So you’re ready to take your daily run to the next level, and you’ve decided to tackle running a marathon! This can seem like a daunting task, so here are some suggestions to make it easier.
Make a plan
- Depending on your current fitness level, you should allow approximately six months to train for a marathon. This will give you ample time to properly prepare.
- Use the experts. Join a running club or a marathon training program. Many recreation centres, post-secondary schools and city or community programs offer training classes and clubs for information and support.
- If possible, hire a coach to help create a training plan.
- Consider finding a marathon partner to train with. You will be able to share a common goal while motivating each other and exchanging ideas.
Develop your training schedule
Do your research or work with your coach, club or partner to create a solid training schedule, but here are a few tips:
- Slowly work up your endurance level. A small increase in your distance every week will build your endurance and help prevent injuries.
- Cross-training is a vital part of your overall training. Try to create a workable balance between running and other cardio activities such as swimming and cycling in your weekly training routine. This will help prevent boredom as well as work different muscles for better overall fitness.
- Your body needs time to recharge, so remember to have rest days at least once a week.
- Keep your running routines varied. Incorporate smaller runs into your schedule of longer runs, and add hill climbing as part of your training.
Ensure you have the proper supports
- Every athlete needs adequate nutrition to fuel their endeavours, and runners are no exception. While in training mode, focus on consuming nutrient-rich foods, taken in four to six smaller meals per day. Women distance runners need to pay special heed to their calcium intake to maintain proper bone health.
- For maximum support and help in reducing sport injuries, always wear the proper footwear. Running shoes will wear out quickly when marathon training, so be sure to replace them often. As a basic guideline, they should be replaced at least every 600 kilometres or as needed.
- Invest in running attire. A cotton T-shirt and shorts will only make you uncomfortable during training. Instead, head to your local sports outlet for lightweight, stretchy clothing designed for athletes. As well, women who run long distances can be susceptible to chafing and nipple irritation, which can be prevented with the proper support bra.
Focus on the goal
- Don’t be overwhelmed by the magnitude of your decision. At times running a long distance can seem very daunting, but keep your chin up by breaking down a long run into specific parts — a warm-up, middle then cool-down run.
- If you have other responsiblities to attend to, just remember they will still be there when you get back, and after your run, you’ll feel better equipped to handle them.
- While running, visualize yourself taking part in the marathon. Feel your success, and stay positive.