How to Prepare for a Marathon in 9 Weeks – An Easy Prep Plan to Ace It

How to Prepare for a Marathon in 9 Weeks

Runners often train for 20 weeks before a marathon.

This is the best-case scenario, but many athletes have trained for only six weeks before the big race, and actually made it to the finish line.

Actually, there’s plenty you can do in 9 weeks. Training smart should get you in top shape fast. A

dditionally, selecting the right plan would increase your pace, stamina, and chances of success in that duration. 

If you’d like to know how to prepare for a marathon in 9 weeks, read on. In the next sections, you’ll find everything you need to know about the finest training plans.

In addition, we put together our best tips to ace a marathon.

Table of Contents

How to Prepare for a Marathon in 9 Weeks?

A 9-Week Prep Plan to Ace a Marathon

Use a Fitness Tracker

Watch Your Diet

Pace Yourself

Slow Runs, Then Fast Runs

Go the Distance, But Not Uphill

Do Cross-Training Sessions for Hypertrophy

Run, Rest, Recover

Final Thoughts

How to Prepare for a Marathon in 9 Weeks: A 9-Week Prep Plan to Ace a Marathon

If you have 9 weeks before a marathon, that might not be the coveted 20-week ideal training period. However, you can still achieve much during this time.

The right program can improve your overall fitness, pace, agility, stamina, and overall readiness for the marathon. 

Use a Fitness Tracker

Fitbit Versa 2 Health and Fitness Smartwatch with Heart Rate, Music, Alexa Built-In, Sleep and Swim Tracking, Black/Carbon, One Size (S and L Bands Included)

Committing to a grand challenge like running a marathon takes courage. And it also calls for utilizing every available physical resource you have.

Getting your body to perform at its best is the first step to winning.

As a rule of thumb, you can’t improve what you can’t measure.

Fortunately, there’s a little gadget that can monitor your runs, all your vital signs, and even your sleep patterns.

Fitness trackers can give you a full progress report at the end of each day. Some of them would even volunteer some training suggestions!

You can also listen to your favorite music through these devices, or stay in contact with your coach throughout the run. 

Based on the results you get on the first day of the 9-week period, you can select a suitable marathon-training plan.

There are some good options online, but it would be best to come up with a specially-tailored plan with your coach.

Watch Your Diet

Athletes are often well-informed on what they can put in their mouths. However, the time preceding the marathon might have higher requirements in terms of nutrition.

The continuous training, then rest and recovery, means that the protein content of the diet should be ramped up a bit.

The percentages of fat and carbohydrate daily intake would naturally increase too, but not by the same amount.

You can also increase the superfood snacks you consume in a day, so more fruits and nuts. Additionally, you should start training on how to get the necessary fuel during the extended run.

Hydrate regularly through a suitable water bottle or a portable hydration pack. And choose a nice source of carbs that you can ingest quickly while running.

Chewables are often good. This should keep your energy levels elevated throughout the run. 

Pace Yourself

With the marathon not too far off, you’d need to avoid any possibility of injury. This includes overstressing your body by overtraining or running beyond your natural limits.

The training program would include short and long runs, where you would get your body to the required fitness level.

The trick is to pace yourself so that in all of these runs you can still maintain a friendly conversation.

If you feel that you’re running out of breath, shift to a walk, then pick up speed when you’re ready. 

In the span of 9 weeks, you can train for finishing the distance and running at an elevated speed.

Shorter training times might not be sufficient to achieve the latter, but here, you have a good chance of reaching the finish line with a good ranking.

how to prepare for a marathon in 9 weeks: Running woman. Runner jogging in sunny bright light. Female fitness model training outside in New York City with skyline and Brooklyn Bridge in background.

Slow Runs, Then Fast Runs

Most people visualize a slow regular pace when they think of marathons, and that’s often correct.

However, elite runners know that ranking in the race means adding some spring to their steps. A bit more speed would guarantee a better record.

To achieve that, the training program should include slow short runs, and slow long runs, in addition to sprints.

This cocktail of speeds and covered distances should give you the necessary stamina and quick pace.

Go the Distance, But Not Uphill

Running uphill is a huge strain on the whole body. The leg muscles pretty much feel tortured throughout the drill, and the lungs feel crushed after a few miles on the slopes.

Preparing for a marathon is against this kind of exertion all the way. 

Thus, unless the marathon involves running up some hills, then look for an easy trail. And while we’re at it, also select locations that aren’t polluted or bustling with traffic.

You’d want to maintain a healthy body, and that comes with breathing clean air rather than car exhaust.

Do Cross-Training Sessions for Hypertrophy

Hypertrophy is an essential part of marathon training, as it focuses on increasing muscle mass. This means that you’re getting an engine upgrade.

This phase should be followed by training for functional strength and agility.

It would be great to add swimming or yoga to your cross-training program. Both activities would boost your stamina, pace, and coordination.

Additionally, they have a calming effect, which would really come in handy as the big day draws near.

Yoga woman. Young woman doing yoga in morning. how to prepare for a marathon in 9 weeks

Run, Rest, and Recover

Marathon training plans typically include various types of runs followed by total rest. This isn’t a waste of precious time.

Runners require regular resting periods to recover and complete the anabolic phase of the muscle-building process.

Furthermore, these restful days allow you to destress and prepare mentally for the marathon. Winning starts in your mind!

Final Thoughts on How to Prepare for a Marathon in 9 Weeks

There you have it! That was our full guide on how to prepare for a marathon in 9 weeks.

Whether you’re doing this run for the first time, or for the umpteenth time, this training plan should get you into the best possible shape.

Finally, remember these wise words by Fred Lebow, who is the co-founder of the New York City Marathon;

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”