5k and Marathon Training Tips
For rookie runners and marathon masters alike, your journey to the finish line begins well before race day. During the weeks and months leading up to your race, you’ll need to invest significant time and energy into training—whether your goal is to finish with a personal best time or just to finish at all.
That said, training for a marathon or 5k isn’t always as straightforward as the race itself. But with a few 5k and marathon training tips, you can make the most of your training schedule and run a better, safer race.
So without further ado, here are four training tips to ready you for race day.
#1 Have a Training Plan
Most runners train for about two months for a 5k race,1 while some marathoners spend up to 24 weeks getting ready.2 In both cases, the ones who end up achieving their desired results are those who maximize the training period with the help of a strategically crafted 5k or marathon training plan.
Training plans are beneficial for endurance runners of all experience levels because they lend focus and organization to the conditioning process. Some runners choose to craft their own training schedule, but if you’re not an experienced runner, you may find that a premade plan simplifies the process, especially if you aren’t sure how to begin training for a 5k or marathon.
Whichever way you go, make sure that your 5k or marathon training plan includes the following elements:
- Training sessions that gradually increase in difficulty
- Built-in days for rest and recovery
- Varied exercises and workout routines
If you do decide to make your own training plan, read our guide on how to create a workout routine personalized to you.
#2 Don’t Overtrain
While it’s important to make the most of training, you should take care not to overdo it. There’s a fine line between pushing yourself to achieve your goals and pushing yourself to a place where you’re burnt out before you assume the starting position.
For that reason, one of the top tips for running a 5k is to start where you are. If you’re still new to running, you’ll want to begin with short, less strenuous, micro workouts and work your way up to more vigorous, longer workouts.1
If you’re training to be a marathon runner, be sure to keep your practice runs to a manageable length. In general, your runs should last between two and a half hours to three and a quarter hours.33 Although it might seem like filling training with longer runs will put you in a better spot to run the 26.2 miles of a marathon, doing four or five shorter runs per week may be more effective.
#3 Consider Cross Training
Chief among marathon training tips is to boost your strength by incorporating exercises besides running into your routine. If you are looking for a strength workout for runners, cross-training is very helpful.
While spending some of your training time on non-running activities might sound counterintuitive, cross-training can have substantial benefits for runners of all stripes. Focusing on running can help you master your form and prepare you for a long race, but adding other types of exercises, such as strength training, promotes full-body well-being that can help you train better and avoid a running injury that can torpedo your goals.
Plus, cross-training is an opportunity to mix things up and keep your training lively and enjoyable. There are many exercises that pair well with marathon and 5k training, including:4
- Jumping rope
Cross-training is even easier when you have a well-equipped gym at your disposal. For example, at Chuze Fitness, you’ll find a wide variety of exercise machines, swimming pools, team training and more to augment your training and improve your performance at the big event. Just search for “Chuze gyms near me” to find a nearby location.
#4 Eat Well
Eating a healthy, energy-rich diet is key among tips for running a 5k and marathon running tips alike. This is especially true during training when daily workouts place high demands on energy levels that your job and other responsibilities may already tax.
To that end, your training diet should go heavy on energy boosters like proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.5 It should also feature a healthy amount of essential vitamins and minerals. That means eating things like:
- Fresh fruits
- Whole grains
- Lean meats
- Low-fat dairy
In addition to knowing what to eat before a workout and after, you should also pay close attention to your eating schedule and your caloric intake. Eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner is imperative during training. And because endurance runners burn caloric energy more quickly than the average person, you’ll want to incorporate healthy snacks between meals to replenish lost calories.
Train Better At Chuze Fitness
Whether you’re training for a marathon, a 5k run, or any other physical fitness goal, it helps to have a supportive community cheering you on from the sidelines. That community is waiting for you at Chuze Fitness.
At Chuze, people from all rungs of the fitness ladder come together to exercise, have fun, and encourage one another to push past their limits. We offer several clean and well-equipped locations, a friendly and talented staff to answer all of your exercise questions, and incredible tools to keep you motivated, like group fitness classes and our exclusive iChuze app.
If you’re looking for a new gym, the choice is clear: Chuze Fitness.
Ani is the Vice President of Fitness at Chuze Fitness and oversees the group fitness and team training departments. She’s had a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and instructor training. Ani lives with her husband and son in San Diego, CA and loves hot yoga, snowboarding and all things wellness.
- Mayo Clinic. 5K Run: 7-Week Training Schedule for Beginners. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/5k-run/art-20050962
- Asics. How Long Does It Take to Train For a Marathon? https://www.asics.com/gb/en-gb/running-advice/how-long-does-it-take-to-train-for-a-marathon/#
- Runner’s World. 25 Rules of Successful Marathon Training. https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/marathon/a36969929/successful-marathon-training-rules/
- Women’s Running. The Do’s and Don’ts Of Cross-Training for Runners. https://www.womensrunning.com/training/cross-training/dos-and-donts-of-cross-training-for-runners/
- Marathon Handbook. Marathon Training Diet: What to Eat While Training For a Marathon. https://marathonhandbook.com/marathon-training-diet/