Anyone can do a marathon; it's true. You don't have to run the whole thing, and you don't need to win it. You just need to finish it, and that means training, commitment and a little perseverance.
There's a marathon in Grand Rapids, MI, on October 19, and perhaps you want to join this writer there for his first, stand-alone official marathon ever (those 26.2 miles at the end of Ironman triathlons don't really count, after all).
Here's a decent plan to adhere to, week-by-week, if you're interested.
- Start moving every day, now. Even if it's just a 30-minute walk every day at a slow pace this week, you have to get off the couch and get moving. Your joints and muscles need to get used to the action of moving regularly. They may not like it at first, and that's okay. And it's totally normal. You just need to start moving. So for 10 weeks out from your race, just start moving.
- Start hydrating properly. If you're serious about doing a marathon in ten weeks, it's time to limit the caffeine (i.e., coffee and soft drinks). Going off it cold turkey won't be any fun, and we're not suggesting that right now. But start limiting your caffeine intact, because it dehydrates you. And to do any endurance event, you need to be hydrating at a high level long before race day. This week, replace one cup of coffee or soda each day with a bottle of water instead.
- Start eating better. Changing the diet is always a hard thing to do, we know. Everyone likes to eat, even the super models who don't. But there's a reward at the end of the tunnel—in this case, just a ten-week tunnel for you—for those with some self control. So replace one meal a day this week with a healthy salad for starters (no creamy dressings allowed). If you get hungry late at night, nibble on some spinach or fruit instead as well. And you will get hungry the more you exercise, so you have to start fueling correctly.
So if you can manage these three things in Week 1, you'll be on your way to doing a marathon this fall.
Check in every week here for some new tips on how to get prepped for a marathon in just ten weeks. By the end of this series, you'll be able to add one of those "26.2" stickers to the back window of your car, too.