It’s marathon season and almost everybody seems to be running one. You want to but are you marathon ready? If you start training now, you may well be by next season. Try our training tips for marathon beginners and get started.
- Announce it out loud: The race remains a pipe dream till you start talking about it. Making your intentions clear and telling everyone who will listen – family, friends, colleagues and even the boss – will make you accountable.
- Get the doctor’s OK: It is extremely important to get the doctor’s go-ahead before you decide to train for a marathon. A marathon can be extremely grueling and can put a great deal of strain on your heart, lungs and muscles.
- Get the gear: Get yourself proper running gear – shoes, socks, tees and shorts/tracks. Choose your running shoes – road-running, trail-running or cross-training – extremely carefully. Don’t forget that a pair of running shoes is good for 400 to 500 miles of running, which means about 3-4 months if you run regularly.
- Make your goal specific: It’s not enough to aim to finish 42 km (a full marathon) or 21 km (a half marathon). Figure out why you want to run the race: To celebrate turning 30? To work towards a fitter you? To get outdoors more often? A specific goal will help you formulate the right running training plan.
- Prep your body: Readying your body for a marathon isn’t easy. It involves months of hard work and training. Learn about marathon training for beginners online or consult a coach. Work on gradually increasing the distance that you run – aim for an increase of about 10% every week. Don’t forget to eat well and keep yourself hydrated.
- Be realistic: Your plan should be realistic. Make allowances for off days and times when you just can’t run. Figure out what works for you and your family. Slowly, bad runs will turn average and average will become good.
- Never overdo things: Make sure that you’re not going too fast too furious. Running tips are fine, but pushing your body too hard may lead to a burnout and discourage you. Mix up your training with rest to ensure that you stay motivated and injury-free.
- Focus on gaining strength: Cross training will provide your body with endurance and intensity, both greatly needed for running a marathon. Do speed work – running faster for a while then going back to a slower pace – to improve your time. Try high intensity interval training plans such as Tabata to get faster and fitter.
- Think positive: The importance of mental preparation can’t be stressed enough when prepping for a big race. Focus and condition your mental energy to make yourself believe that you can climb that mountain.
- Give yourself a treat: Results will never be immediate so don’t be too harsh on yourself. Take time off now and then and allow yourself a treat or two. After all, you want this journey to be fun!
Train regularly and you’re sure to reach the finish line when you run the marathon. Don’t forget to taper down a week before the big race. Best of luck!