Marathon Training | Full Marathon and Half Marathon

Marathon Training Singapore


First and foremost, beginners need to understand that the training for a distance event like the marathon is a process of stress and rest. Most sport medicine practitioners suggest that beginning marathoners should not walk or run every day and should avoid back-to-back training days. Allowing yourself one recovery day after each session increases the likelihood that you will be rested before you are ready for the next run. This will in turn decrease the risks of injury and overtraining. The No Pain, No Gain theory is by no means applicable here. On the contrary, if you experience pain, this is truly not a gain but a loss to your health! Of course, we are not saying that you will not experience some level of fatigue, stiffness and soreness.
A gradual approach to the training program is critical. The slow progress helps to minimize the aftereffects of running and also the risk of injury and burnout. The objective of the program is to gradually and safely improve your aerobic cardiovascular fitness as well as the efficiency of your heart and lungs. While a gradual approach to marathon training is encouraged, jumping ahead and cutting your training short is discouraged. If you cut the training programme short, you are prepared to fail. By compensating time by running too much or too intensely, you will experience muscle stiffness and soreness.

For beginning runners, it is best to avoid running uphill or downhill as it can be very jarring to the legs. It is best to run on flat ground. If you must go downhill, try to back off a little and run slower.


Warming Up and Cooling Down

Warming up exercises is not just for beginners. They are essential to all athletes before workout. The purpose is to help prepare your body for the run. Cold muscles work less efficiently and get injured easily, they lack the flow of blood that is necessary for the workout.

Warming up can be  just some gentle body movement to get the blood in you flowing, this includes moving or stretching your limbs like arms, hands or legs, or even a low-intensity and rhythmic activity such as jogging that is able to take your muscles through a series of gentle motion. This will help increase your muscle and body temperature gradually and hence minimizing the risks of injury.

In general, runners or walkers should pay attention to their hamstring calf, hip flexor and lower-back muscles. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds and repeat two to three times per muscle group.

The cooling down process is to ease your body down to idle speed. It is advisable to keep your muscles active for about 15 minutes after exercising.

The following are some simple stretching exercises you may try:

For Calf Muscles:
Stand facing a wall at an arm’s length, then place your right foot forward, and bend your right knee while keeping your left leg straight. Lean forward against the wall, pushing your left heel on to the floor while keeping your head, neck, spine, pelvis and left leg in a straight line. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and relax. Repeat the same with your left  leg forward this time round.
For Hamstring:
This stretch exercise will need you to do it at a doorway.
Lie flat on your back, through a doorway, positioning your hips slightly in front of the door frame, with the inside of your lower right thigh against one side of the door frame.
Keep your right leg straight and flat on the floor, raise your left leg until your heel rests against the door frame. Keep your left knee straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds and relax. Repeat the same raising your right leg this time round.

For iliotibial band:

Stand with your left side toward a wall, an arm’s length away, with feet together. Extend your left arm sideway at shoulder’s height and place your palm flat against the wall as your body lean towards it. Then push your left hip toward the wall as you feel the stretch at the outside of your left hip thigh. Hold it for 30 seconds and then relax. Repeat the same on the right side this time.

For Quadriceps:

If you have knee joint pains, do not attempt this.

Stand facing a wall at arm’s length, and place your right hand against the wall for balance and support. Bend your left knee and raise the foot behind and grab your foot using your left hand, while keeping your lower back straight. If you feel the strain, slightly lower your body by bending your right leg. If your body flexibility allows, try to keep your knees together while pulling your left heel towards your buttocks. Hold in this position for 30 seconds, and then relax. Repeat the same with your right leg raised this time round.

For Hip Flexor:

This movement is not advisable for those who are not able to kneel down.

Stand with your feet apart, slightly beyond the width of both ends of your shoulders. Flex your right knee by slowly lowering the body down to the ground, with your left knee touching the ground, and right foot flat on the ground. Put both palms cupped down on your right knee, and keep that knee bent at no more than a right angle. If your body allows you to stretch further, push your left hip forward so that you can increase the stretch on your left side. Repeat the same with your left foot forward this time.


After the stretching exercises (warming up), you may then proceed to “shuffle” before you subsequently pick up running speed. To shuffle simply means to move very slowly such that you are on your way to attaining a level that is comfortable enough to be eventually running. This is very much alike the mechanics of starting a car, we ignite the car engine (warming up) for a good 10 to 15 minutes before we finally get into it to release the clutch to achieve the “biting point” (shuffling) before we drive off (running).

Running is a high-energy and high-impact activity, and the impact of running is often absorbed by your muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints, that are sending signals to your body, demanding it to adjust to embrace all these impacts. Your objective or goal is to be safe and gradually build the strength and stamina to complete to complete the running distance. Through shuffling and building up the running pace, you can avoid injury or the aftereffects from overrunning. You will know that you are shuffling when you can maintain at a speed while carrying out a steady conversation.


The training that you are undergoing should ideally be consisting of a combination of walking and running. It is best designed in a way that the walking part alternates with the shuffling or jogging parts. As your training progresses, the jogging part should extend from say, 10 minutes, to 15 minutes, then 20 minutes, eventually up to 30 minutes. Be sure that you are comfortable with the extended length of jogging time; you should not worry too much about taking too long to cover a certain distance.


Difference between the Half Marathon and Full Marathon Programmes

The difference between the two lays in your weekend schedules. In a full marathon training program, a longer running time is allocated for your Saturdays and Sundays compared to the half marathon programme.

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