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Answering the Top Googled Marathon Questions

Answering the Top Googled Marathon Questions

What is a Marathon?

A Marathon is an endurance race run over 26.2 Miles. Popular all over the world, famous races include the TCS London Marathon and Boston Marathon.

How long should you train for a marathon?

Everybody is different, however no matter your skill level Marathon training takes months of hard work and dedication.

If you’re training for your first ever marathon it’s likely that you will be following a training plan put together by somebody more experienced. Most training plans last between 16-20 weeks, this is the minimum amount of time you should spend training.

How long does it take to run a marathon?

This will vary from person to person, depending on experience and ability. The global average time for a Marathon currently stands at 4 hours and 21 minutes. Of course, some people will run it faster, and some will be slower.

The current world record time for a Marathon is 2 hours and 35 seconds. This record was set by Kelvin Kiptum at the Chicago Marathon in 2023.

What is an Ultra-Marathon?

An Ultra-Marathon, as the name suggests, is a little bit more than your average Marathon. Any race over the distance of 26.2 Miles is considered an Ultra.

Common Ultra distances are:

  • 50K- Only 5 miles more than a regular Marathon, the 50K race is the shortest common Ultra length.
  • 50 Miles
  • 100 Miles
  • 24 Hour- Some races are timed rather than being a fixed distance. These are usually run in a small loop course making refuelling easy as your gear will never be far away and doesn’t need to be carried.

Why is a Marathon 26.2 miles?

The name Marathon comes from the Greek Legend of Phillippides, a Greek messenger who ran 26 Miles from Marathon to Athens. When the modern Olympics began in 1896 the Marathon Race was created as an event.

Distances varied after 1896 however, in the 1908 London Olympics the 26 mile course was laid out before it was decided that the finish line should be in front of the Royal Family’s viewing box. Therefore, an extra 385 yards was added- making the race 26.2 miles.

Why do people run marathons?

The answer to this question is different for every runner, although some common reasons people enter a Marathon are:

  • Fundraising- Many people raise money for charity when running a Marathon.
  • Personal challenge- Some people just enjoy the challenge and the sense of achievement once complete.
  • ‘Runners high’- Many people report feeling a buzz during exercise, this is because exercise releases endorphins. For some people this is what keeps them running.
  • Socialising- Running can be a very social activity, you might join a running club where you meet new people, or enlist a friend as your running partner. Either way, running doesn’t have to be a solo activity.
  • Fitness- It’s no secret that running is good for your physical health, some people may set running a Marathon as a fitness goal.

How do you know if you’re ready to run a marathon?

If you’re thinking about signing up for your first Marathon, then there are a few things you may want to make sure of. Asking yourself whether you meet these criteria may help determine whether you are ready or not.

  • You have enough time to train- Most training plans are 16-20 weeks, this is the absolute minimum you should train for before completing a Marathon. Don’t sign up unless you know you have enough time in your schedule.
  • You’ve been running for at least 6 months- A year is ideal however if you’re new to running but just can’t wait to tackle a Marathon then spend at least 6 months training (24 weeks).
  • You want to do it- There’s no point signing up for a Marathon if you don’t really want to do it. You shouldn’t sign up if you’re only doing it because you feel like you have to.
  • You can already run 8-10 miles- Anyone starting a Marathon training program should already be able to comfortably run 8-10 miles without stopping.

Do I need a special diet to run a Marathon?

Whilst training for a Marathon it is important to follow a healthy balanced diet. Having a Nutrition Plan that you implement during training is key. For longer races like Marathons, it’s also important to use in-race fuelling such as energy gels & energy chews.

For an in depth look into Marathon Nutrition see: Marathon Nutrition Planning: Fuel your way to the finish line.

What equipment/gear do I need to run a marathon?

Running in general requires very little equipment, for many people this is one of the things that draw them to running in the first place. Your marathon kit list will probably look something like this:

  • Running shoes
  • Running vest- this is up to personal preference. If you know where the aid stations will be during the race and are happy to rely on these alone then you may not need to carry anything with you. However, if it’s your first Marathon you may prefer to carry your supplies for peace of mind.
  • Soft flasks/water vessel- If you opt for a vest then you will be able to carry these in the pockets for water and energy drinks.
  • Nutrition-Gels, bars & chews- Again this is down to personal preference, but if you opt to wear a running vest then you will be able to carry your race-fuel with you.

Which Marathon should I run?

Now that you’ve decided you want to run a Marathon, the only thing left to do is chose which one. The race you choose will be dependent on various factors such as cost, distance from your home, time of year and weather conditions.

See the XMiles 2024 Race Guide for inspiration. 

Sites like Find A Race are also very useful for locating races of all disciplines. 

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