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.

RELATED: Training Plans by Canadian Running presented by Final Surge

Many coaches and athletes agree that 16 weeks is a good amount of time to properly 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 day, week or even month of hard training and the distance also demands careful consideration of fueling, before, during and after.

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The Canadian fall race calendar offers a number of excellent options for those looking to run their first or fastest marathon or half.

Sunday, September 16th:

Key events: BMW Berlin Marathon and Maritime Race Weekend (Saturday, September 15th)

Start training: May 28th (Marathon); July 9th (Half)

Sunday, September 23rd:

Key events: Marathon Oasis Rock ‘n’ Roll de Montreal

Start training: June 4th (Marathon); July 16th (Half)

Sunday, October 7th:

Key events: Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, BMO Okanagan Marathon, Kelowna, B.C. and Chicago Marathon

Start training: June 18th (Marathon); July 30th (Half)

Sunday, October 14th:

Key events: Niagara Falls International Marathon and Prince Edward Island Marathon

Start training: June 25th (Marathon); August 6th (Half)

Sunday, October 21st:

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 2nd (Marathon); August 13th (Half)

Sunday, November 4th:

Key events: Hamilton Marathon and New York City Marathon

Start training: July 18th (Marathon); August 27th (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.

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