I am REALLY out of shape. I eat junk food and don't exercise much outside of work (I'm on my feet all day long). I am really interested in running a marathon and would like to know how long I should train before I run. I did a 40km walk two years ago and was exhausted by the end of it
In 28 weeks, you could finish a marathon. Start by walking, slowly, for a
mile. Two days later, walk 1.5 miles. Every other day, increase the
distance by half a mile until you get to 3 miles. Rest your muscles on the
"off" day. Hold that distance on Tuesday and Thursday, while increasing by
one additional mile on your weekend session (either Sat or Sun).
There's a "to finish" schedule in my book MARATHON YOU CAN DO IT. Once the
long run reaches 10 miles you can cut the distance in half every other
weekend, increasing the long one by 2 miles each time. When the long one
gets to 18 miles, you can do it every third weekend, covering 8-9 miles on
the "short" weekends.
After about the third week of training, insert a one min jog into your runs,
after 4 min of walking. If this feels fine after 2 weeks, drop to
3walk/1jog. After 3 more weeks, drop to 2-1. If all goes well after
another 3 weeks or so you could go to 1-1 during the week, and 2walk/1jog on
the long run.
Find the ratio that works best for you, that will leave you feeling strong
at the end, and recovering fast from these long ones. The pace for all of
these should be very, very slow.
Olympian and RUNNER'S WORLD columnist Jeff Galloway has helped over 100,000 runners in his clinics and training programs. For more running information you may see his books Galloway's Book on Running (2nd ed.) and Marathon: You Can Do It. Jeff conducts one day running schools (Chicago Aug 16, NYC Sep 6), Florida Beach Retreats (Aug 1-3 & Sep 12-14), and offers more info on his website: www.RunInjuryFree.com