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Tips for Long Runs, Injury Prevention, and Staying Motivated


Updated June 30, 2014

Runner outside in fall weather
Photo by Chase Jarvis/Getty Images

Marathon Training Challenges

Training for a marathon requires not only physical and mental strength, but incredible dedication, especially when dealing with the following challenges:

Long Runs: Your most important training run each week is your long run, which you'll most likely run on either Saturdays or Sundays. You'll gradually increase the distance of your long run each week, usually by no more than one or two miles per week, to make sure you're physically and mentally ready for the distance and avoid the risk of injuries. For most runners, their longest run will be 20 miles. Running longer can be a tough mental and physical challenge, but here are some tips on running farther to help you increase your distance.

The main purposes of your long run are to build your endurance, practice spending lots of time on your feet, teach your body to burn fat as fuel and to build physical and mental strength in preparation for the marathon. Follow these long run tips to help make them easier and more comfortable and to get the most out of your long runs.

Injuries & Illnesses: Most running injuries can be prevented by wearing the proper shoes, stretching post-run, and not doing too much too soon. However, despite your best injury prevention efforts, you may have to deal with some of the common running injuries. The good news is that many running injuries respond well to self-treatment.

Staying Motivated: Marathon training is a long process, and sometimes your motivation to get out there and run may be lacking. Follow these running motivation tips and read some of these motivational quotes about running marathons to help keep you going.

Mental Preparation: One thing you'll probably hear from veteran marathon runners is that so much of the race is mental. Yes, the mental aspects of running 26.2 miles can be just as difficult as the physical challenge. Use these mental preparation tips to help get you through the 26.2 miles. If you're dealing with some pre-race anxiety, try some of these strategies for dealing with pre-race jitters.

Next page: Marathon Tapering, Race Strategies, and Recovery -->
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