Everybody wants to get that beach body right now or to run that 10k next month, but can you really get fit fast?
Everybody wants to get fit fast… but should you?
In my early coaching career, I specialized in marathon and triathalon coaching. I eventually branched out and worked with everyone from fitness models to previously sedentary seniors. But consistently, throughout my career, people would email or call and ask seemingly innocent questions like: How long will I need to train to complete a marathon?
My answer generally alternated between either “as long as possible” or “it depends.” Obviously, neither of these were the answer people wanted to hear.
For someone going from the couch to a marathon, I would recommend 10-12 months of training. If you have a solid running background (three or more years of consistent running), or you want to simply improve your finishing time, 16-20 weeks could do the trick.
But keep in mind that training for a marathon isn’t the same as training for overall fitness. meThis equation changes when the question is “How long do I need to train to get fit?”
WHAT IS GETTING FIT?
The illusive condition of “being fit” is something I have written about numerous times, and I still feel like the definition of fitness is open to discussion. But for sake of this conversation, I am going to define fitness as: “Activities relating to keeping healthy and strong, especially through movement.”
There are a couple reasons why I like this definition.
- It doesn’t contain the (loaded) word “exercise”
- It implies that fitness is a continuum, not a finish line
Before we get into why I think those are important points to make, let’s look at some science.