How Long Does It Take To Train For A Marathon?
It really all depends on what your goals are and how patient you are to see them become a reality in your life.
I began running in 1992 by complete chance.
My brother was a shot put and discus thrower and was involved in the track team whereas I simply wanted to be around him and figured I'd spend some time with the other members of the team and get to laugh at my brother's endless jokes if I did.
I fell in love with the sport and found something I became good at because of the process…but we'll get to that in a second.
Back when I was competing at Indian Creek High School in Wintersville, Ohio, I would have never dreamed I would ever be sitting here writing to people I don't even know about how to train for a marathon.
The amount of time it takes to train for a marathon varies.
Individuality In The Sport
Answering how long does it take to train for a marathon is entirely up to you.
I have been very fortunate to work with two marathoners that I have both qualified for the Boston Marathon.
What I have taught them in my coaching philosophy, they have ran with (literally) and made enormous gains on their previous bests.
What it takes is razor sharp commitment but in saying that, you don't have to be a die hard marathon nut like them or me to run a marathon.
All it takes is patience and a great deal of persistence.
It doesn't take talent but it does take doing.
It takes healthy, clean living and making the right choices of what you put in your body and use at home.
You can't just be wanting to run a marathon well as that s not enough.
You are either all in or just dreaming about it and let's be blunt and honest here, most want it.
How many are putting in the time and dedication needed to be successful in this sport?
I can tell you in all my years of competing I am not doing enough myself.
I can put out more effort, time and focus into this as well.
We all can.
Dirt and Diamonds
As an endurance athlete training for the marathon distance there are a few things you absolutely must keep in mind.
Some days you feel like dirt, others you are performing up to standard, beautifully, like a diamond.
Im trying to paint a picture here.
The athlete that can expect that not every day is set up to be perfect, that doesn't lose the joy on the bad days will be the most successful.
Success in the marathon event is all about maintaining enthusiasm regardless if you are in that ‘flow' state we all seek or you feel terrible.
There are many reasons for why we could be feeling terrible as many of these symptoms can be poor hydration, nutrition or perhaps your glutathione or ion levels could be running low.
You have to be looking at your rough edges and working on the weak links in your armor because someone else is.
Your focus has to be tight.
It becomes very easy to get back into the comfort zone where far too many people reside wishing about things, too skeptical or worried about if they can really do it.
Our life is too short to not go all in.
What really do we all have to lose?
Our greatest successes stem from our failures.
I was diagnosed with anemia back in 2007 and had never had my blood tested.
The answer as to why I felt so run down was verified when I got the results back and I found out I had extremely low levels of iron for a male.
It took someone who knew more than me to get me to ‘see' that.
18 years of running at that time and no one had ever told me to get my blood tested to see if I was running low.
I listened, it changed my life and I'll be mentioning a few things below that I hope changes yours.
Can I Speed Up The Process?
The answer to this is, no. The body is going to work on its own time.
I can answer the question how long does it take to train for a marathon by my own experience so take it with a grain of salt.
You can't rush fitness.
Results will come but it takes approximately 21 days or 3 weeks for any stress load you place on the body to be fully adapted to.
For example, say you go out for a 10 mile run today.
Will you get workout from that?
Absolutely, but in the beginning everything is difficult.
Your heart rate is sitting at 163-65 beats a minute the first week trying to do this and you feel like you are running at marathon race pace, yet you are just out for a jog.
Why is it so hard?
The body isn't accustomed to that stress load.
It takes a calculated mind and a very patient individual to realize that 3 weeks down the road the reality of doing the same effort will not be as cumbersome as it initially was.
The benefits of the training you do today will be realized 3 weeks from now.
All of a sudden those runs will become easier.
You'll look down at your watch and, oddly, your heart rate isn't as high as before yet you are running 20 seconds per mile faster.
How could that be?
The process you followed has now balanced into a process-goal balance.
I'll go into this a bit later.
You Have To Love It
People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing, and it’s totally true. The reason is because it’s so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. It’s really hard, and you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it, you don’t really love it, you’re gonna give up. And that’s what happens to most people actually. If you really look at the ones who ended up being successful in the eyes of society and the ones who didn’t, often times it’s the ones that are successful who loved what they did so they could persevere when it got really tough. And the ones who didn’t love it, quit, because they’re sane, right? Who would want to put up with this stuff if you don’t love it. So it’s a lot of hard work, and it’s a lot of worrying, constantly, and if you don’t love it, you’re gonna fail. So you gotta love it, you’ve gotta have passion.” – Steve Jobs
I have a lot of emotions when I hear someone ask me how long does it take to train for a marathon because hearing someone ask that question means that individual is seeking knowledge.
They want to do it right and if they weren't asking the question then I would take it as someone who feels they can do it perfectly.
I still dig into knowledge in every avenue I can as an athlete and businessmen.
I want to know how to never experience the wall again in the marathon distance.
I want to overcome my limits in everything I do and a big part in all of this is our thinking.
Have you ever been 14 miles into a marathon and just started to shut down physiologically?
Have you ever been on the perfect pace and then just came to a crashing halt by either walking midway into the race or worse, have to pull out of the race altogether.
It isn't until we are truly motivated to do something do we really start to hone in and narrow our focus down until we are in that ‘flow' state where everything is effortless, things are getting done, time is flying.
It isn't until our backs are to the wall, where we are sick of performing and living less than what we were born to do.
We allow others most of our lives to dictate how we think, where we go, how our time is spent.
People, we all have to start taking action.
Results come from those failures and frustrations and the people that react, make a move, get off the well traveled path, begin to make gains on their training and life.
Maintain Focus No Matter What
If failure in racing has happened to you, don't take it personally and most certainly don't beat yourself up about it.
The best runners in the world have dropped out of races and fell far short of their goal time.
I remember watching the 2004 Athens Olympic Marathon and seeing Paula Radcliffe pull off to the side of the road in tears.
It wasn't her day and you could obviously tell she was upset.
She wanted to medal, had trained well but her body simply wasn't reacting that day.
You really have to love what you are doing or, as Steve Jobs, mentioned above, or you will quit.
Does that make you any less of person who keeps on going and succeeds?
How long does it take to train for a marathon can be answered by also asking yourself these important questions.
- What are my goals in this sport?
- Why am I training in the first place?
- How long do I want to commit to see this goal become a reality?
- What are the athletes doing that I need to emulate to create similar results in my racing?
- How can I maintain enthusiasm in a sport that involves such focus and time spent in training?
Write Down Your Goals
It is much clearer, trust me, to see your training and goals written down on paper then just walking around thinking ‘I really want to finish a marathon' or ‘I am going to run this time on this day'
Write it down.
Put a note in your car or on your computer at work as a reminder of what you are aiming for.
Hire a professional to create a training plan that is going to yield results
People would do better, if they knew better – Jim Rohn
My greatest lessons in the sport to date have been from my failures.
It wasn't crossing the finish line in front of the Sacramento Capital in 2.19.35.
It was all those other failures along the way.
It was the 20-milers at 6500 feet I wanted to complete in 1.55 or better and went out, felt like total trash and ran 2.20 instead.
It was all the workouts I had to cut short because my body just wasn't reacting.
Have you been there?
Remember how it felt?
Use those failures to get you through each week, months and years ahead.
Your goal may not be time driven.
Finishing a marathon may be the goal you have in mind.
That is awesome too.
You have to see what is possible and not be intimidated by the work load you will have to undergo to see it through.
Patience and Persistence
These two words are the most dominant words I want you to remember when your out on the roads or track.
If you are a triathlete or participate in other endurance sports remind yourself of what these two words mean in the first place.
They are power words.
The moment you start to doubt yourself or think your time is past keep these words in mind.
The patient athlete, businessman, artist, teacher or any other professional knows that you absolutely must be patient and persistent to be successful.
There are no short cuts.
You either make the decision to ‘do' or remain in the majority of those who ‘want'.
Find what motivates you to do this and use it as fuel.
It could be something negative someone has told you in the past, a loved one or something you have on your bucket list.
Whatever it is, keep it in mind when you feel like you are running low on the motivation you usually have topped off in your tank.
I Want Results
The hesitant, the impatient want results fast.
They are focused on the goal, not the process.
The process is getting up at 5am because you have no other choice due to your work schedule and making it work regardless.
The process is getting up at 2am during a military field training exercise while your friends slept under the warm covers because you had a marathon you were training for and your superiors really didn't care either way, but you did.
The process is losing sleep writing articles on gaining leverage of your time with max international so you can help others do, see, and go wherever they please and doing your best not to offend those who have no interest in hearing it despite knowing that if they did listen, it would totally change their life.
Our success is all about our choices and overcoming the negative voices and environment we surround ourselves with.
Color in between the lines, follow the manual. Do as your told and don't question.
I have news for you folks.
We have limited time on this earth and we all need to investigate if we are working for what we all call ‘money' or are we really doing our due diligence to have it work for us and spend more of our time with loved ones, with friends, writing posts like this because we care.
The process is answering emails without expecting anything back in return.
The process is re-reading books that inspire you when others won't even finish it once.
The goal is fast results, thinking you can run 5 miles a week and be able to complete a marathon successfully.
The ‘get rich' ‘get results fast' driven individual who has no sense of process will not be that successful because they do not believe in delayed gratification.
They want it now and aren't interested in the countless hours of work, sleep lost needed to make it a reality in their life.
This isn't a part-time sport if you want long-term results.
If I didn't believe in what I was doing I wouldn't be writing this post after having had rundreamachieve for going on 3 years.
How Long Does It Take
In closing, answering how long does it take to train for a marathon depends on what your goals are.
I think anyone can run a marathon and finish it in a matter of 6 to 8 weeks of training.
That being said, if you have a far-reaching, long-term goal in mind your training to achieve that goal may take months, years or even decades.
I ran 2.19.35 nearly seven years ago, 2.26.42, about two years ago.
The difference is I didn't stop believing in my capability back in 2007 or 2011.
The Process Makes You More Determined
I had no control of my time when I laced up my boots and flew clear across the world to Afghanistan to fight some rich-man's war.
Please don't get me wrong.
I am honored to serve in uniform and assist the poor but I was a distance runner long before I ever became a Soldier and having to give up my entire 2012 racing year to risk my life in a foreign land in 2012 really humbled me.
It showed me that our life could be taken in a moment and we spend all our upbringing and spend thousands of dollars on learning how to trade our time for a paycheck without learning the business on how making money work for us can become a reality.
How we can gain leverage, control if you will, of our time, rather then knowing someone else has that power when we punch into our employer.
We're taught to be employees from the cradle to the grave trading our lives to drive the car we drive to work in, to live in the house we spend 90% of our time away from during the week at our jobs.
A Close Encounter
I hope you have read this far and have reviewed my recent writings on max international and my focus on what they are doing as a company, what can be done by becoming a part of it stems not from money-making.
I don't need the money but I do need leverage of my time and as long as we have jobs, someone else owns us and our time.
It is a trade life for money trade.
I write extensively because I genuinely care about people, their health, assisting them in answering questions like how long does it take to train for a marathon.
Time For A Reality Check
I started diving into alternatives to life, health and wealth particularly in early 2012 as our base in Afghanistan was attacked.
Fortunately, those who attacked us were bad shots but it shook our compound and I had just got out of the shower.
It made me think about my life, how short it is and what I was doing.
I thought about my wife, family and at the time, even my two cats.
Would anyone care if I got blown up or hurt overseas outside of them?
Would I come home in a casket draped with an American flag just to be forgotten?
I already know I can earn income having become an max international associate because I already am, the process is what got me to this point.
It wasn't wishing I could do what entrepreneurs do and get payed regardless what time it is as opposed to doing what I have done my entire life and getting payed as an employee every two weeks.
Business, like preparing for a marathon, demands focus, belief in the process and not expecting overnight success.
How long does it take to train for a marathon
It demands that you are genuine, care about people and hope the best for them despite knowing full well you cannot make them take action.
Everything we do in this sport, our time and the going after our goals takes immense action.
Wanting is reading a book and not finishing.
Wanting is thinking about that goal marathon time you want to run but going about it halfheartedly.
Doing is putting in the time and work to see it through.
Doing is hiring someone else who has done something you wish to do because you know it is an investment in your advancement.
Wanting is just talking about it.
Leaving our FOB (forward operating base) in Afghanistan in an up-armored truck on a daily basis knowing I had absolutely no control of where I was going, that I had to follow orders regardless if I felt safe or not, that someone else had my day planned, was my wake up call.
It made me wonder how so many could accept this with their life.
I was risking my life for someone else' s agenda.
Helping people and those less fortunate in another country was my honor, knowing that someone was getting filthy rich over a war bothered me though.
It made me focus, that helping people realize there are alternatives to living happier, healthier and wealthier was going to be my mission, that there had to be more to life than worrying if I was going to come back to my family in a way I never intended.
I had no control of my time, someone else did.
You have to be extremely patient and not let the goals you have ruin the joy of training for a marathon.
If you are patient and persistent long enough in this sport there isn't anything you can't achieve.
The proper timing to train for and finish a marathon is dependent on a precise, planned and focused execution.
Don't get caught up in the goal and lose sight of how true success is earned, the process.
No one sees that at the Boston Marathon or on ESPN.
The media and groupies salivate over great performances, cherish and cuddle athletes for what we did but the process, the failures, the blisters etc. are never mentioned.
You know the answer to how long does it take to train for a marathon now.
If you still have questions please feel free to contact me or if you have any questions about the helo watch or are curious I'd love to chat.