Personal Trainer for Marathon Training | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Personal Trainer for Marathon Training

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • A personal trainer can help get a marathon runner’s body into great shape.
  • Personal trainers may craft specific workouts designed to support a marathon runner’s unique goals.
  • Working with a trainer who possesses experience with marathons could be a big plus.

Running a marathon involves more than just crossing the finish line. People take part in marathons for many reasons. They may want to achieve a personal sense of accomplishment, or they enter the race to support a charitable cause. The physical fitness part is important, which is why turning to a personal trainer helps when preparing for a big race.

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Marathons and Being in Shape

“Can I run a marathon?”

Asking a doctor that question might be wise. Everyone should get medical clearance before participating in a marathon. If your doctor finds no medical reason for you not to participate, the answer is probably a yes.

Of course, it never hurts to take the extra steps to get into the best possible shape prior to a marathon. Maybe working out with a personal trainer could help best prepare you for the event.

A lot of training is necessary before running a marathon — training intended to get you into peak physical condition. Marathons take a toll on the body. Improving physical fitness should work in favor of a marathon runner. Since expert personal trainers can be booked for exceptional marathon training sessions, a means of getting into great shape exists.

All Participants Must Train Seriously

Marathons attract a lot of participants. A few of those runners train supremely hard to win the event. Not everyone, however, is all that interested in actually winning. They just want to have fun by taking part in the event. While your intentions might not be to win, not training appropriately for the event could be disastrous. Personal trainers make sure you prepare properly.

Increased cardiovascular conditioning helps make running a marathon more fun, and effective pre-marathon training makes the body stronger. A stronger body will recover from the marathon a bit easier than a weaker one. Strong muscles might prove more resilient, which could cut down on the chances of an injury.

Seek a Personal Trainer Who Knows Marathons

Since the goal here is to perform well in a marathon, a strength and endurance training program should be designed by someone with knowledge about marathons. After all, you won’t be training for general fitness. Instead, the goal will be sport-specific. It’s advisable to seek out a trainer who previously coached marathon runners.

A coach who personally takes part in marathon runs would be another plus. As the saying goes, nothing beats experience. A trainer who ran a marathon knows which muscles are stressed the most and what physical hurdles a runner faces. Such insights assist the trainer in crafting an appropriate workout program for you.

Locating the Right Personal Trainer

Finding a trainer with knowledge about marathon training might not require as much effort as you think. Simply asking for recommendations on marathon-oriented social media groups could lead you to someone. Calling or sending emails to nearby gyms and even to marathon event promoters wouldn’t hurt. Just be sure to start your search for a trainer far enough in advance to leave adequate time for training.

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Exercises Beneficial to Marathon Runners

Different personal trainers will craft their own specific workout approaches to get a runner ready for a marathon. Certain general exercises would be impossible to exclude from a runner’s training program. Who could possibly plan a running program without an approach to strengthening the muscles in the thighs? Here are a few areas a personal trainer may choose to focus on:

Building up the leg muscles

Runners obviously use their legs a lot. Legs need to be strong. Nothing builds up the leg muscles more than barbell squats. Free weight barbell squats can be monitored by a trainer spotting the weight and checking for form. Working out on your own may lead to using a Smith Machine or leg press machines, which are inefficient since they do no work the stabilizer muscles necessary for running smoothly and with balance.

Other exercises that could be helpful include:

  • Dumbbell lunges
  • Calf raises
  • Inner and outer hip abductor machine reps

Plyometric exercises for running

Plyometric exercises are, essentially, jumping exercises designed to promote strength in motion, which is a trait athletes require when they must change direction at a moment’s notice. Granted, marathons operate at a slower-pace than sprinting. Still, plyometric exercises could prove helpful in building up the muscles for necessary movement during the race. Simply performing box jumps could support improved leg strength immensely.

The controversial deadlift

The controversy surrounding the deadlift is that the improper performance of the deadlift can lead to a lower back or abdominal injury — a major reason why the proper way to perform a deadlift should be learned from a qualified personal trainer. Performance of the exercise should be done under his or her watchful eye.

Why is the deadlift considered a solid exercise for marathon runners? In addition to greatly building up endurance, deadlifts strengthen the core, legs, lower back, and more. As an overall strength and endurance booster, the deadlift delivers a lot.

Rounding out the main exercises

Supplementary strength training exercises must be performed to craft a harmonious balance between heavy weightlifting and cardio workouts. A variety of abdominal exercises, complementary upper body workouts, and muscular endurance boosters could be woven into the workout program.

Coming up with the right cardio plan

Marathons are the polar opposite of sprint races. Sprints require short bursts of full-blast running to cover a short amount of distance in the shortest period of time. Marathons focus on running at a moderate pace and maintaining that pace for a significant distance over an extended period of time.

Preparing for a marathon does require doing a lot of similar running, but supplementary cardio work would help. A personal trainer could make that additional cardio more enjoyable.

Preventing Over-Training

Training hard for a marathon makes sense. Training too hard would be both risky and self-defeating. The body can break down from over-training. Personal trainers can make sure you are on the right track to train safely and sensibly. A diligent trainer knows when to pull back on frequency and intensity to reduce the chances of over-training. Keep in mind, over-training may lead to mental burnout. That won’t exactly help the cause of doing well in the race.

The Post-Marathon Plan

Adequate rest is recommended for anyone who went through the grueling performance of running a marathon. The body takes somewhat of a beating during this event.

A lot of muscle may even be burned up in training and during the run. After it’s over, steps should be taken to rebuild the body.

For example, if you lost too much weight and muscle from all the running, working with a trainer to build up muscle through mass training might be a smart thing to do. The trainer could also be qualified to offer clean-diet advice to increase calories and put that lost muscle back on with minimal fat.

Working out With a Trainer All Year

Working out with a trainer all throughout the year and not just when planning for a marathon could be the best plan. When you are always in decent shape, preparing for athletic events becomes less stressful. Outside of marathon training, you reap all the rewards associated with regular exercise and strength training.

Frequently Asked Questions About Marathon Training

When should I start training for a marathon?

Everybody is different, so while there is no concrete answer to this question, the general rule is that you should be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping prior to starting a marathon training program.

What kind of diet should I follow when training for a marathon?

When training for a marathon, increase the number of carbohydrates in your diet.

Can I lift weights when training for a marathon?

You do not have to weightlift when training for a marathon, but if you enjoy it, light-to-moderate weights can be beneficial.

What is the best pair or running shoes for a marathon?

The best way to find the best pair of running shoes for a marathon is to visit a running store so that you can try on various pairs of shoes in order to find the pair that fits your feet best.

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