Basically men and women face the same challenges when running a marathon. There is really no reason why a woman cannot follow the same marathon training program that is there for males. The things to note though are that, it is harder for women to develop muscles, pace, and endurance at the same time that it takes men.
It is also harder for women to lose weight. Take a few minutes to read through this Marathon Training for Women guide for more information.
Therefore as a woman, you cannot push yourself as hard as a male would and you can’t expect results at the same time that it takes men to reach their targets. There are however some things that you can do that can make your workouts less strenuous and less painful.
Dieting and Training
I have already mentioned that it is harder for women to lose weight than men. The opposite is also true; it is easier for women to gain weight than men as well. So; in as much as you will follow a Marathon Training Diet you need to monitor the weight gain quite closely.
A lot of people do gain weight during training and this is normal. A gain of less than 2.2lbs in a month is no cause for concern, however, a gain of more than 2.2lbs is.
You should know or at least be aware of the number of calories that you are meant to take in daily. If you are not; there is a formula for how you can calculate this but rather than rack your brain you can do it online and within a few seconds.FreeDieting.com provides an easy to use calorie calculator that you can use to calculate what your daily intake should be.
Once you have calculated it then it’s up to you to monitor the food you are eating and not exceed your intake. If you notice that you are still gaining a lot of weight whilst following your calculated calorie intake then cut back by 500 calories/day.
What You Should Be Eating
It wouldn’t be a marathon training for women guide without mentioning diet. When running a lot of tissue and muscle gets damaged or injured. At the same time, the body also needs to build up more muscle and tissue for endurance.
To be able to do this the body needs lots of protein and so you should be eating lots of protein-rich foods. Most dairy products are a good source of protein like milk, cheese, and yogurt. Lean meats are also a good source of protein like fish, pork chicken, and lean beef.
Also read: Best Marathon Training Diet
What you should really be eating a large amount off though are carbohydrates. These are the body’s principal energy source and are therefore quite important. So important that carbs should constitute between 60-70 % of your daily intake and then protein and fiber should make up the rest.
In addition to these foods, you also need to stay well hydrated by drinking lots of fluids, preferably pure water.
Choosing a Marathon Training Program
Now that you know what you should be eating the next step is choosing a suitable marathon training program. They are basically structured the same, so there is no way of saying that any particular one is better than all the rest. When starting training you should be someone that is already actively involved in running. You should be able to run 5miles continuous with no problems.
In fact, before you try out for the marathon you should have tried the lower level races like the 5k and 10k. This will make your training easier to handle and manage. If you are a rookie, you can try going straight for the big race, but understand that your training must take longer.
There are also terms that are common to marathon training programs that you must understand. Usually, these terms are also explained in the training program that you will choose.
Depending on your current fitness level you can choose between a 12 week, 16 weeks, and 18-week training program. The better your current fitness level, the shorter your training time “can” be. You should however always give yourself enough time to adequately prepare for a marathon so as to avoid injury and/or “hitting the wall” on race day.
One reason it’s important to follow a particular guide is that without a guide, set goals, and objectives it will be difficult to make any progress or to keep track if such progress is made.
Treadmill versus Outdoors
If you do not have time to train or run outdoors, a treadmill is a good substitute; if you are sure you will not get bored running such long distances in one place. There are various ways one can entertain themselves whilst training on a treadmill. You can make use of any one of them to make it not so boring. You can listen to music, watch a DVD or read a book.
I would however recommend running outdoors at least once a week so that the body can also get used to varying weather conditions. There are just some things that a treadmill will not simulate and an outdoor workout is one of them.
This marathon training for women guide is one of many helpful articles available on this site to prepare your body for running.
Read also: Weight Lifting and Marathon Training