Apple Watch Data: Average Person Takes 334 Days to Marathon

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Apple Watch Data: Insights on Marathon Training from Apple Heart and Movement Study

Although I’ve never raced a marathon and have no intention of doing so, recent data from the Apple Heart and Movement Study sheds some light on the training regimens of others who have.

Apple Watch Data

Over 1,500 participants in the Apple Heart and Movement Study ran an estimated 2,623 marathons over the study period (November 2019 – January 2024), according to data released by Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Friday.

Estimating Marathon Completion Time Using Apple Watch Data

Between November 2019 and January 1st, 2024, about 197,700 participants in the Apple Heart and Movement Study registered at least one walking workout and around 99,400 people registered at least one running session. In each respective group, more than 50% of participants who recorded activity completed a 5k (5.0 kilometers = 3.1 miles) or more at least once.

Training Patterns and Strategies Revealed by Apple Heart and Movement Study

“What is the estimated time required for participants in the Apple Heart and Movement Study to reach the 26.2-mile marker if all of their walking and running workouts were combined in a given period?” the asks:

In April 2023, 76,114 individuals registered for at least one walk or run session. 17,376 participants (22.8%) reported a cumulative distance of 26.2 miles or more during the month. Furthermore, based on the frequency of walks and runs and the total distance they completed that month, we calculated the number of days it would take each of the 76,114 participants to finish a marathon.

Half of our participants would walk or run 26.2 miles in 90 days or less, according to data from April. Because there is a long tail of people who sporadically register for runs or walks, the average speed is a little slower, at 334 days per marathon. Please take note that because we only take into account walks and runs that were part of a workout that was registered and shared with AH&MS, our system may tend to underestimate the true distance covered.

Although step count was not examined in this update, a standard estimate based on average stride length is approximately 2,000 steps per mile or 52,400 steps for a marathon!

Related: Apple New Products 2024: Expect New MacBook, iPad, and Potential iPhone Color Updates

Implications and Considerations for Marathon Preparation from AH&MS Data

Although a marathon distance typically requires at least four months of training, we examined the three months before it to reduce any potential overlap with the build-up of training for other races. Although there was a lot of variance in the training procedures, some patterns did show up. To make sure your body is relaxed for the big day, it’s customary to “taper” in the final month and increase mileage gradually. It is advised that runners have a very easy week after a marathon to rest and recover. Before the marathon, the top 10% ran about 16 kilometers more per week than the middle 10%.

Additional Information

The Apple Heart & Movement Study website has the complete set of data. It doesn’t exactly motivate me to put on my running shoes and go for a marathon, but perhaps it will.

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