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If you’ve got a couple of half marathons under your belt and now you want to push yourself further, this is the training guide for you.

Everyone is an individual and your base level of fitness may vary. For those who already have been doing some running, marathon training should give you the extra speed and endurance to take your performance to the next level.

It is vital to be consistent with your training. Here are 8 things you should never skip during your marathon training.

  • Warm-up

A good guide for a warm-up is to jog 1-2 km, sit down and stretch for 5-10 minutes, then run some easy strides – 100 m at near race pace. Cool down afterward by doing half the warm-up distance.

  • Easy runs

Easy runs are to be done at a comfortable pace. If you’re training with a friend, the two of you should be able to hold a conversation. For those who wear heart rate monitors, your target zone should be between 65 and 75% of your maximum heart rate.

  • Long runs

Important sessions in marathon training are the long runs, which progressively increase in distance each weekend. You will jump from your longest training run of 15 km to the half marathon – a solid leap, but your training and inspiration on the day will see you over the line. Keep in mind that it’s easier to do a long run the day after a pace run.

  • Tempo runs

This is a continuous run with a buildup of pace in the middle. A tempo run of 30 to 45 minutes would begin with 10-15 minutes of easy running, build to 15-20 minutes at a medium pace near the middle, then 5-10 minutes easy toward the end. The pace buildup should be gradual. A tempo run can be as hard or easy as you want to make it.

  • Stretch

Don’t forget to stretch! Stretching is key to a strong, supple body and should be done daily. It’s important to start each training session with some stretches and gentle movements to prepare your body for your workout. After your session, cool down with more stretches to help with recovery.

  • Strengthen

Even though you are focused on running, strength training is still an effective session as it helps with active recovery and injury prevention. Strength training, particularly for your core muscles, is an important focus of this training guide. Try bodyweight exercises like push-ups, chin-ups or dips, or light weights with high reps at your local gym.

  • Rest

Your muscles need time to recover and rebuild, so ensuring adequate rest is just as important as the runs in this guide. In particular, taking the time to rest before and after your long run will help reduce your risk of injury. Be realistic about your fatigue level, especially in the closing weeks of the training, and don’t be afraid to take an extra day off now and then.

  • Fuel

Training for your marathon means more than just putting in miles. Having your nutrition plan dialed in for before, during, and after the race is equally important.  Maintaining a healthy marathon training diet can maximize your performance and help make training easier.

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