Whether you are a running newbie or a veteran runner, when you set yourself the challenge of running a marathon, you have a mammoth task ahead of you. People run marathons for a multitude of reasons: to lose weight, get healthier or to raise money for a charity. No matter what your motivation is, it will help you to remain focused to achieve your goal. Here are some hints and tips to help you train for your marathon:
There is a vast selection of marathons to choose from, and there will be one that appeals to you. You can choose from urban city marathons, trail routes, or even destination marathons. There are benefits to each, although it is worth researching how previous runners have reviewed the courses. For your first marathon, it is advisable to choose a race that will give you a positive running experience: energetic crowd support, a relatively flat course, and good running weather. Click here to see some great beginner marathons.
Fueling your body
When you run long distances, the demands on your body are extreme, and so you need to prepare your body in advance of race day. Traditionally, endurance athletes have consumed carbohydrates to sustain their energy levels for long distance running, however, your body also needs proteins to support recovery and enhance performance. You can easily find products to help you reach your goal. For example, vegan protein powders help runners to boost protein intake and support muscle growth.
You need to fuel your body adequately so that you avoid hitting the wall, which typically occurs at around the 20-mile mark. Start your healthy eating regimen when you start training so that you know what your body can tolerate and if there are any tweaks that you need to make to your diet ahead of race day. Never try anything new (gels, trainers, t-shirts) on race day!
The greatest cause of running injuries is from when people build up their weekly mileage too quickly. You need to build up to the long distances gradually and consistently. You will be familiar with the fable of the hare and the tortoise, and this is especially true for running a marathon.
- Extend your weekly mileage distance gradually over 3 to 5 runs per week. Never increase your distance by more than 10%.
- Between 7 and 10 days, you should aim to complete a longer run to help your body adjust to the longer distances.
- Practice interval runs and runs with a higher tempo to increase your cardio capacity.
- Always schedule days for rest and recovery so that your muscles have time to rejuvenate.
Is speed important to you? If you have a specific time in mind for your marathon, have a look at a training pace calculator to give you an idea for the pace that you need to meet to achieve your goal.
The challenge of a marathon may seem like an unachievable goal at the beginning of your training plan, but if you keep consistently training, eat healthily and keep your motivation and spirits up, you will find that you will be able to complete it. It’s a great experience and achievement that you will be proud of. Good luck!