I’m planning to run my first marathon this year, so I’ve been pestering my friends and family, and scouring the internet, for marathon training tips. Some are simple and common-sense, but others I was surprised and delighted to learn. If you’re considering running a marathon, too, keep reading! Here are the best marathon training tips I’ve found…
1. Get the Right Trainers
This is one of the most important marathon training tips, and I’ve heard it over and over from every marathon runner and personal trainer I know. If your shoes or socks bother you now, while you’re training, they’re going to make it impossible to run on marathon day. Get the right trainers, socks, and attire, and get them broken in, before the big day.
2. Start Slow
Remember this marathon training tip when it feels like you’re just not making as much progress as you’d like: you have to start slow, especially if you’re just not an experienced runner (like me… so inexperienced!)… gradually add time and distance to your run, and if possible, run a half-marathon about four to six weeks before your big marathon.
3. There’s an App for That
If you’re unsure of your pace or distance, no worries. There’s an app for that! My favorite is Nike + GPs, which costs about $2 to download to your iPod. I also like the Couch-to-Marathon apps, because they help you break into running at a healthy pace.
4. Get the Right Tunes!
Speaking of iPods, it’s also important to have the right music to motivate you while you’re training for your marathon! I love anything by CAKE and of course, there’s always “We Are Young” by Fun and “I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones… go with whatever gets you to that final lap or quarter-mile! This is my own favorite marathon training tip!
5. Feed the Beast
According to Runner’s World Magazine, it’s important to load up on carbs, not fats, in the three days before the marathon. One of their best marathon training tips is to increase your carbs (like pasta and potatoes and rice) before the big run, but not your overall calorie count. So it’s important to make simple switches to get your energy-providing carbs, like choosing a pasta with red sauce over pasta with a cream-based sauce. In the training phase, you’ll want to make healthy eating choices, ones that balance the need for carbs before marathon day with lean proteins.
6. Keep Hydrated
If you don’t already know how, learn to drink on the run. While you’re doing your 26.2, you’ll be at risk for becoming dehydrated, so simply drinking up before or after the run isn’t good enough. And remember that while you’re running a marathon, water won’t be enough to keep you going — you’ll need sports drinks.
7. Find a Friend
I’m not a runner. It’s not easy for me. So when I feel like I just can’t lace up my trainers and go, I call a friend in the neighborhood I know will run with me, or at least encourage me to run. If you feel the same way (unmotivated at times), find a running buddy. He or she can encourage you, and when he or she is having a hard day, you can encourage them, too!
8. Listen to Your Body
If your body is injured, or dehydrated, or underfed, you’ll know… but only if you listen! In fact, your body can also tell you if you’re wearing the wrong shoes or gear, if you’re pushing yourself too hard, and if you’re just not ready to run a marathon yet. Don’t risk an injury… listen to your body!
9. Set a Reasonable Goal
My goal is to run a marathon this year. Since I’m only now just starting, this is a pretty reasonable goal. I couldn’t possibly be ready to run a marathon this summer… that’s just too soon! Be prepared to spend about 20 to 24 weeks training for a marathon. If you’re already a runner, you know you can train in a lot less time… but if you’re a newbie, like me, you need to set a reasonable goal.
10. Sign up!
This is perhaps the most common sense marathon training tip, but I’d have forgotten about it if someone hadn’t reminded me. You actually have to register for most marathons, so get to it, love! Once you’ve set your goal, find a marathon around your goal date, and register! Then mark in the calendar and begin the big countdown.
With so many marvelous marathon training tips to get you started, there’s no excuse for sitting on the couch, is there? Lace up your trainers, grab your iPod and your Gatorade, and go! Which of these running tips do you think will help you most? Or do you have another good marathon training tip to share?
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