Marathons have started to take over Canadian streets. At no time is this more evident than in the spring, when dedicated runners — who’ve been training all winter — show off their skills. Yet running one of these races needn’t just be for the pros. Here are a few tips to get you in shape for a spring race day.
1. Make a race-day plan
There are dozens of marathons and runs that happen across Canada — in big cities and small communities — all year long. For a full list, visit www.runningroom.com. It’s a mecca of marathon info. Once you have your running date set, you can start mapping out your training plan. In general, if you’re a novice runner, give yourself five to six months to train for a full marathon [this will prevent injury].
2. Invest in the best equipment
Running is a sport. And just like any other sport, you’ll want to invest in top-notch technological equipment to help you train. Essentials include: Running shoes, sweat-wicking clothing, a GPS-powered running watch [or a smartphone app that allows you to track your routes] and sunglasses. You should have your shoes professionally fit at a store like the Running Room — the store’s associates will help you find a shoe that provides the right stability, cushioning and motion control for your foot [each person’s foot plants itself differently on the ground with each running stride].
3. Take training slow
Once you have a plan and your gear in place, it’s time to put everything into action. The key with training is to take it slow and to listen to your body. This is definitely one sport where the saying, “No pain, no gain,” does not apply. The second you feel a muscle ache, stop running. Also, give yourself a decent amount of warm-up time — running provides a full-body workout, so every muscle group should be stretched. Another tip? Never take anti-inflammatory medicine before hitting the pavement [this could inhibit your body’s ability to notice an injury].
Nutrition is key
As your body begins building itself up for race day, it’s also important to keep an eye on your nutrition. Staying hydrated with lots of water will ensure your muscles stay lubricated and are less prone to tearing. You should also eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates, proteins and fats — this will help your muscles repair themselves and will give you the energy you need to get through a run.