Preparing for a half or full marathon takes time and careful consideration. And while summer has just barely arrived, getting ready to run well means looking forward to the fall race season.
Most agree that 16 weeks is a good amount of time to prepare for a marathon while 10 weeks is usually sufficient for a half*. In all cases, building upon the aerobic base you’ve hopefully maintained throughout the spring will be followed with a number of specific training phases–speed, strength and endurance–that each last several weeks. Finally, the two-to-three weeks before race day are reserved for the taper, a time that focuses on rest and recovery.
In all cases, success in the marathon requires gradually increasing your training mileage and including key workouts like long runs and speedwork. Being consistent is more important than any one week or even month of hard training and the distance also demands careful consideration to fueling.
The fall race season offers a number of excellent options for those looking to run their first or fastest half or marathon.
Sunday September 24th:
Key events: Marathon Oasis Rock ‘n’ Roll de Montreal and Berlin Marathon
Start training: June 5th (Marathon); July 17th (Half)
Sunday October 8th:
Key events: Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, BMO Okanagan Marathon, Kelowna, B.C. and Chicago Marathon
Start training: June 19th (Marathon); July 31st (Half)
Sunday October 15th:
Key events: Niagara Falls International Marathon and Prince Edward Island Marathon
Start training: June 26th (Marathon); August 7th (Half)
Sunday October 22nd:
Key events: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Legs for Literacy Marathon, Moncton, N.B. and Marathon de P’tit Train du Nord, Val-David, Que.
Start training: July 3rd (Marathon); August 14th (Half)
Sunday November 5th:
Key events: Hamilton Marathon and New York City Marathon
Start training: July 17th (Marathon); August 28th (Half)
*Those who are seasoned runners and have experience running these types of distances may find that 12- and 8-weeks may be sufficient for marathon and half marathon training, respectively. Giving yourself more time to gradually build your mileage and train progressively towards your goal is, however, our recommendation and more likely to lead to a positive experience.