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10 weeks to a marathon? What you should be doing to prepare in Week 2

All athletes stretch, and now that you're an athlete, too, you better be stretching to prevent injury and pain.
All athletes stretch, and now that you're an athlete, too, you better be stretching to prevent injury and pain.
Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Okay, so you survived Week 1 on your ten-week road to finishing a marathon.

You walked every day last week, you drank more water last week than usual, and you ate a little healthier last week than usual. Hopefully, you feel better than usual, too, because Week 2 is no picnic in comparison.

They say starting is the hardest part, but we think keep it up actually is tougher. Anyone can go to the gym once or workout once, but doing it repeatedly until it becomes habit is much more challenging.

So ... we hope you're still with us on the road to Grand Rapids, MI, for the October 19 marathon!

WEEK 2

  • Stretching a key aspect of any repetitive exercise. As we ramp it up in Week 2 and beyond, we have to incorporate stretching into our daily routine. Walking in Week 1 hopefully woke your muscles and joints up a little bit, but before we move on to running, we have to stretch: lower body and upper body. It's too hard to explain in text here, so check out the Mayo Clinic for basic stretching exercises you can incorporate daily into your routine. Not all of these will be necessary for everyone, but find a handful that you can feel working for you every time you try them. Many marathon runners like the calf, hamstring, quadriceps, hip flexor and ITB stretches, so do those at a minimum every time you prepare to walk/run now. You can also do stretches after your workouts as well.
  • Hopefully, the 30 minutes of walking every day was tolerable, because in Week 2, we're stepping it up a bit. We're going to move up to 45 minutes a day now, with the one caveat of running for part of this 45-minute workout. Try walking the first 15 minutes after stretching to warm up your body; then, run—it doesn't have to be fast, and in fact, we recommend a light jog right now, to the point you can still talk coherently while running—for the middle 15 minutes. Finally, warm down with 15 more minutes of walking. So we're upping our time and our intensity here in Week Two. Don't worry about "how far" you're going. In endurance training, it's the time that matters more at the beginning.
  • Maintain your water and diet changes from Week One. Don't slip up, even if you feel "hungrier" after each of these 45-minute, daily sojourns. Take water with you on the runs, of course, if you want. One 8-12 oz. bottle should be fine for the walk and light jogging we're doing in Week Two. If you find yourself needing more, you can always run in a circuit/loop on a track or around the block, leaving your water/hydration in a fixed place to grab each time around. Just remember, don't over hydrate. Five sips or so every 15 minutes is a good limit. You actually can hydrate too much while working out, and we don't want that.

If you can manage to incorporate these three things in Week 2, you'll be on your way to doing a marathon in mid-October, with or without this writer.

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.

Read Week 1 here.