How To START Training For A Marathon: Your 4 Week Prep Plan!

We’ve all heard of those “Couch to 5K” programs…but a “Couch to Marathon” program? Not so much. In this post, we show you how to start training for a marathon. Include this 4-week prep plan in your running program to get marathon TRAINING ready!

How To Start Training For A Marathon: 16 Weeks Goes By Fast

how to start training for a marathon

The harsh truth:

Most training plans last 16 weeks…all of which are going to fly by!

You’re kidding yourself if you think you’re going to jump into day 1 of a marathon training plan with little to no running/aerobic work under your belt.

16 weeks means no room to get off track, take a week off, or nurse a “could’ve been prevented” injury.

By getting ahead of the game and taking 4 weeks to mentally and physically prepare, you’ll largely increase your chances of success through your first marathon finish line!

How To Start Training For A Marathon: Consistency Is Key

couch to marathon training plan

Most marathon training plans require you to run 3-5 days per week.

Distance, speed and elevation change will vary…but you’ll be running more days than you’re resting.

The key to building this running consistency:

Get your butt out the door, 3-5 times per week.

You don’t have to run far, you don’t have to run fast…but you do need to run as many times per week as will be required in your training plan, for 3-4 weeks leading up to it.

how to prepare for a marathon

By doing this, your body will come to expect and accommodate frequent running. You’ll also have the opportunity to build a habit out of running, even when you’re tired, it’s raining/snowing or you just don’t feel like it.

How To Start Training For A Marathon: Build Strength Outside of Running

Best tips on how to start training for a marathon

Running requires strength from a lot more than just your legs, believe it or not.

It’s quite simple.

To run consistently without injury, you’ll need strength in your hips, core, shoulders, and ankles, just to name a few!

Using these 4 preliminary weeks to make strength training a REGULAR part of your routine will make a world of difference in your run form, stamina and overall help you in preventing running injuries as you move into more intense marathon training.

Pick 2 days each week (preferably not consecutive) to strength train.

No, you don’t need a gym, or a barbell or fancy machine. Simple body weight exercises will do the trick!

Lunges, squats, burpees, core exercises…

If you need ideas, give our free strength training workouts a look here!

Best tips on how to prepare for a marathon

These kinds of movements will not only “make you stronger” but they’ll make you stronger in increased ranges of motion, demanded by proper running form.

Side note: For stronger, more successful training, make sure to pick a marathon training program that includes this type of strength training in it!

How To Start Training For A Marathon: What Good Is Strength Without Mobility?

Beginner tips on how to start training for a marathon

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how strong you are if you can’t put into play.

Mobilizing allows us as runners to expand the range of motion in all of our joints.

This means more space to move, less pain to do so, and overall improvement in running efficiency and form.

Increased range of motion in our hips, shoulders, ankles & knees allows us to run a little more “easily”, creating more power and delaying fatigue.

Beyond that, mobilizing help to PREVENT INJURY.

Waiting to mobilize until something hurts or gets injured is like trying to un-crash a car.

It’s way less frustrating and time-consuming to prevent the crash from happening in the first place.

You’ve got 1,440 minutes in your day.

There’s no excuse for not spending just 10 of them taking care of the body you’re going to become so dependent on in the coming weeks.

Beginner tips on how to prepare for a marathon

Here are a few mobility exercises you can try out during your next “Netflix & Mobilize” sesh:

How To Start Training For A Marathon: So What Exactly Do These 4 Prep Weeks Look Like?

How to prepare for a marathon in 4 week

You’re in luck!

We’ve already put together a program created entirely for this purpose.

30 days of running, strength training & mobility exercises…all blended into one easy-to-navigate program.

It won’t require all of your time and energy, just enough to adequately prepare you for the demands of your upcoming marathon training!

Check out our 30 Day Running Challenge

And last but not least, for sticking with us till the end, enjoy a FREE, downloadable Marathon Training Guide! One big PDF that tells you ALL you need to know about tackling that first marathon! From running gear to choosing the perfect first race, to designing your training strategy…we’ve got it all packed in there for you! Get yours here 🙂