Training for a marathon takes careful planning and some serious dedication. Whether you’re a first timer, or a seasoned marathon runner, training effectively will not only improve your performance, but is essential to reduce the strain on the body that comes from a 26 mile slog!
It’s not just about running. A great training plan includes strength, perfecting that posture and ensuring your endurance levels at operating on maximum.
We’ve outlined a few tips to ensure that your marathon training includes a variety of aspects.
The sooner you begin your marathon training, the better you will equip yourself against injury.
One of the most common causes of injury during a marathon is by building weekly mileage too soon, too fast. Start slow. Get used to running on the road in short distances, building up once it starts to feel comfortable even for you to push further.
Many first-timers start with a half marathon before going all in on the full. If you feel your body needs more time to build endurance and strength, start your training with a half marathon in mind, and go for the big guns when you’re ready.
Add a few short distance runs into your training plan, though spend time also working on strength training.
It’s worth spending some time with a personal trainer who will educate you on correct form when completing squats, deadlifts and lunges, all of which are great for strengthening the lower body...
Targetting the quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core, squats are great for developing leg strength to help you run faster on the flats, go through uneven terrains, power up hills, and build the capacity lengthen your stride.
Working the hamstrings, glutes, core, lower back and forearms, the deadlift can help improve posture, essential for long distance running and crucial in preventing injuries.
Strengthen the quads, glutes, calves and hamstrings whilst training your body to move forwards at an accelerated pace.
Calf raises are a crucial part of your strength training regime, helping to prevent fatigue and powering you through uphill climbs.
Set yourself at least 20 weeks training time to ensure your body is ready for the event. Build up your weekly mileage over time, increasing weekly. Three to five runs each week is enough to get your progress up. Whilst allowing you sufficient time for recovery.
Avoid increasing your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent week on week.
A Need For Speed
Speed work is a great way to improve your cardio performance and aerobic capacity, making your runs a tad more comfortable. Intervals and tempo runs are the most popular forms of speed work.
Intervals involve a set of repetitions, say a short, fast run with slow jogs in between. Try four sets of one mile runs at a fast pace, interspersed with five minutes of slow jogging or brisk walking.
Tempo runs are longer, typically 4–10 miles, at a more comfortable pace. The idea being to train the body to keep a consistent pace for a longer period of time.
Yes, you need rest. Give the body time to repair itself to avoid muscle strain and potential injury.
Fuel For Thought
Whilst there’ll be water stops along the marathon route, you may choose to carry water with you to stay hydrated. Invest in a hydration belt and wear it whilst training to get used to the feel of it on your body.
Around the 20 mile mark, many runners start to hit the wall. As the glycogen levels in your body start to deplete, the muscles become tired and you’ve feel the heaviness starting to set in.
Energy gels or chews are easy to carry and quick to digest on the move. Alternatively, an energy bar will help to restore the fuel for that final 6 mile stint. For any run over 2 hours, aim to get around 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour.
Incorporate these snacks into your training sessions to see how your body feels at certain stages and what your stomach can handle most easily to get you to the finish line.
Start focussing on your diet and hydration in the weeks leading up to the event. Make sure your body is well hydrated and avoid heavy, spicy or greasy foods several days before the race.