There are many reasons why someone would run a marathon: personal challenge, weight loss, fitness improvement, health improvement or raising awareness for a charity. But no matter the reason, this feat will require plenty of preparation, hard training and good post-run care. So, here are a few tips that might help you prep for your big run.

Start training in time

Most seasoned runners recommend a light training schedule for a year before starting your marathon program. If you build your mileage too fast, you’re risking serious injury that will put a stop to your training days. Start by running 20-30 miles a week before committing to marathon training. Increase your mileage slowly by 10% every week and extend your runs by one mile or two miles at a time. Find a comfortable pace and have a relaxed run—if you can carry a conversation during your run, it’s an easy enough pace.

Don’t push it too hard

The most important thing you can do for your performance is staying healthy. This is the best yet most ignored advice new runners get. There’s no use in training too hard, getting sick or injured and then stopping your progress altogether! It’s better to be a bit undertrained, strong and healthy than overtrained and sick. Of course, the trick is to find the right balance, but that comes with experience.

Take breaks

There’s no need to run 7 days a week, 365 days a year. All you need is three or four smart runs a week to achieve amazing results. The rest you get from your break days are much more important than those extra miles you’ll cover. So, give your body time to relax and recharge.

Practice long runs

Even if you’re very new to marathoning, you need to practice your long runs. They can be super slow, but you just need to get used to running for three, four or more hours at a time. Some say three-hour runs are where it’s at, while others recommend going farther but with walk breaks. All in all, there’s no magic formula, but as long as you’re running those long runs, you’re doing good.

Take plenty of fuel

In order to stay strong and healthy and recover fast, your body needs some serious fuel. So, make sure to consume some carbs during (gel, sports drinks…) and after the run. This way, your runs will be strong and your recovery swift. You can also try beneficial BCAA powder that will get you out of the slump and reduce muscle soreness. The amino acids from the powder can also improve your recovery time and increase workout performance and capacity. Add a little protein to your daily diet for muscle repair as well and you’ll feel strong, healthy and ready to cross that finish line every time.

Keep your iron high

It doesn’t mean that you can’t be vegetarian and a good runner, but you do need to take in plenty of iron which you’ll definitely lose through sweating. So, load up on iron-rich foods, take vitamin C that helps iron absorption and cook in an iron skillet.

Prepare mentally

It’s just as important to train your mind as it is to train your body because your outlook can really influence your runs. Try doing well on your training runs before the race and you’ll see your confidence rise. You know that your marathon race will get hard at some point, but don’t fear that information. Your body can do amazing things when you’re physically and mentally ready and willing to give your all, so you’ll undoubtedly make it to the finish line.

Get the right equipment

Aim for light, comfortable and flexible shoes. Your local sports store probably has a few pairs of good running shoes, and some specialized stores will even let you take the shoes for a run! However, don’t neglect your socks either. You need a good pair that’s comfy and protective. If you’re prone to blisters, take some Vaseline and rub it on your feet before the run.

With good training, good fuel and good rest, you’ll manage to finish the race. For a first-timer, reaching the finish line is the goal, so don’t stress about time or anything. Stay strong physically and mentally, endure whatever comes your way and you’ll feel amazing about yourself!

 

 

Published by Emma Lawson