How to Train for a Marathon?
How to Train for a Marathon?
Want to start training for a marathon? Or need some quick tips?
Our team member and veteran marathon runner, Tracy Biney, is giving us all the tips she uses when training for a marathon.
1. Get a training plan & Make long runs count
Let's firstly start with getting yourself to invest in good running shoes and socks that suit your feet.
Get and stick to a training plan especially if this is your first race, your body won't have been through anything like this so planning is key.
running long teaches your body to become more efficient at burning fat for fuel, Spending time on your feet can be a great confidence booster so on race day you can go the distance.
2. Plan your routes and Practice holding yourself back
To build your fitness slowly you must build up your fitness gradually as this is the best approach, start off with a 3-mile run and after a few weeks when you're used to these miles then increase it to 6 miles, then 9 and so on.
You have a plan of the miles you need and want to do but it's not as easy as walking out the door and running. One thing that makes running interesting is planning different routes and taking in the scenery while getting in your planned miles.
It is so easy to get carried away on race day! You may have a burst of adrenaline on the day and this can make you feel invincible for the first few kilometres but this would result in a slow and sometimes painful finish. The smartest way is to spread your efforts over the duration of the race and this is something you should practice in training.
3. Drinking and prepare the muscles - diet is key.
Eat a protein-rich diet as this will maintain your strength, but drinking water regularly and staying hydrated leading up to a marathon is absolutely essential.
Stretching and preparing your muscles properly before and after runs respectively is also crucial.
You are putting strain on your body which it is not used to so conditioning and preparing your muscles as well as warming down can reduce your risk of injury and stiffness following the days after a run.
Whatever weather conditions are on a race day you always need to take on fuel as even just mild dehydration can impair your performance and cause cramping. Also, take on board some carbohydrates in order to prevent what we call "hitting the wall", we use these in a form of sports drink or even jelly beans/jelly babies. Again this does need practising in training so you find what suits you.
Try using the same sports drink you train with on race day too.
4- Race rehearsal & taking on other hobbies
Try running at the time of when the marathon will be as you need to practice what works best for you with breakfast so you are then familiar with what works for you and your body will be ready to run at that time.
Running will help improve your fitness, but it is always good to take on another hobby like Cross Training which will increase your stamina and resistance training and will help your performance when running.
5- Taper Time
Now is time to get some good nights sleep ready for your marathon.
In order to recover from all the hard training and to get to the start line feeling fresh, you really should reduce your training in the final 2-3 week before the race. 2-3 weeks is ideal so you don't start to lose fitness. This is called Tapering.
We tend to do:
- 3 week until the race - 80% of normal mileage
- 2 weeks until the race - 60% of normal mileage
- The final week until the race - 40% of normal mileage.
Whilst you are reducing it is also good to keep some intensity there to avoid risking the feeling of sluggishness on race day.