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Good Content from: Team Saucony

If you hang around runners for long enough, you’ll eventually get the itch to do the glorious monster of a race that is the marathon. Whether you’re a veteran or rookie, finishing 26.2 miles is an enormous achievement for runners of all levels. There is nothing quite like crossing that finish line after months of hard training.

Because marathons are much longer than most races, training for one takes a huge amount of time, patience and commitment. It also takes a hefty toll on your body, so it’s important to have a solid foundation of fitness before you dive into marathon prep.

Before committing to a marathon, you should double-check that you’re healthy and able to put in the training for it. A few things to ask yourself: Have you been injured in the past year? Do you have time each week to run four to five days, including a long run? If you’re a first-time marathoner, do you have at least 20 weeks to train for it? Additionally, you should always consult with your physician before starting any serious training plan.

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Have the green light to train for 26.2? Let’s go! Marathon training requires a lot of mileage, so you’ll first need to find a pair of shoes that allow you to log long miles comfortably. At Saucony, we want every run to be a good run, no matter how far you’re going.

Here are a few of our favorite shoes for marathons:

  • Triumph 17: Runners who crave a softer underfoot feel for long runs will love the lightweight cushioning in our most-cushioned neutral shoe.
  • Hurricane 22: Our most-cushioned stability shoe, for runners wanting to stay secure, comfortable, and refreshed on your longest runs.
  • Freedom ISO 2: The perfect blend of low-profile but plush, this shoe features a low offset (4mm), soft and responsive cushioning, and a sock-like upper.
  • Liberty ISO 2: For fans of the Freedom ISO 2 who want a little more support, this shoe shares the same low offset and cushioning, but with a stealthy medial post to minimize excessive movement.

Once you have your solemates, it’s time to get training. Here, we give you tips on how to train for your first marathon.

How long does it take to go from couch to marathon?
If you’re brand new to running, you’ll need to give yourself a generous amount of time to prepare for a marathon. When you first begin running, your legs need much more time to adjust to the distance and recover than seasoned athletes do. During a 26.2-mile race, your muscles, tendons and bones undergo tremendous strain, so it’s critical that they’re strong enough to withstand that impact.

That said, it’s totally doable to go from couch to marathon with a proper buildup. While experienced runners can prepare for a marathon in about four months, training from scratch takes around 10 months up to a year.

A long buildup allows room for shorter, easier runs and extra rest days as you gradually increase your mileage. Once you’ve grown stronger as a runner, you’ll be able to do longer, harder, and more frequent runs.

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Marathon training plan for beginners
You just got a bib to your bucket-list marathon. Congrats! Now comes the hard (but also fun) part: training.

Unlike shorter races, which emphasize speed, the marathon is all about strength. An ideal training plan develops your cardio fitness through both running and cross-training, and also conditions your bones and muscles to withstand serious pounding.

Building marathon strength takes time, which is why this training plan is 20 weeks long. During it, you’ll run four days per week: two base runs, one tempo run and one long run.  Along with running, you should also cross-train with non-impact exercise one or two days and take one day off. Your base and long runs should be run at an easy, conversational pace. During tempo runs, you should be able to speak, but not carry on a full conversation.

The long run is hands-down the most important workout of the week, as this is when your body adapts to the rigor of running much farther than usual. Long runs are also dress rehearsals for race day: you can practice fueling, drinking, and wearing your racing attire and shoes.

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We also encourage adding in core and strength-training sessions to your weekly training schedule. A strong body will be key during those often-grueling final miles of the marathon.

While this program is for beginners, we highly recommend that you have at least six months of running experience (running at least 10 miles per week) before starting.

  • Week 1: Two base runs (3 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 1 mile tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (4 miles)
  • Week 2: Two base runs (3 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 1.5 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (5 miles)
  • Week 3: Two base runs (3 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 2 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (6 miles)
  • Week 4: Two base runs (3 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 2 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (4 miles)
  • Week 5: Two base runs (4 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 2 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (6 miles)
  • Week 6: Two base runs (4 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 3 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (8 miles)
  • Week 7: Two base runs (4 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 3 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (10 miles)
  • Week 8: Two base runs (4 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 3 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (8 miles)
  • Week 9: Two base runs (4 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 4 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (12 miles)
  • Week 10: Two base runs (5 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 4 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (10 miles)
  • Week 11: Two base runs (5 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 4 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (14 miles)
  • Week 12: Two base runs (5 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 4 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (10 miles)
  • Week 13: Two base runs (5 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 5 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (16 miles)
  • Week 14: Two base runs (5 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 5 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (12 miles)
  • Week 15: Two base runs (5 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 5 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (18 miles)
  • Week 16: Two base runs (6 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 5 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (12 miles)
  • Week 17: Two base runs (6 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 4 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (20 miles)
  • Week 18: Two base runs (5 miles), one tempo run (1 mile warmup, 2 miles tempo, 1 mile cooldown), one long run (12 miles)
  • Week 19: Two base runs (4 miles), one easy run (3 miles), one long run (8 miles)
  • Week 20: Two base runs (3 miles), one easy run (2 miles), RACE!

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It’s cool to be prepared
If you’re training for a marathon, remember that your number one goal is to get to the start line healthy and prepared. Make sure your shoes and attire are comfortable. Listen to your body for any warning signs of an injury and take extra days to cross train or rest as needed. Fine-tune your fueling plan during long runs: a good rule of thumb is to have an energy gel or chews, plus a few swigs of fluids every hour. And most importantly, enjoy the ride!

Want more Saucony scoop? Be sure to keep checking our blog at Saucony.com for tips and insights about shoes, training, racing, and more.

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