When should I start training for a marathon?

If you’re beginning runner you will need as long as 18-24 weeks (5-6 months) if you’re already reasonably active and fit and run on a regular basis it can be accomplished with as little as 12-18 weeks of training (3-5 months).  A marathon is a strenuous test of endurance and should be trained for accordingly. The more time you take to train and prepare for a marathon the more slowly you can progress and the less likely you are to develop injuries from over training. As a general rule of thumb, the further away from the marathon you start training the better?
Quite simply - as soon as you can!  Marathon training is more than just the 3 months leading up to your goal race.  Before you even consider your marathon training program, you've got to build an adequate mileage base.  This means being comfortable running at least 3 miles at a time, with a weekly total of about 20-25 miles.  Once you've maintained this mileage for a while with no negative impact,  you can move on to a marathon specific training program.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.