The Do’s and Don’ts of Marathon Training at Home

Let’s face it. If you’re training for a marathon, the weather can dictate how you’re going to do it.

If it’s too hot outdoors, it’ll feel like you’re running for hours. If it’s too cold, it distracts you from the full workout you deserve. Nowadays, many people wonder if it’s possible to train indoors with a treadmill. 

Can you train for a marathon indoors? In this article, let’s break the details down on how to get marathon-ready without leaving the house.

How to Train for a Marathon At Home?


Just like any other workout, a warm-up is necessary. Make sure you do some stretches for a few minutes before stepping onto the treadmill. 

Once you’re on the treadmill, start with an easy 5-minute walk or jog. Then, eventually, increase incline and speed.

Simulate Outdoor Running with The Treadmill

The biggest difference between outdoor and indoor marathon training is the wind. There’s no wind resistance at home. You’re running in place, which makes it less challenging. 

To make up for the lack of wind resistance, set your treadmill at a 1-degree incline. It would give your feet and leg muscles the workout it needs as this simulates a “flat” run outdoors. 

It’ll also strengthen your legs for the big day. The amount of energy you use on the treadmill is the same as running on a marathon course.

Hands Off the Handrail

Holding on to the handrails prevents you from getting a full workout. You’ll hunch over, and it causes pain in your back, shoulders, and neck. 

So, let go of the handrail and keep your back straight. If you feel like you’re going to fall off the treadmill, slow down and adjust your form.‍

Run Naturally

Pay attention to your strides. The treadmill’s moving belt makes it easy to get strides wrong because it does most of the work for you. 

So, run on the treadmill the same way you would outdoors. Go with your natural gait. If something in your form feels off, slow down and adjust. 

Work on Your Stride Count

What’s a stride count, you may ask? It’s the total number of steps you take per minute.

The more steps you take, the more efficient a runner you become. When you increase your stride count, you’re reducing the load on your hips and knees. You’re running faster and safer. 

Calculate your stride count with these steps: 

  1. Count how many times one foot hits the belt every minute.
  2. Multiply the number by 2, and you’ll get your total stride count. 
  3. Work your way up from there.

Fight boredom

When you run outside, there’s plenty of things to keep your brain stimulated. 

The sights, how the wind feels against your face, running over different terrains – all of these keep you from noticing how long and far you’ve run. 

On the other hand, boredom can set in pretty quickly when you run on a treadmill for a long time. So, how do you fight it off? 

First, put together a “marathon training” playlist to listen to. Or download audiobooks and podcasts. Some runners also place their treadmills in front of their TVs. In doing so, they can watch Netflix during training. 

How to NOT Train for a Marathon at Home?

Don’t Wear the Wrong Shoes

Those pink sneakers with the wedge heel do make for awesome OOTD and #fitness posts on Instagram. However, they’re impractical.

Wearing them for a workout is just plain dumb. It puts you at high risk of knee injuries and other issues. Plus, they probably won’t even last an hour in a marathon.

Make sure to wear light, comfortable shoes with extra sole support. It’ll protect your feet and heels better from the impact of your run. 

Don’t Train Barefoot

If you’re going to do long runs and serious marathon training, you must wear proper running shoes. Here’s why:

Treadmill belts have a coarse texture. It grips the soles of your shoes, helping you stay balanced. That also means it’s going to be uncomfortable for your feet. 

You’d have blisters the size of saucers before you know it.

Remember, simulate the actual marathon indoors. Train yourself to get used to running shoes instead of going barefoot.

Don’t Stick to the Same Routine

It’s tempting to stick to one routine every day. But, when you’re in a marathon, you usually run over different terrains and speeds. You run uphill, downhill, and take several turns.

So, don’t stick to one routine. For instance, increase the incline of your treadmill to mimic running up a hill. And go for faster runs to build endurance. 

Don’t Swing Your Arms Too Much

Have you seen a marathon runner swinging his arms too much in the middle of a run? No, you haven’t. 

Why? It’s because marathon runners need to conserve energy. They keep their arms relaxed and bent parallel to the sides as they go.

When you’re swinging your arms, you exert more effort. You’ll get tired more quickly. Practice keeping your arms on your sides all the time.

Don’t Overtrain

Even Usain Bolt, the fastest runner on the planet, limits his intense training to three hours a day. So, don’t overdo your indoor marathon training. Trying to achieve everything in one go won’t get you any ready for that marathon. 

Also, set aside time for recovery. Listen to your body, and avoid training for more than an hour at a time.

So, Would You Train for a Marathon on a Treadmill?

Before you go, remember to prioritize the quality of your training. Whether you’re inside or outside the house, train smart. That treadmill of yours can get you ready for that marathon. 

‍What do you think? Do you think indoor marathon training can be good for you? Let us know in the comments!

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