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10 weeks to a marathon? What you should be doing to prepare in Week 4

You, too, can do a marathon. You just need to prepare properly. Read on!
Photo by Jerod Harris

Just think, after three weeks, you have only seven weeks to go until your first marathon. Be proud of yourself, because most people don't ever get this far.

  • You're stretching daily
  • You're walking daily
  • You're running daily
  • You're doing core daily

You've earned a little bit of rest in Week 4, although don't get too excited. We're just changing the routine up a little bit now that we've built a base for your exercise abilities.

It also now means just seven weeks left until your 26.2 goal. We hope you stick with it, as we ramp things up a bit on our way to an October 19 marathon.


  • Remember your salad and water diet changes? You're eating more vegetables and drinking more water. You've probably lost some weight, too. That should make your running more manageable. Well, it's time to double it up. You're going to replace one snack a day with something healthier, like carrots or an apple, and you're going to replace a second caffeine drink—coffee or soda—with another bottle of water. This is the second diet change you're making; the third will come in Week 7 as you get closer to race day. Just a warning.
  • Our workouts this week are going to be different. You're going to alternate days now, but you're going to go a little bit longer—and a little bit harder—with your walk/run sessions. So go Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, for example. You're still going to stretch before each 90-minute workout, and you're still going to do core afterward, too. And you're still going to consume the recovery drink/food, too. Nothing changes, except the length and frequency of your workouts. So, four times this week, go 90 minutes, alternating walking and running. Try going 20 minutes walking, 20 running, 10 walking, 20 running and 20 walking. That will get you used to a longer workout without pushing it too much (yet).
  • With these longer workouts, you're going to need more recovery than just a chocolate milk or a protein bar. You're also going to need an ice bath. Now, before you cringe at the idea of pouring buckets of ice into a tub and then submersing your lower extremities into the chill, just remember it's the "idea" of ice—not ice itself, necessarily. Just fill a tub with cold water and sit in it for ten minutes. Take your phone and play Words With Friends to make the time pass quicker. But taking this cold bath will help your muscles recover more effectively from the longer workouts. This is a huge part of being ready to train against just 48 hours later.

You're noticing it is starting to take more time to train here, and you're right. But people don't just get up and do endurance events. They train, and that training takes time—and commitment.

Stick with it. You've come this far, and you don't want to quit now.

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 3 here.

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