4-Week Marathon Training Guide
How To Train For Your First Marathon: Week 2.
So how did your first week go? I hope you got yourself a good pair of shoes, a runner’s journal and began your pre-training program. Perhaps you’ve even done some research on running groups in your area. If so, the following information will be right on time.
Eat To Run and Recover
When training for a marathon it is imperative to eat a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein and unsaturated fat. Aim for 60% carbohydrates, 15% protein, and 25% fat. Why so many carbs? Your body breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars, stores them in the body and then uses them for fuel during your runs.
The best sources are:
- Whole Grain Pasta
- Brown Rice
- Steel Cut Oats
Think of these as premium gas in your gas tank. Protein rebuilds the muscle tissue that has been broken down after your workout.
Lean sources of protein include:
- Lean cuts of beef
Fat protects organs and insulates the body. The healthiest sources come from unsaturated fat such as:
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Sesame Oil
Peanut butter is also a great source and combination of protein and fat.
Everybody is different. Some people can have a hearty meal before a run, while others experience problems if they eat too heavily and may opt for a light snack before hitting the road. You just need to play with your options and find what works for you.
Avoid sugary food and drinks prior to running so you don’t experience a high, followed by a crash. After your run, you need to restock those glycogen stores within 30 minutes. Aim for approximately 300 calories by way of carbohydrates and protein such as bananas, sports drinks, apple sauce, protein bars or yogurt. Then make sure you have a healthy balanced meal within a couple of hours.
Once you’ve decided to train for a marathon it can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of it all, but keep your head!
Following these guidelines can help you to avoid injuries:
- Stick to the training schedule
- Perform a proper warm-up
- Cool down and stretch
- DON’T try to do more than your routine requires
Repetitive motion, the constant pounding on your joints and overuse are just a few realities of training for a marathon, especially if you are a beginner. Keep in mind that your mileage should only increase by 10 to 20% every week. Some other important points are:
- Wear the correct shoes. You may need to try several types before settling on the right pair for you.
- Get plenty of rest. Rest is key for proper body function.
- Run on a softer surface such as a hard packed dirt trail or a treadmill to save your joints.
- Never stretch cold muscles. Move dynamically and get your blood pumping first.
- Only stretch to the point that it feels good and don’t hold your breath. Muscles need oxygen to relax.
At the end of the day listen to your body and learn to differentiate being sore from being injured. If you are experiencing pain, apply an ice pack for 20 minutes or try implementing some foam rolling. If the pain persists, you may need to seek medical advice.
Our bodies are made up of 70% water and will not function well if we don’t hydrate properly. Here are some tips to stay properly hydrated every day:
- Try to consume half your body weight in ounces daily (For example: If you weigh 150 lbs consume 75 ounces)
- Keep a water bottle handy in all the areas you frequent (car, desk, nightstand, etc.)
- Coffee and alcohol deplete the body of water so increase your water consumption when necessary.
- Do NOT drink alcohol the day before a long run.
- Drink 12 to 16 ounces of water before you run to avoid becoming dehydrated.
After you run, refuel your body with plenty of fluid, including sports drinks, right away.
Keep up the great work, and if your head has you doubting your decision to run a marathon just put your headphones on, jam your favorite running song (mine is Battle by Tim Deluxe) and envision crossing the finish line. It will be well worth all your hard work!