With a New Year starting, many people’s thoughts turn to marathons, either as a repeat competitor or as part of a New Year’s resolution. Training to run a marathon should be a rewarding and safe experience, however, preparing for a marathon requires a lot of preparation, discipline, and commitment, which can often feel overwhelming and in some cases result in injury. This is especially true if you are new to running marathons. A marathon is both a physical and a mental challenge for which you need to be prepared.
Here are some of our best tips around the best way to train for a half or full marathon.
Your marathon training schedule will depend on your level of training. One basic principle that should apply to all runners is to alternate easy days of training with hard days, which include long runs or speed work. Incorporating hill runs and strength training should be part of a comprehensive training program. But don’t forget rest days within your training program, these are essential when it comes to optimising marathon strength training.
Whilst it’s important for you to be able to train and run by yourself, finding a partner or group who is also preparing for a marathon can provide support, advice, structure, and motivation. There’s no need to train alone!
An important part of training safely and effectively for a marathon is warming up and cooling down after every single run. The reason is that by properly warming up and cooling down, you can prevent some serious injuries and get the most out of your workout or race. This will help you to maximise your performance, and get more out of your marathon training.
To make sure you warm up fully beyond you begin working out, we recommend the following:
As soon as you finish a workout or race after a training period, you should begin your cool down, which not only helps your body recover but also prepares it for its next workout.
To maximise your marathon training program, you need to make sure you’re putting thought into your hydration and nutrition; these are key success factors in your training runs and race. During training, make sure you have a regular fluid intake, without waiting until you feel thirsty to have a drink.
Weighing yourself before and after a run is a simple way to monitor your fluid balance. Losing more than 3-4% of your body weight means you may not be replacing enough of your fluid losses. Another easy way to monitor your hydration is to take note of the colour of your urine – if it is anything beyond a slight hint of yellow, you aren’t hydrated enough. Ensuring you keep your hydration levels up is key to aid your marathon performance, and also to prevent injury.
You should also plan to eat during training runs, and as part of your wider marathon running training plan. Energy bars, gels, fruit, and sugary snacks are all good options for boosting your energy after training. What’s more, throughout your martial arts training, it may be useful to test out what quantity and combination of food and drink are most effective for you so that you can replicate it on the day of the marathon.
Be sure to wear high-quality running shoes while training for a marathon. When dressing for your runs, you should wear less clothing than you think you’ll need. If you overdress (and overheat) you will increase your chances of dehydration by preventing your body from properly cooling down. As well as this, having correctly fitting footwear and socks helps to prevent blisters.
Throughout the training process aches and pains should be expected. If any ache or pain lasts for more than 3 days, you should seek the advice of your doctor or another qualified health professional, such as a physiotherapist.
One of the most important aspects of your marathon training session is the tapering period, which is usually the last 23 days before the marathon race. During this time, you should run less, rest and fuel.
To discuss any elements of your marathon training program, get in touch with the Physiotherapy team at LycaHealth.