People run marathons because they thrive on the feeling of accomplishment they receive after completing them. They are a true test of endurance, and if prepared for well in advance, they can really be life changing for people as they overcome a personal challenge.
Training for a marathon however, is something that takes a good amount of time and preparation. It’s certainly not easy and will not be a walk in the park. Many people actually give up during the training stage as they find it more difficult the further they run, or perhaps they lose motivation.
Therefore, if you are thinking of running a marathon, but not sure where to begin, or how to train – we don’t want you to give up. We have found 5 ways on how to train for a marathon, that will leave you with the winning mindset.
Consult a Physician
Before you even begin the training process, if you are a beginner it is especially important to consult with an expert first to really find out what you’re getting your body into. This will be helpful to determine any potential physical limits by first examining your current health state and finding out what needs to be improved or changed to get yourself up to the level of stamina you need.
Speed work is another optional factor which can be incorporated into your training program. This can help to increase your aerobic capacity and make your runs feel a lot easier. The two common types of speed work are tempo runs and intervals.
Tempo runs are the longer ones, and usually last in the range of 4-10 miles depending on which stage of training you are at. This workout will teach your body and brain to sustain challenging work over a longer period of time.
Intervals, on the other hand, are sets of repetition of specific short-distance runs, at a faster pace than what you would usually do, with a few recovery jogs in between. This could be running for 3 x 1 mile repeats, and then 5 minutes of slow jogging or walking between them.
Start Running a Little and Build Up the Mileage As You Go
If you are a regular runner or jogger, you will probably already have a daily running routine. Whether you are a beginner or a regular, if you want to train for a marathon you will need to start early. This means running a little every day and building up some consistency; start off with less mileage and go a little further each day until you become stronger in your running.
You could even then participate in smaller races, such as 5-10Ks or even half marathons. This would be an excellent way to prepare both physically and mentally for a first marathon.
When training for a marathon, you will be training your body to be at its fittest, and in order to truly be at your fittest, this means you must consume the correct food and drinks in order to give your body the nutrients it needs to prepare.
For a true “marathon diet,” you should try to avoid alcohol as this is something that will slow you down in your progress.
Foods that are rich in carbohydrates like pasta, oats and rice can be excellent fuel for training sessions. Greens, oily fish and high protein-rich foods are also recommended to consume. A variety of fruits and vegetables are also crucial to keeping the vitamins flowing and helping you feel better.
In order to find the most suited diet for you, it could be useful to consult a nutritionist for a diet plan if you are serious about doing it right; this might help you not to make any mistakes, and really get the results you need when it comes to the marathon.
Hydration is super important when training for a marathon as you do not want to become de-hydrated. When carrying out so much extra running work, dehydration can happen and too often runners do not hydrate enough from the beginning, and so this leads them to quitting early as they haven’t prepared sufficiently.
It’s important to drink after finishing your run and important to drink regularly during the day. Drinking immediately before you start your training will be too late as your body needs time to absorb all the liquids. You can “recharge” your fluid levels by drinking water while running your marathon.
Replenish Lost Electrolytes
Consuming drinks which include electrolytes is generally better than water on its own. This is because they actually help to replace any salt which is lost in sweat as well as fluid. Many sport drinks contain large amounts of sugar; however, there are a few low-sugar options available out there. If you have trained heavily, a drink which includes protein will aid in a quicker recovery time.
Best Water Amount for Me?
The amount you drink really depends on your sweating. It is recommended to try and drink more water than the amount you sweat in order to fully replenish yourself.
Take Time to Rest Well and Relax
With all the extra physical work, it can sometimes take a toll on your mental health too. This is completely normal and many runners have stated this during the preparing stages. This means you should take adequate time to rest well and relax. Depending on your budget you could perhaps book in a weekly massage to remove any stress, or even go trips to the countryside to breath in some fresh air and take it easy. Whatever makes you feel relaxed and helps prevent stress, do it – you will deserve it.
Training for a marathon is definitely a big challenge, but it is a challenge which can be enjoyed when you go about it in the right way. If you follow the advice given in this article, we believe you will be well on your way to training correctly, and finally accompany your goal of running a marathon.