42.195 kilometers on foot is a big distance that not everyone is capable of doing. If you are planning on running a marathon, you need an action plan. Of course, there are different ways to train well for such a distance. Even though for many it is an almost unattainable bucket list item, running the marathon is achievable, even for you! Below, you can read exactly what a marathon entails and how you can start preparing properly.
How did the marathon originate?
To go back to the origins of the marathon, let’s look at the year 490 BC. During the Battle of Marathon, the first Persian War, a Greek soldier is said to have walked from the battlefield in Marathon 42 kilometers to Athens to break the news of victory in Athens. Of course, it is difficult to say whether this information is true, but still, all the stories provided enough inspiration to name the distance run as we know it after the Battle of Marathon. Later, the Olympic movement also decided to add this distance to the Olympics. A long-distance running race that was seen as the limit of human ability and in which, above all, the endurance of the participants was tested.
The average time
Let us first zoom in on the records within the running world. The world marathon record is 2:01:39 for men and 2:15:25 for women. Professional male runners have an average time of 2:05:00 and female runners achieve an average time of 2:22:00. For most people, even if you train regularly, these times are not realistic. This is only possible if you dedicate all your time to this and run at a high level. Did you know that only 5 per cent of top runners manage to finish a marathon within 3 hours?
Figures tell us that the average marathon runner needs more than twice as much time as the top runners. Among marathon runners, for instance, 4:00:00 is considered the benchmark of the average finish time of a marathon is even above that. To achieve this feat, runners need to keep running at a pace of around 10.5 kilometers per hour. Not an easy average marathon time, but achievable with proper training.
When you start training for the marathon, it is important to give proper direction to your training period. Giving direction to your training period is called periodisation. Periodisation helps to split up your training period. This allows you to build up your capacity, for example. It also ensures that the work/rest ratio allows you to recover optimally from strenuous efforts, advance to a higher level and even create supercompensation.
Chances are that you get overwhelmed by the marathon distance, the fastest marathon time ánd the range of training schedules on offer. Therefore, it is good to pay attention to these four different things: a long-term build-up that continues to endurance runs of at least 32 kilometers, a rest day after that long endurance run, cross-training and a taper period before the race.
The length of the preparation period depends on your fitness and running experience. In general, most training schedules are 12 to 20 weeks. You can expect it to include speed building, hill training and long endurance runs. But the most important tip is to always listen to your body and know your own limitations and strengths.
Do you find it difficult to set your own training direction and training schedule? Then choose to train with a team. This way, you will be challenged by professionals to train for the marathon in the most responsible and correct way. You often run with the whole group once a week. You often meet at a place where you can easily run a long distance. It is also possible to drive to the location with the group in a van (Dutch: mercedes v klasse huren, mercedes vito huren), such as the forest or the beach.