Fall Marathon Training Tips
Marathon training is a big commitment! Most marathon training plans are around 3-4 months or even longer, depending on your fitness level starting out. The deeper you get into your training plan, the more time you’ll need to put into training and recovery, especially as your long runs get longer.
Last year, in 2021, I ran the Boston Marathon, which was pushed back from it’s usual April date to October. Of course this meant training for most of the summer and through a lot of hot and humid weather. Boston was a special race to run last year, since 5 of the 6 of the World Major Marathons took place in the fall. Tokyo, which had also been scheduled for last fall, ended up being canceled. All others happened between the dates of September 26th and November 7th! It was a busy summer and fall for the running community.
One of the most important things to recognize about training for a fall marathon is that your training is going to take place during the summer months. Depending on where you live, this can mean hot and humid temperatures and lots of long, sweaty runs. Despite this, fall marathons are appealing to a lot of people because of the projected cooler temperatures on race day. There are so many fall races to choose from!So far, I’ve run 4 full marathons and trained for roughly four months for each of them. Fall marathons are popular, but there are definitely some things to consider when choosing a race. Below I’m sharing 7 fall marathon training tips to help you on your way to 26.2 this fall!
7 Fall Marathon Training Tips
- Work with the weather
- Avoid running in the heat of the day
- Utilize the treadmill
- Wear sunscreen
- Be (somewhat) flexible with your training
- Practice your race day fueling and hydrating
This is SO important! It may seem obvious to you, but warmer temperatures often means sweatier runs, which means you need to replace the fluids you’re losing through sweat. There are a ton of water intake recommendations out there, but I don’t believe there to be a specific amount or formula that works for everyone. You need to find what works best for you, your body, and your training! I am personally someone who struggles to drink enough water, so I have to pay close attention and plan to ensure that I’m taking in enough fluids before, during, and after my summer runs.
Work with the weather
If it’s going to be crazy hot or storming one day, rather than skipping your workout or long run, try to rearrange your training schedule for the week so you can optimize the work you’re putting in. If the predicted conditions might impact your workout, see if there’s anything you can do to work around them. Of course race day conditions are out of our control, but you may as well control what you can throughout your training.
Avoid running in the heat of the day
Get your runs done early! Take advantage of cooler temperatures and less sun exposure by waking up early to run. If you’re not a morning person, check out my post on how to wake up early to workout. And if you’re still not a morning runner, you may want to…
Utilize the treadmill
If you have access to an air conditioned space with a treadmill then depending on the weather, you may consider shifting a long run or workout to the treadmill. In addition to removing you from the heat and humidity, running on the treadmill also makes it easier to access your water bottle and snacks/gels.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not good at remembering to wear sunscreen. To be honest, I still haven’t found a good sports sunscreen that won’t sweat off, run into my eyes, or feel all greasy. Regardless, I know it’s important to cover up in SPF and getting a bad sunburn would definitely put a damper on training. Cover up when you head outdoors!
Be somewhat flexible with your training
Running a marathon on little to no training would be no fun at all — just the thought of doing that is painful! It really wouldn’t be in anyone’s best interest to show up untrained for a 26.2 mile race. With this being said, when you sign up for a marathon, I recommend doing so with the complete intention to prioritize your training. Be realistic with yourself — are you willing to commit to the training? Even if the answer to that question is “yes,” summer is a busy time of year for a lot of people and you may need to be a bit flexible with your training. You won’t lose fitness and may even benefit from an added rest or recovery day every now and again. Don’t be afraid to switch up your training days if needed, especially to fit your long run in.
Practice your race day fueling and hydrating
With water stations, energy gels, and snacks lining the race course, it’s reassuring to know that you’ll have all the food, water, and electrolytes you’ll need on race day. I’d recommend practicing your race day fuel during your weekly long runs! You don’t want to end up with an upset stomach during your race, so identifying what works best for you will be helpful for your training and on race day. Races generally only offer one specific brand of gels, so be sure test out that brand beforehand or plan to carry your own fuel so you don’t need to rely on something you haven’t tried before.
Running a marathon takes patience, consistency, dedication, and a lot of practice. What other tips for fall marathon training would you add to this list? I hope this short list helps throughout your journey to 26.2.