4-Week Marathon Training Guide
How To Train For Your First Marathon: Week 4.
As we wind down our final week of training, I want to remind you that running a marathon is about you. Setting goals and benchmarks for your own motivation and competitive appetite are fine, just remember that you don’t need to compare yourself to how others are doing. This is your race. Now let’s talk about some other important info as you prep for race day.
Mental Prep For Race Day
It has been said that running a marathon is just as much mental as it is physical. You’ve trained your body, but how do you train your mind for the road ahead? Having a positive attitude is key. When life hands you lemons, or when there’s a downpour on race day you give thanks for the cool weather.Positive statements can do wonders to drown out negative self-talk. Remind yourself how far you’ve come and how good it will feel when you cross the finish line. And when every fiber of your being tells you that you cannot finish, turn your attention to all of the hard work you put into this; the hills, the sprints, the first time you completed something that you didn’t even think you could do. Remember that and carry on. You got this!Fatigue, pain, and self-doubt are normal challenges. This is where mental toughness comes into play.You are stronger than your thoughts. Giving up would be easy, but you have trained for this and you can make it all the way.
Physical Prep For Race Day
Tapering off allows your body time to heal and store up much needed glycogen to endure the upcoming 26.2 miles. Cut down your total mileage, stop cross-training and strength training. You want to maintain the intensity of your runs, but with less mileage. Less running can lead to an increase in appetite so watch your diet. Gaining a couple of pounds before the race can make an impact on your performance. Be sure to maintain a healthy diet consistently. Your food intake should be 60-65%carbohydrates so you have adequate fuel for the day of the race. Some great choices are pasta, oats,grains, fruits and potatoes. Do not consume more calories than you need, but shift your caloric intake to a higher percentage of carbohydrates.Hydrate with plenty of water, sports drinks and electrolytes. It is important to keep sodium and potassium levels adequate. Enjoy plenty of salt in your food that week, but limit alcohol and caffeine consumption.This may make you scratch your head, but trim your toenails the week before race day. I made the mistake of not doing this on my first race and lost a toenail promptly after I was done.Have everything you need packed and ready to go the night before, get a good night’s sleep, and leave plenty of time to arrive at the race, park and use the restroom in the morning.
Use the following checklist:
- • Runner’s lube
- • Water bottle & holder
- • Bandages and ointment
- • Protein bar, gel, electrolytes
- • Sunscreen.
- • Hat or visor
- • Sunglasses
- • Sweatshirt & pants
- • Flip Flops
You are at the starting line. Pay attention to pre-race instructions for your own safety and the safety of others. Make sure you place your number on the front of your shirt where it is easily visible. Be mindful of the other racers. Slower runners and walkers should stay to the back of the group. If you drop anything do not stop to pick it up as you could cause someone to trip and fall and when passing a water station, grab your water and keep moving so other runners can get in. You may hear “excuse me” “on your left” or “coming through” so prepare to move and by all means use the same verbiage when necessary. If you need to spit, throw-up or use the restroom (yes it happens) find a port-a-potty or move to the side of the road. Most importantly it is totally appropriate to encourage your fellow racers with words of encouragement, head nods and high fives. You never know, you may just push someone out of that negative self-talk.
Beyond the Finish Line
Once you have crossed the finish line don’t stop. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment, but others will be filing in behind you and you don’t want to trip them up. You also don’t want to cramp up so keep walking. Someone will be there to collect your bib and chip and vendors will be there to handout snacks and bottles of water. Your body will be depleted at this point so replenish your body within the hour to begin the recovery process mainly with carbohydrates. Next up put on some dry clothes and begin some mild stretching. Once you get home consider taking an ice bath or applying ice packs to speed the healing process. Follow that with a nice warm shower then go enjoy a hearty,celebratory meal, you’ve earned it.In the days following remember that movement aids in muscle recovery so go for a short walk or have the number of a really good massage therapist on hand especially if you feel your muscles getting stiff. This should be your only activity for the next few days then you can resume normal physical activity. Congratulations! You should be proud of yourself. Whether this is your first and only or first of many it is a major accomplishment. I hope you enjoyed it. Now on to the next challenge.