Running a marathon is not something you can do out of the blue. No one has just woken up one morning and decided to run the marathon on the very same day. Finishing this race requires training, persistence, patience, and preparations, so give yourself at least a month to prepare for such an adventure. A marathon will test your character, discipline, will-power, and fitness, so get ready to be challenged. If you have decided to finish this race, here are several ways you can prepare for the upcoming quest.
Talk to your doctor
Don’t underestimate marathon training for one second. It will challenge you on a physical and mental level, so put your safety first and contact your doctor beforehand. They can check your health and see whether you are in a condition to run a marathon. After they give you the green light feel free to start training. However, don’t forget to stay tuned into your body’s signals, and seek medical attention if you notice that something is off.
Find comfortable running shoes
You will be spending a lot of time in your running shoes, not just on the day of the race, but while you are training as well. Therefore, it is extremely important that you get the right ones. You can find useful reviews of running shoes online, but be sure to buy a pair only after you have tried them on. If possible, run a couple of minutes on a treadmill in the store to test them. Good shoes should provide you with support, fit you perfectly and help boost your performance while reducing the risk of injury. One of the things you should definitely avoid is buying a fancy pair of shoes the day before the race. All of your equipment should be tested before the big day, so you can run without having to worry about blisters or chafing.
Invest in quality equipment
When buying your running socks, underwear, shirts or shorts, keep in mind that you should opt for clothing that wicks sweat away and doesn’t irritate. Apart from your outfit you will also need a couple of gadgets that will make your experience a positive one. A running belt can come in handy since it has space for your gels, phone, and other things. You can also consider investing in a device that will track your pace, distance, calories burned, time and more.
There is one simple way you can get better at running longer – you need to run longer. If you want to increase your stamina you need to run three to four times a week, with longer runs on the weekends. Gradually you will be able to build your mileage and prepare yourself for the big race. You can find great training plans online, so do the research and find one that suits your level of running experience.
Build your strength
Cardio exercises are not the only workouts you will need to get prepared for a marathon. To finish the race you need to strengthen your legs, core, and upper body. With strength training you will be able to maintain good posture and avoid fatigue during long runs. Although you can join a gym, you can also do these workouts at home. Strength training includes lunges, squats, pushups, dips and pull-ups, so you don’t need any kind of special equipment to complete a session. However, if you really want to achieve the best results schedule a couple of sessions with a professional trainer and learn how to properly perform these workouts.
Match your race course in training
When creating your workout plan you will need to keep your marathon course in mind. If the race includes running up and down the hill, training on the course that is completely flat won’t get you prepared for the big day. Therefore, try to find a similar course, or better yet, train on the race course if possible.
Try speed workouts
If you are a marathon rookie, you should focus on finishing the race and not the speed. However, if you want to improve your running pace you can include some speed workouts into your regime. After you have built your stamina you can try running short distances at or near your top speed. Keep in mind that these are high-intensity workouts, so don’t engage in them more than twice a week.
Allow your body to recover
Your body needs up to 48 hours to recover after a long run or high-intensity workouts, so make sure you get enough rest. If you are overtraining you are putting your health at risk and you can easily end up hurting yourself. Therefore, give your body enough time to recover and avoid making a rookie mistake.
Steer clear of junk food
Now that you are racking up the miles you can eat whatever your body desires, right? Well, not really. If you wish to boost your performance and fuel your body properly, make sure your diet includes the right mix of high-quality carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. On the other hand, avoid junk food, sweetened drinks, and alcohol.
Find a training buddy
Training for a marathon can get boring and lonely, so exercise with a friend who shares your goals. This way your preparations can become more fun, encouraging and challenging. In addition, rather than hitting that snooze button every morning you will feel obligated to get up and meet your workout companion. If none of your friends are interested in marathon training, find a running club in your area.
Although you will feel like quitting at times and every now and then your whole body will ache, the feeling of accomplishment after finishing the race will be well worth it.