When training for a marathon or long distance run it is the little things that make all the difference. Training for a marathon or long distance run should be started at least 5 months before the event itself.  Here is a list of

Top 10 tips to help with your marathon running training

Foam Rolling


Foam rollers, when used correctly, can release tension and tightness between the muscles and the fascia (which surrounds the muscle or group of muscles). This tension or tightness is usually caused by repetitive moving patterns – so ideal for runners. Foam rolling as well as dynamic stretching can help improve flexibility and movement, and decrease the risk of injury. The point of foam rolling is to use your body weight – so if an area really hurts, go gentle on it and support some of your weight elsewhere, using your arms. You can add more “weight” as the muscle relaxes. In other words, work to your own pain threshold! You should foam roll before a run and after to get the maximum benefits.


Stretching before every run no matter how small is important as it reduces the chance of injury which could set you back in your training. When warming the muscles up before a run you use dynamic stretching which includes rotation of the neck, shoulders, wrist, waist, knees and ankles. Followed by leg swings, side bends and half squats. Then after every run you finish with static stretches which include, chest stretch, upper back stretch, shoulder, side bends, hamstring stretch, calf stretch and hips and thigh stretch.

Running Miles

Make a training plan before you start training working from a 20 week plan. The first 4 weeks of your running plan should start with 3 runs a week and start from 2/3 miles going to 5/6 miles if you are a beginner to 4/5 miles to 7/8 miles if you have done a bit of running before. Then week 4 to 8 beginner runners 5/6 miles to 9/10 miles and intermediate runners 9/11 mile to 14/15 miles. Then week 8 to 12, beginner runners 12/15 miles to 16/19 miles and intermediate runners 16/19 mile to 20/22 miles. Once we move to week 12 to 16 we cut our runs from 3 a week to 2 a week with beginner runners doing 20/22 miles to 23/25 miles and intermediate runners doing 24/26 miles. The last 4 weeks of your plan should be week 16 to 18 doing 2 runs a weeks one at 20/22 miles and one at 10 miles. Then week 19 one 10 mile run and the week leading up to your event you don’t run at all! It is an individual choice of running the full 26.2 miles before the marathon in your training but I did as it gave me peace of mind that I could do it but I would recommend doing it in weeks 12/16 to give time for recovery.

Also check out these How to run longer and faster tips


When training as much as this you are likely to pick up little niggling injuries. Never ignore them and try to run through the pain. Hot and cold compress treatment such as ice packs and heat packs on the injury 3 to 4 times a day. Take anti inflammatories and rest as much as you can, if within 2 weeks no improvement then consult your GP.

Squat Training

When training for the marathon it is important to strengthen the legs. Squat training is a great way to do this I would say you would need to have 2 training sessions a week where you are focusing on strengthening the legs.

Lunge training

Walking lunges are also a great way to strengthen the legs so you can also add them into your strength training sessions. Along with some good core workouts.

Sports Massages

I would recommend having at least one sports massage during your training and that being within the 2 weeks before the marathon,  once all your training is complete, but make sure it’s no closer than 4 days before the marathon. With a sport massage it gets all the knots out of the muscles and helps loosen them for the big day, then having one after the event is also a great way to help the muscles recover.

 marathon running tips

Coconut Water

Low in calories, naturally fat- and cholesterol free, more potassium than four bananas, and super hydrating – these are just a few of the many benefits Naturally refreshing, coconut water has a sweet, nutty taste. It contains easily digested carbohydrate in the form of sugar and electrolytes. It is a great drink after your training runs to keep you hydrated and helps your body recover.


Eating the right food during your running training is important. Foods like pasta, vegetables, fruit, salads and jacket potatoes are all great foods. The week leading up to the marathon don’t over eat you will hear from a lot of people that you need to eat loads of carbs which isn’t true. Just keep eating healthy with your pastas and you will be fine.


During your training it is also very important that you have rest days where you do no exercise or running, you should aim to have at least 2 rest days a week. Then the week leading up to the marathon rest as much as you can and do not run or exercise.


Make sure you get the running trainers that are best for you; the best way to do this is by heading to a shop that measure the way you run and can advise you on what trainers to pick. There are also running socks you can buy which can help with comfort which is important when running. Running gels are another great product that will help you, there are a number of different makes but are all good so it’s just finding the best one for you. Another thing that helped me through was jelly beans a great sauce of sugar and glucose and easy to eat on the move.

Training for a marathon or any long distance run takes dedication, determination and a well thought out plan. But the feeling once you complete the marathon makes it all worthwhile! Follow these 10 tips and it will make the training a little easier for you.

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