16 Tips (+ Some Hints) On How to Train for a Marathon
You’ve been thinking about it for a while and finally took the plunge by signing up for a marathon. Congratulations! Whether this is your first marathon or your 10th, you have several months of training ahead of you!
Less experienced marathon runners are probably asking themselves a number of questions:
• How do I begin training for a marathon?
• What type of marathon training plan should I follow?
• What should I eat when preparing for a marathon?
• How can I increase my strength enough to prevent injury?
• What’s the best gear to run in during a marathon?
There are so many factors that that make up a successful race day, but by following the tips below we think you’ll cross the finish line feeling accomplished and injury free!
10 Helpful Tips for Marathon Training:
Set a Specific Goal:
This is crucial for a successful race day finish. Having a specific goal can keep you focused on achieving your highest standards and not give up. Find a race you want to run, register, and start preparing for this date!
Plan of action:
Create a schedule that works best for you to balance your daily tasks and one that you will stick to! There are many marathon plans you can research that will guide you through a series of weeks by increasing the distances gradually so you peak at the right moment before your race. You can also find local running clubs that may be training as a group for a race. This can offer great support for others with the same goal.
Make sure you have a proper pair of sneakers and socks. There is nothing like dealing with a blister from a shoe/ sock that doesn’t provide the correct support. Wearing proper clothing is also key! There is nothing worse than being constricted, feeling heavy, hot or uncomfortable on mile 17! Be sure the clothing you wear is what you feel best in to wick off sweat and is light enough on your body. Something to keep in mind is that you may have to “go” during the race and having shorts or a skirt could be a discrete option to relieve yourself (if you know what I mean).
Correct running technique:
This can help you go the distance and make the difference between a short run and a long one.
Running is the best way to become more efficient, but it’s not the only thing to practice. Cross train at least two or three days a week with a variety of low-impact strength, balance, and core workouts. This will improve your overall fitness lever and give your joints a rest from all the pounding from running. Swimming, cycling, weight training, Pilates, yoga and fusion workouts are all great options. I would also recommend light plyometric and agility drills to help increase athletic performance.
Fuel for energy:
Have the proper diet is crucial to fuel your body with the proper energy for the distance and duration. Be sure to learn what foods are best for you before your run, as well as post run to keep the muscles replenished with good nutrients, as they need to repair for the next run.
Hydrate before, during, and post run to keep hydrated. If you let your body become dehydrated, you can forget about finishing as the body will cramp and injury can occur.
Having a strong will and a set goal is great motivation, but having an inner voice of strength that pushes you when you need it or music that carries your body further can make a greater difference. Also try visualization to achieve motivation.
Post-Run Static Strech Cool Down Video:
Here is a video of some great static stretches to do post run that demonstrate how to cool down the body by lengthening the worked muscles. Be sure to hold each stretch for 10 sec or more in-order to let the muscles relax and lengthen. This will help to prevent injury and obtain full recovery for your next run.
Rest n Recovery:
Be sure to have full rest days so your muscles can recover and you do not over train. If you feel worn down, have no energy, feel sore, lethargic or unmotivated, you may be overtraining and may need more rest days. You may even want to consider getting a weekly massage, stretch session, or ice your muscles down to promote a healthy recovery. This is not just for injuries; it is to remain strong at optimal levels!
Running a Marathon for the First Time
Whether you’re running a half or full marathon, if this is your first marathon you’ll need to let your body recover from your training so that you’re able to run 100% on race day. Use the final three weeks before your event to maintain normal training intensity but decrease the workout time. By tapering your workout as the race gets closer, you’ll prepare your body to be well rested, recovered, and ready to run!
Here’s an example of how you might taper your marathon prep as the race gets closer:
• Three weeks out train at 75% of normal workload
• Two weeks out train at 50%
• Final week train at 25%
Diet & Nutrition Tips for Runners:
A proper diet is an essential part of training for a marathon. Fueling your body correctly with the right amount of nutrients can have a big influence on the race results. Some key nutritional foods should come from eating the proper combination of proteins, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Eating raw foods compared to cooked is beneficial because they have not lost any nutrients from the cooking process. Making sure you eat the best combination of foods to maintain a healthy body should be a top priority and goal.
Assess the intensity of your own training when determining what is enough to fuel your workouts. I would suggest a lower carbohydrate diet when not in marathon mode, but if you are game to run faster and put on a lot of miles, you need to have a fairly higher intake to fuel your run. Be aware that if your diet is not balanced and you eat too many carbs or too much protein, the body will store it as fat. Endurance training uses some of its energy from fat stores and you want to make sure that you use the calories efficiently by first burning carbs, and then your fat stores when the fuel is coming from your muscles. This is the marathon way!
Recommended Calorie Intake While Training for a Marathon:
• 50-65% complex carbs
• 15-25% fat (preferably unsaturated)
• 20-25% protein (higher if you are weight training)
What You Should Eat When Training for A Marathon
• Fresh produce, such as green leafy vegetables &
• Lean proteins like fish, chicken, and beans
• Whole grains. like brown rice or quinoa)
• Water, water, water!
What NOT to Eat When Training for A Marathon
• Fast foods
• Fried foods
• Too much sugar
• Too much coffee or alcohol
Helpful Tools for Runners:
Along with the proper running gear, there are many helpful tools to get your training moving in the right direction. With help of different apps, you can track your progress, your running distance, how many calories you’re burning per run, your run times, and map out a special route. Check out: www.mapmyrun.com
Race Day Tips from Experience:
The best race day tips come from the experience itself and what you notice going on around you during the event. It is always good to remember what matters to you when your in the heat of the moment and what you would do differently the next time around.
In my experience these are a few fun things to consider doing to make your race day run more enjoyable:
• Try to high-five or encourage at least one runner every mile to coach them on!
• Wear something like your name on your shirt, a bright color or a funky logo, so that you stand out and your supporters can cheer you on as you run by.
• Speed walk through water stops so that your hydration break doesn’t end up on your shirt! Hydration is super important, so make sure to stay hydrated in order to survive and finish the race.
• Bring a race day bag filled with warm clothes and blankets you don’t mind leaving behind. It’s chilly in the early morning pre-race, so come prepared.
Run for Fun…
Running a marathon is a gift, so cherish every minute of the experience! Remember: this is a goal you set out for yourself, a goal to achieve, and to benefit a special charity. No matter what your race time is, run from the soul knowing this experience has made you stronger mentally, physically, and emotionally. Your race day will be one you will never forget and may be one of the best days of your life!
Good Luck & Enjoy! – Maria
Get Moving to Help Manage Stress: http://www.totalgymdirect.com/total-gym-blog/3-total-gym-workouts-used-world-famous-athletes/#more-1645
Heart & Healthy: 5 Minute Cardio: http://www.totalgymdirect.com/total-gym-blog/heart-healthy-cardio/
The Top 10 Health and Fitness Apps: http://www.totalgymdirect.com/total-gym-blog/best-health-and-fitness-apps/