What is a Marathon

A marathon refers to a running event that involves runners covering a long distance of about 26.219 miles or 42.195 kilometers. The marathon event is similar to a road race. History has it that this kind of a running event was started in order to commemorate the legendary run by Philippides, a Greek soldier. Philippides ran from Marathon where a battle was taking place all the way to Athens to relay the message of victory in that battle. Marathon was formed as part of the modern and original events that took place during the Olympics in 1896. There are over 500 marathon events held worldwide every year. A majority of the participants during these marathon events are recreational athletes as major marathons attract participants in huge numbers. Below is a detailed explanation of what is a marathon.

History of Marathon.

The name “Marathon” originated from the legendary Philippides, the messenger and soldier of a Greek origin. According to the legend, Philippides, was sent to go to Athens from the battlefield in Marathon to announce that they had defeated the Persians in the Battle of Marathon (August or September, 490 BC). Philippides ran for the whole distance without resting until he entered into the assembly and announced that “we have won!” He then collapsed and died shortly after making the announcement. There are two roads from Marathon to the city of Athens: the mountainous route to the north has a distance of about 21.4 miles or 34.5 km while the flatter route towards the south is longer and measures around 40.8 km or 25.4 miles. There are several arguments as to which route Philippides took but it is said that he took the longest route to the city of Athens. During the Olympics in 1896, the organizers and initiators were looking for an event that would be great and popular to recall the earlier glory that was enjoyed by Greece. Michel Breal came up with the idea of having a marathon race during the Olympic Games held in Athens back in 1896.

How long is a Marathon?

At first the Olympic marathon running event used to be about 40 kilometers (25 miles) long. This was in essence the approximate distance from Marathon to the city of Athens using the longer and flatter course. The precise length back then used to dependend on the established route by each venue. During the 1908 Olympics, the then constituted International Olympic Committee had agreed in 1907 that the Olympic marathon to be held in London was to be 40 kilometers or 25 miles long. The modern and standard distance to be covered in a full marathon in the world was set in May 1921 by IAAF (International Amateur Athletic Federation). This distance was directly the length used for the Summer Olympics of 1908 that had been held in London. History recalls that during the 1908 Olympics at London, the course was extended in an attempt to accommodate a request from the British Royal family. Queen Alexandra had requested for the race to start from the Windsor Castle lawn to allow the small royals to watch it from their nursery windows and finish in front of Olympic stadium’s Royal Box. This extended the course distance to 26 miles and 385 yards.

what is a marathon

How to Train for a Marathon.

In the quest to find out what is a marathon you should consider covering the area of training for a marathon event. It is important for every runner preparing to tackle a marathon to ensure that they train well for the event as it is not an easy feat to overcome. Marathon runners understand that they have to overcome “the wall” during the marathon. This period in a marathon is defined as the moment when things turn from being just pretty hard to really hard as it is the moment the mind and body is put through an acid test. This is seen as the intersection of diminished mental faculties and fatigue. This is the point where you throw all the plans you had prior to the marathon out of the window. The way you handle this wall literally breaks or makes your marathon.

In order to beat “the wall” and other aspects that can make you not finish your marathon fully, it is important to ensure that you train extensively in readiness for the D-day. It is important to ensure that you cover the full distance of 26.2 miles in your training in order to know how to deal with the wall early enough in training. There are so many athletes who do not cover the full distance during their training and this exposes them to encounter “the wall” during their marathon event which is disastrous.

When training for your upcoming marathon event, you should be committed and dedicated to the training in order to be successful. It would be important to have a training program that would be effective for your training. Most effective training plans for marathons require 16 to around 20 weeks for training purposes. During this time, you will be running about five or even more times every week and it is important to increase your total weekly mileage gradually as you inch closer to your big day. Running for long mileages during the week gets your body accustom to running for long time periods.

New runners could start with running between 15 to 20 miles in a week and peak at 35 to 40 miles. Experienced marathon runners can start at 35 to 40 per week and then peak at around 50 miles or even more. Make sure that your training plan does not increase the volume you are used to weekly by over 10 percent during your first week. You should also not forget an important thing in your training plan that is having a long run weekly in order to grow and boost your endurance and strength. The extra time that you spend on your legs will prepare your heart, lungs, bones, joints, muscles and brain to be ready to cover the whole 26.2 miles come the marathon day. It would also be important to include some speed workouts that most marathoners use in their training like mile repeats, “Tempo run” and Yasso 800s. These speed workouts are meant to build endurance and speed.

Dress Rehearsals.

About a month to your race, you should take part in some “dress rehearsals”. You should get up to run on the exact time that you expect to run on the race day. You should also eat and drink the food you plan to eat on the eve of the race, the morning of the d-day and during the race day during the dress rehearsal runs. You should also wear the same shoes and clothing that you expect to wear come the d-day. This will help you solve any problems that you are likely to meet on that day and also observe the cardinal rule in marathons: Never attempt to try anything new on your race day.

Olympics Marathon Facts.

It is imperative to know some important facts about the Olympics marathon. In the past it used to be a male event but in 1984 during the Summer Olympics (Los Angeles, USA), a female marathon was introduced and Joan Benoit won it after posting a time of 2:24:52. The men’s Olympics marathon is usually the last event in the calendar of athletics that is finished inside the Olympic stadium just before the closing ceremony or it is incorporated in them. The world record is 2:06:32 that was set in 2008 in the summer Olympics by the late Samuel Kamau Wanjiru (Kenya). Tiki Gelana, an Ethiopian, holds the Women’s records of 2:23:07 set during the 2012 Summer Olympics.
All the above are some of the important facts and points that best explain what is a marathon.