To complete a marathon you have to run a total of 26.2 miles (42.195 km). The history of this event goes back to the 1896 Olympic games, where the distance was set to 40 kilometres to commemorate the legend of an ancient messenger who ran from the site of Marathon to Athens to pass on the important news of the Greek victory over the invading Persians in 490 B.C. After giving the announcement, the messenger who was exhausted, collapsed on the spot and died.
The marathon slowly grew in length over the years, until the 1908 games where it hit 26.2 miles and has stuck ever since. There are many events organised throughout the year in the UK and around the world, check out the marathon runners diary for one close to you.
In order to get in to some of the bigger more well known events, like the London Marathon, then you will need to apply. If unsuccessful you can look at the option of running for a charity, with many charities giving places to people in return of raising sponsorship and fundraising for them
If you’re going to complete a marathon then you’re really going to have to put the effort in with the training. For a beginner you should be looking at doing between four to eight weeks steady running before you start your 17 week training plan.
One thing that you’ll really want to consider is getting your gait analysis done to find the best trainers. This is where your running style is looked at to assess how much you pronate (how much your foot rolls inwards when you run) and what support would be best for your running style.
There are plenty of shops that offer this service for free, so go and get yourself tested. If you’re going to be running for 26.2 miles non stop you’re going to want something that fits well and is comfortable. Check out our Top 10 Running Trainers guide.
To help aid you with your training and progress you could do with some good technology. A heart rate monitor is very useful. Not only can you assess your heart rate and calories burned, so you can see how much you’re improving during the training period. Most monitors will also link up with a GPS watch or app on your phone, so you can track the distance run, what pace you have been running at and even the elevation levels.
This technology can really help keep you motivated by showing you just how much you’ve improved from the beginning and are well worth the investment. Headphones can also help you along with your run and take your mind away from the sometimes mundane feeling of following the same route. If running on the roads then please be careful not to drown out the noises of vehicles around you.
There are some good headphones out there, both wired and wireless. Personally I use the PowerBeats. The sound quality is not the best compared to many other big brand headphone makers, but it’s good enough (you are out running after all), they fit really well and do not fall out, unlike some others that I have tried.
Nutrition is another big area to cover. You’re going to want to replenish the lost fluids during a run and increase the protein when recovering. Ideally you should speak to a nutritionist specialist to get some advice on a food programme and what supplements you should be consuming. Recovery is just as important as the training itself, the sooner you recover the more you can train. Check out MyProtein for all your supplement and training needs
The Day You Complete A Marathon
When the day finally comes it will all come down to the effort that you have put in during the build up. All those hours you’ve put in on the road, will help ensure you complete this mammoth challenge. Complete a marathon is on many peoples buck list, but not something many actually get round to completing. So If you’ve got this far and you’re about to embark on your first marathon then good luck and let us know how you got on.