuries, so if you have concerns about how to train with or around these, consult a physiotherapist or running coach before embarking on this journey.

#2. Start early

It’s probably good conventional wisdom to have some level of consistent running well before a marathon training program. Too often we see the cause of injury in runners is building the weekly distance too soon. Don’t underestimate the benefits of starting early, slow, and with plenty of rest days!

#3. Start small

Running a few shorter races, park runs, 5-10km events or even a half marathon is a great way to prepare physically and mentally for the marathon.

#4. Weekly schedule

Here’s an example of how you can structure your week around training. Consider cross-training to build your overall level of fitness and strength while you increase your running distance over a few months. A recent article by one of our running Physiotherapists, Dolph, goes into more detail about technique tips for runners. Here’s a brief outline of what you need to know:

How your foot interacts with the ground, how good your muscle control is around your hips as well as other factors can be critical in making your running technique more efficient, and decreasing your risk of injury.

  • Try not to cross the midline of your body, land under your hips
  • Avoid over-striding! Landing your foot in front of your body will increase your breaking force and slow you down
  • Increase your running cadence. This helps reduce over-striding and will make you a more efficient runner

The marathon is often called the toughest of all popular road races, and for a good reason! Planning ahead is as important as training hard when preparing for the marathon. If you would like help or guidance on where to start, our physios are able to assess and guide you from your first steps to the finish line.

Call our reception on (07) 3891 2000 or book online here.

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