Can you commit to a marathon?

Getty Images

Are you accustomed to running at least three days a week?

Suddenly stepping up from one or two sessions a week – or none – to four in week one of your training plan is a bad idea, risking pain or injury. ‘Three runs a week is typically the minimum you’ll need to commit to,’ says Mara Yamauchi, former Olympic marathoner and a qualified coach.

Is your family onside?

For four months your focus will be on marathon training. You’ll need to prioritise runs over lie-ins and family strolls, weekend breaks and late nights. ‘Accept that your life will change during this time,’ says Yamauchi. It will be much easier if your partner, family and significant others will be supportive rather than resentful.

Are you injury-free?

Think carefully about beginning marathon training if you have a niggle. ‘For those who are having treatment and seeing improvement, a sensible build up could be okay, providing you are willing to cross-train where necessary,’ says physio Alison Rose. ‘But never ignore existing niggles. The priority should be to sort them out.’

Is your diary clear?

You’ll need to give yourself a clear run for the next four months. So don’t sign up for a marathon for which the training is going to clash with other major commitments, such as your wedding or going on safari for a fortnight just when you should be doing your longest runs. Remember, there will be other marathons.