How Many Miles Are in a Marathon

Are you wondering how many miles are in a marathon? If so, welcome to RunDreamAchieve. I am happy that you have made it here. I have also run 2:19:35 for this distance. So, do understand the complexities and the time that it takes to get this race right. My hope is that the resources you will find here will be of assistance to you.

There are 26.2 miles or 42.2 kilometers in the marathon distance. The marathon is a highly aerobic event. That being said, you still need to develop your leg speed. I always recommend to my athletes to do strides. Strides are too short to build up any lactic acid. So, you can do these short speed drills on top of your other workouts.

You will have spent several miles and/or kilometers at near all-out sprint efforts over a 4 to 6 month block of training. So, strides can really pay huge dividends over the long term. In addition, you can do these on top of your other weekly workouts without placing any undue additional stress on your body. 

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How Long Does it Take to Run 26 Miles?

How quickly you cover this distance is going to come down to how you prepare. A major problem for most runners is pace sustainment. So, they can run a portion of their race at goal race pace but are forced to slow down in the latter stages of the race. Of course, this stems from a lot of reasons. One reason is not enough time spend training and really practicing their goal race pace.

Also, improper pacing in the race. So, going out far too aggressive in the first half of the race and being forced to slow down in the second half. It is actually the hydrogen ion component of lactic acid that temporarily shuts down muscle function. The technical term for it is ATP or Adenosine Triphosphate. Our goal with preparing for marathon races is to teach the body to clear lactic acid more efficiently.

In fact, the overall goal is to get it to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. Of course, when running easy we can run much longer and with less effort. What is the reason for this? Well, lactic acid build up is so low that our body’s can easily clear it. The faster we run the more anaerobic the activity and more oxygen is required.

How Many Miles is a Full Marathon?

How many miles are in a marathon? Again, 26.2 miles, 42.2 kilometers or 42,200 meters in length. Remember, 1 mile is 1.6 kilometers. A 10k is 6.2 miles or 10,000 meters. So, a marathon is basically 20 miles with a 10k tacked on at the end of that 20 miler. There are two specific parts to the marathon. The first 20 miles and the last 10 kilometers.

One of the biggest mistakes I made as a marathoner earlier in my career was improper pacing. Also, not drinking enough in the race. In addition, not consuming enough gels in the race. Remember, one gel could mean 100 to 200 immediate calories directly to your bloodstream. You will need that glycogen in a race of this length. So, do not neglect this.

I recommend dropping water bottles out every 3 miles or 5k along your long run route. So, practice drinking, not sipping, in training. Yes, you can get away with not drinking in a 5 or 10k, not so for the marathon. Remember, the world’s top runners look at all the angles. I didn’t run 2:19 for the marathon by just seeking average results. I was studying what the world’s top runners do and how they behave.

How Many Kilometers is a Marathon

How many miles are in a marathon? 26.2 miles. How many kilometers is a marathon? 42.2 kilometers. I always recommend a longer build up when training for the marathon. Can you get legitimate results in a 8 to 12 week block of training? Yes. That being said, if you want to get this right I would recommend a 20 to 24 week training block.

The reason is it takes at least 3 to 4 weeks for the body to adapt to any stress load being placed on it. So, you never want to rush your fitness. The marathon takes time, patience and persistence to get right. I didn’t break the 2:20 marathon barrier over night. In fact, it took me from 2002 to 2007 to achieve a time of 2:19:35. I started running marathons in 2002 but started running in 1992. So, I had 10 years of training in my legs before I started competing in marathons.

So, legitimate results in this event or any other event you have your sights on is a long-term game. It will not occur over night.

How Long Should it Take to Run a Marathon?

It really depends on your maturity level and how well you have prepared. Of course, you can run 90% of your monthly volume easy. That being said, how well prepared will you be able to race? We know you will have built an enormous amount of endurance. So, to run a marathon right and sustain pace longer you have to think and train differently.

The world’s top runners run between 35 to 40% of their weekly volume at or below their anaerobic threshold. How many miles are in a marathon? 26.2 miles. So, to sustain race pace longer and slow down less the quality of your training has to increase. That being said, your recovery also has to be equally set up right as well.

Remember, the real benefits of the hard training we do come from within the rest period. So, jog on recovery days. The tempo runs and faster, varied paced long runs you will do will challenge you. Yes, there is a point of diminished returns.

How Painful is Running a Marathon?

It can be very painful if you try to win the race in the first half marathon. I didn’t experience the so-called “wall” when I ran 2:19. That being said, I used a 10-day rather than a 3-week taper. I was also highly prepared for that race. I was also drinking in the race and taking in gels. So, the marathon does not have to be as painful as many runners say that it is.

Again, it comes down to proper training. In addition, training that is exceedingly faster than your goal race pace. Yes, you have to train at paces that are closer to your mile to 5k race pace. Our goal is to get that goal marathon race pace to feel easier. Also, more sustainable.

I am a firm believer in doing faster, varied paced long runs. Below is an example of this type of long run I did prior to running 2:19:35 for the marathon.

  • 2 mile jog, 4 miles@5:35 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 4:55, 5 miles@6:00 mile pace, 2 miles easy, 1 mile in 5:00, 1 miles easy, 3 miles@5:15 mile pace, 1 mile jog cool-down (22 miles)

I would always run the following week’s long run at 8:30 to 9 minute mile pace. Again, adaptation and recovery is key. The major benefits come from backing off and allowing time to recover and heal. So, jog on those easy days. I trained with runners who could run sub 5-minute mile pace for 26.2 miles who would run 8:30 to 9 minute mile pace on easy days. So, if they can slow down then so can you and I.

Closing Thoughts

So, how many miles are in a marathon? It is a 26.2 mile or 42.2 kilometer event. One that requires strength, stamina and endurance. How often are you paying attention to mental training? I ask that because the vast majority of runners only focus on physical preparation. The problem is they bypass this critical component of running success.

The world’s top runners focus on both mental as well as physical training. So, start spending 10 minutes daily visualizing yourself crossing the finish line in your goal marathon race time. You have to train the mind like you train the body on a daily basis. Again, you must do more than the average athlete if you want to stand out. Hope this makes sense.

Lastly, make sure you work your tempo runs up to or around 10 to 14 miles in length. Yes, this will take time and effort in order to do. So, first adapt to a 3 to 4 mile tempo run before extending the duration of your lactate threshold runs. Again, we want to teach the body to clear lactic acid faster than it is building up. The best runners can sustain pace and make it look easy for a reason.

The real reason is they spend a higher percentage of their weekly training volume at higher heart rates. So, a higher percentage of their training is being spent at much higher intensities than the average athlete. It is not just because they have genetic talent. I have know many talented runners who never ran 2:19 for the marathon. So, if you lack genetic talent then expect to make up for that with your work ethic like I did. Hope this helps.

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