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  • Writer's pictureAngela Botha

Training for your first marathon: A physiotherapist's guide

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

Training for your first marathon can be both exciting and daunting. The thought of running 26.2 miles may seem impossible, but with the right training and preparation, you can achieve this goal.


As physiotherapists, we know that the key to a successful marathon is not just about the miles you run, but also about the strength and conditioning work you do to support your training. Here are our top tips for training for your first marathon, with a 3-month guide to help you get started.


  • Start slow and build gradually

It's important to remember that your body needs time to adjust to the demands of marathon training. The key is to start slow and gradually increase your mileage over time. This will help to reduce the risk of injury and allow your body to adapt to the new workload.




  • Focus on strength and conditioning

In addition to running, it's essential to focus on strength and conditioning work to help support your training. This includes exercises such as squats, lunges, and core work, which will help to build the strength and stability you need to run a marathon.



  • Incorporate cross-training



Cross-training is an important aspect of marathon training. It's important to include activities such as cycling, swimming, or yoga to help improve your cardiovascular fitness and reduce the risk of injury.


  • Listen to your body

It's essential to listen to your body during marathon training. If you experience pain or discomfort, it's important to rest and seek the advice of a physiotherapist. Ignoring pain or discomfort can lead to injury and set your training back.



  • Follow a structured training plan

Having a structured training plan is crucial for marathon training. This will help you to stay on track and ensure that you are building up your mileage gradually. A good plan will include a mix of running, strength and conditioning, and cross-training.




Here's a 3-month guide to help you get started with your marathon training:

Month 1:

  • Start with a base of 20 miles per week

  • Include 2 strength and conditioning sessions per week

  • Incorporate 1 cross-training session per week

Month 2:

  • Increase mileage to 30 miles per week

  • Include 3 strength and conditioning sessions per week

  • Incorporate 2 cross-training sessions per week

Month 3:

  • Increase mileage to 40 miles per week

  • Include 4 strength and conditioning sessions per week

  • Incorporate 3 cross-training sessions per week

Remember, marathon training is a journey and it's important to stay focused and motivated. With the right training and preparation, you will be able to achieve your goal of running a marathon.


If you experience any pain or discomfort during training, don't hesitate to seek the advice of a physiotherapist. We are here to help you achieve your goals and support you on your marathon journey.


Angela Botha

Clinical Director


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