Ever consider running a marathon? While competitive racing can be both beneficial and fun, it can also prove harmful if taken lightly. From the novice runner attempting to finish the distance comfortably and without injury, to the advanced competitor striving to shave seconds off his/her final time, proper marathon training is essential in reaching and exceeding your fitness goals. Several factors must be addressed before one begins to train, all of which will help to set up an adequate program designed specifically for you.
Here are some tips to better prepare for any race you decide to enter.
Proper nutrition enables proper training.
Carbohydrates (stored in the body as muscle glycogen) are the primary fuel for runners, so include whole grain products, fruits and vegetables in your diet. Proteins like lean poultry and eggs, which aid in muscle growth and repair, should also be consumed. Also, don’t forget to remain hydrated—water, water, water!
Focus on variants.
As opposed to completing the same distance during each session. Include tempo running (moderate pace to increase lactate threshold/build endurance), long runs (run sparingly, increase distance throughout program) and speed work (short distances at faster speeds).
Sleep is vital to your training.
The amount of sleep one should have while training for any race depends on the individual—some need eight hours, while others can train on five. Pay attention to your body’s performance and overall energy level, and determine how much sleep is necessary for feeling completely refreshed.
Incorporate other aspects into your training.
This will help combat the chronic stresses of running. Include a strengthening program for your lower body (lunges, squats, extensions) to help minimize the risk of muscle imbalances and injury.
Most individuals make the mistake of believing the more you train, the better your results, but that’s not always the case. Overtraining, especially for a strenuous activity like marathon running, can cause your physical and mental structure to breakdown beyond repair. Listen to your body, and allow your muscles and joints ample time to recover for your next session.
Make your training program challenging, but also fun.
Running with a partner or group can provide motivation, support and additional outlets of information to help better your performance.
Take care of your feet.
Train in a pair of running shoes that are both supportive and comfortable. Due to the repeated pounding of your feet during any distance, it is essential to use properly-fitted/cushioned shoes. The use of a worn-out or improper pair may result in foot, ankle, knee, lower back or hip pain. Consider replacing your shoes every 250-500 miles.
Leave space for a sidebar of running events. Say about 4-5 events, smaller format than events format though, just sort of a list with dates/times.