Running a marathon is not just about stamina and a lot of training; mental buildup is also equally important
Yes, the mantra to successful marathon training is sustained stamina, motivation, training and maintaining a balanced diet. To begin with, start practicing about two months in advance, with mileage of eight miles per week (12.8 kms). By doing this, you will be able to train for the marathon in just 12 weeks.
Carbs for fuel
Make it a point to run at least three times a week while training for the marathon and do not forget to fuel yourself with carbs during your longer runs. This way you will never run out of energy.
Remember, proper hydration is very essential while running and you should know when to consume energy drinks and when plain water will suffice.
Before you begin training for the marathon, visit a store which specializes in making running shoes and buy a good, comfortable pair. Getting the right kind of running shoes is extremely crucial.
Build mileage gradually
While training for the marathon, make sure you warm up by walking for at least 5 or 10 minutes, before you actually start running. During the first week, walk for six minutes, then, slowly jog at an easy pace for one minute. Repeat the sequence three times. Don’t try to up your mileage from 8 kms to 10 kms in a single day. Mileage should be gradually built up, giving your body time to adapt.
Join a club
It would be a good idea to join a club to improve your speed. You might find members with a range of experiences, who may help you train better for the marathon. Always monitor your progress and keep a log as this will help you in achieving your goals.
Run on uneven surfaces
Try running on uneven surfaces as this can strengthen various muscles in your legs. It also helps improve your speed, preparing you for the long marathon run. Try keeping an economical, fluid running style without pumping your legs and arms too hard. Concentrating should be on keeping it smooth.
As uphills can be intimidating, begin with a walk for the first few times to take the pressure off. Once you’ve got a measure of the hill, you can start running. Always include hills in your long run sessions while training for the marathon. Keep in mind to run up the inclines at a faster pace, then, you can take recovery walks/jogs once the road levels out. Here is a tip: When you are running uphill concentrate on lifting your knees and keep your head up by looking ahead of you.
Using a heart rate monitor is always advisable. It helps you hit the right pace for every run, be it a fast one, a long one or a recovery run. Relaxing your body and eliminating unnecessary body movements helps you in reducing your heart rate. In order to check if you are swaying too much, try running with your arms straight out in front of you with your hands clasped together.
Just running might not be enough, so do weight lifting along with running, as this will build your endurance and stamina for the marathon. You can also make 5K marathon races a part of your training routine. This will give you some milestones to work on and being a part of the gang is always more fun.
Remember, running outdoors is the best way. However, if you want to gain some experience for the marathon, go ahead and use the treadmill. You can also cycle for an hour on the days you do not run. Do not criticize yourself as it may sabotage your running efforts. It does not matter if you are slow, it’s just important that you do it.
Your posture while running is important. Always lean forward or run with your back slightly twisted. Also, running along with a partner will keep your mind occupied. Consume at least two litres of liquids per day – water and non-sugar juices. No fizzy drinks please!”
The night before
The night before the marathon, eat healthy – a good portion of protein, some carbs such as whole wheat rotis/bread, vegetables like carrots or yam. TIP: Keep away from spicy, fatty rich food.
On the day of the marathon event, have a breakfast of oatmeal and some crushed almonds, as the oatmeal will keep you charged enough and almonds have protein in them. Also have a glass of water. This combination is said to be easily digestible and at the same time keeps your blood sugar leveled. If the aid stations during the run are at less than one at every two miles, it would be good plan to carry your own drink.
Remember to dress comfortably for the marathon – whatever you plan to wear, make sure that you have trained in that particular outfit at least once before the main event. This way, you will be sure that there are no chafing issues.
Photograph via sxc.hu
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