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How to Train for a Marathon in 3 Months or Less

How to Train for a Marathon in 3 Months or Less

Completing a marathon is on the bucket list for many people. If you’re not already a long distance runner, chances are you have no idea how to go about this mammoth task.

Running a marathon is very doable. I’m going to teach you how to train for a marathon so you can get it done in just three months.

A marathon is 26.2 miles and, depending on the race, you can expect runners to finish anywhere in between two and six hours.

There are a few things to keep in mind.

Running 26.2 miles is a long way. It is very demanding on your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, cardiovascular fitness, and is just as demanding on your mental stamina.

At any one time, 50% of all runners are injured. They have shin splints, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures and unexplained niggles. Do see your doctor for a check-up before engaging in any strenuous activity. If you experience any soreness other than general fatigue, you must see a professional right away for a quick fix–-better to miss a day of training while the injury is easily repairable than to a miss a month of training because you thought it would go away.

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One more warning:

Running is addictive. Once you finish your marathon, you will not be the same person you were when you started training. You will be stronger in your body and in your mind. You will know that sense of freedom unique to runners. You will salute others in your neighborhood with that grin known to all runners. And you will become a better person.

If you have the guts to commit to a marathon, you should start by familiarizing yourself with running terminology.

Long Steady Distance (or LSD) – This is your most important run of the week. You will go at a steady reasonable pace for a longer distance than your other runs. This run builds up your endurance stamina. Beginner’s tip: Include regular walk breaks.

Tempo – This run is the medium distance run in your week, and is done a little faster than your LSD. This run will improve your lactic threshold, which is that burn you get in your legs when you are pushing it. Beginner’s tip: Push the pace, but don’t go totally flat out.

Fartlek – This hilariously named run is Swedish for speed play. In this run you will alternate between fast and slow running. Over time, this will help increase the speed of all your other runs. Beginner’s tip: Alternate between running as fast as you can and walking. Use lamp posts or street corners to decide when to walk or run.

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Easy – Just like it sounds, this run is shorter, slower and more relaxed than the others. Its purpose is to keep your legs ticking over to add a few extra miles in your week, without putting additional stress on your muscles and bones. Beginner’s tip: Always run this slower than your natural run pace. If your pace is very slow, make this a walk.

Rest – Rest is the most neglected part of training. Rest is doing nothing, sleeping, eating, hydrating, getting a massage, and chilling out after the previous strenuous weeks. Rest is when your muscles and bones strengthen, your immune system rejuvenates, and your body prepares itself for your next session. Do not skip this!

Those terms are really all you need to know to complete a marathon. Once you’ve picked your race, you can start training.

Each run needs to be done once each week. Every 4 weeks, you’ll take a recovery week where you’ll only do Easy runs.

Most people do their LSD on the weekend when they have more time. Simply pick which day of the week suits you best and stick to that. Your Easy run will best fit either the day before or the day after your LSD. Your Tempo and Fartlek will fit in whichever other days work best for you.

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Here’s an example of how this might fit into your week:

how to train for a marathon in 3 months or even less

    Now you’ll need to build your plan–in this case three months (or 13 weeks)–until Race Day. It is best to plan it all out now, rather than doing it on a weekly basis.

    • Fill in your LSD run distances first. These will build up gradually over time.
    • Build in your recovery weeks approximately every 4th week.
    • Add in your Easy runs.
    • Add in your Tempo and Fartlek runs.
    • The 7-10 days before the marathon you’ll need to taper your training.

    Here’s a sample for you:

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    how to train for a marathon in 3 months or even less

      Tips:

      • If you have already been running for a while, you can skip the first 4 weeks of this plan and knock it off sooner!
      • Many runners have GPS watches. They are great to help you keep track of your distance and pace. If you don’t want to fork out for a specialist watch, there are many free apps available to download on your smartphone.
      • Depending how long the marathon will take you, you may need to learn how to eat food on the go. Glucose gels are the most convenient source of energy. You can also experiment with energy bars or by adding honey to your drink.
      • Carrying a drink bottle for more than a few miles is very annoying. There are plenty of waist packs, hands-free bottles, and hydration backpacks available so you don’t need to carry a bottle.
      • For your first marathon, time isn’t important. The important thing is that you did enough training to complete it. If you feel rubbish on the day, or the weather is crazy, that’s okay. Take it easy, chat to other runners, and soak up the atmosphere.

      When the going gets tough, dig deep and remember you are one of us now. You are a runner. Best of luck!

      Featured photo credit: Army 10-Miler – 2010 – AUSA – FMWRC – United States Army – 101024 / photo by familymwr via fotopedia.com

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      Last Updated on May 28, 2020

      How to Overcome Boredom

      How to Overcome Boredom

      Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

      I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

      If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

      What is Boredom?

      We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

      You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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      It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

      If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

      When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

      Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

      If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

      Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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      Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

      In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

      It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

      Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

      Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

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      In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

      3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

      1. Get Focused

      Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

      You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

      Here are a few ideas:

      • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
      • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
      • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

      2. Kill Procrastination

      Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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      So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

      Here are some ideas:

      • Do some exercise.
      • Read a book.
      • Learn something new.
      • Call a friend.
      • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
      • Do a spring cleaning.
      • Wash the car.
      • Renovate the house.
      • Re-arrange the furniture.
      • Write your shopping list.
      • Water the plants.
      • Walk the dog.
      • Sort out your mail & email.
      • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

      3. Enjoy Boredom

      If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

      Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

      So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

      More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

      Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

      Reference

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