You might be a marathon runner but not know the history of the marathon. However, what is more likely is that you are just getting into the world of marathon running and you want to know exactly how far that it is.
The fact is that a marathon is around 26.2 miles, or 42.2 kilometers. This might sound like a far distance and there is a reason that people train so hard and for so long to finish the race as well as improving on their previous time if they’ve done it before.
You’ll probably be aware of plenty of marathons that are run in your area and might have already signed up to run one. You’ll be aware that there will be some training involved if you are going to complete the whole thing. You might be slightly daunted by the prospect of completing a race like this, but you shouldn’t be.
Why is a marathon 26.2 miles? How does the history of the marathon play a part in how long it is? How can you train successfully for a marathon? How can you avoid injury on the run? What are the best foods that you can eat before a marathon to keep your energy levels and build more running muscles?
Well, if you want the answers to all of these questions and then some more, we would recommend that you keep reading this article. We go through a comprehensive history of the marathon and what you should expect when you run one. We’ll then end with some training does and don’ts which are very important for a decent run.
The Big Question: How Long Will It Take You To Run A Marathon?
This event has a rich history, taken from the magical days of the Olympics that were run in Ancient Greece to the ones run in the present day. This is a run of great determination and strength, one of the hardest endurances that you can put yourself through and one that requires a lot of physical and mental toughness.
Generally, the standard distance for a marathon is around 26.2 miles, which roughly translates as 42.4 kilometers. This marathon can take place across roads, countryside and mountain ranges. There are no rules on what surface you can actually run through.
If you are planning on running a marathon, then you’ll have to prepare yourself for a few months before you tackle it. On average, most people with decent physical fitness will take around 4 or 5 hours to complete a marathon. If you are running this length on a regular basis, then you’ll feel more than equipped to try it.
That’s the great thing about a marathon, you can transpose that distance wherever you like. Even if you want to do a few hundred or so laps around the park, you can be sure that you’ll be able to smash any length of running if you go the distance.
However, we would definitely recommend something more scenic if you are training for this kind of distance.
But why is this length determined? What is the history of the marathon? Well, the answer to those questions extends right back to Ancient Greece, during the Greco-Persian wars during 490 BC.
What Is The History Of The Marathon?
The history of the marathon is steeped in Ancient Greek myth. The legend has it that Philippides, who was a messenger for Athens, saw the Persians approaching the Ancient Greek capital and thought it was a portent that Persia was going to claim that they had won a battle over the Greeks.
So, trying to get the message of the victory as early as possible, he started running and did not stop until he arrived in Athens. However, was the distance that he ran exactly 26.2 miles? No, sadly. The reason for this distance actually lies a lot more recently in our history.
When Did A Marathon Become A Specific Distance?
The modern Olympics began in 1896, where the length of the marathon was established at around 40 kilometers, which is around 25 miles. This was calculated as being the distance from Marathon to Athens, which is supposedly the distance that Philippides ran.
However, during the 1908 Olympics in London, Queen Alexandria requested that the race length be altered so that the young royals could watch it from their nursery. This means that it would finish at the front of the royal box at the Olympic stadium, which would come to a grand distance of 26.2 miles.
This is where the decision was finally made to measure the marathon at the adjusted length of 26.2 miles. This is why the length has been run by generations of athletes ever since.
How To Prep For Your First Marathon
There are a few key things that you’ll need in your training when you are running your first marathon. Some of these are quite easy, and you won’t need to run the entire length of the marathon at all during training.
- You should be running around 4 days a week – try and push yourself to run as much as possible, keeping your distance to around 20 miles.
- You won’t ever want to run the full distance of the marathon during your training. On the day, the adrenaline and your own momentum and motivation will be able to carry you those final few miles.
- Skip the leg day on the final two days before running your marathon.
- Make sure that you find the right running shoe – this will be especially important to keep you going for longer. Make sure that you have everything that you need to promote good running form and correct any overpronation you might have.