Marathons. The very name can strike fear into the most seasoned gym-goer. Tis’ the season, and it’s the perfect time to start training for your very own personal marathon, whether it be 5k, the half-marathon or the full shebang at 42 kilometres. Whether you’re just starting to run or a marathon junkie, we’ve got tips to maximize your potential while pounding away at the pavement.
Whether you’re already running more than twenty kilometres per week or if you haven’t even laced up a pair of running shoes since elementary school gym, you can successfully train for and finish a marathon or half marathon. Believe in yourself.
Important Tips. The secret to successful marathon training and half-marathon training lies in the motivation, training with the right”and safe”attitude and proper nutrition. It’s time to toss away the days of running it off. Proper training takes more than just pushing yourself to your physical limits. Whether you are training for a marathon or half marathon, or simply trying to make running a part of your routine, it takes a lot more than good ol’ determination to get you through training and the big day. Let your mind route the path, not your body.
Goals. There are many reasons that people sign up to become members of the running craze. Make sure that you have a specific goal set before you start. If your only goal is to lose weight, be careful”you’re likely to quit! Just like so many people who join health clubs each year for that reason, you’ll be tempted to quit if you see little results in little time. You must have the right goals and reasons for running to be successful.
The Right Gear. Pamper your feet, they’re doing lots of work after all! Treat them to a good pair of running shoes. Visit a good running shoe store and talk to a salesperson to get the right fit for you. Running shoes will be the most important piece of gear. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all extravaganza. Shoes are designed to fit feet with different arches, running styles and more.
Nutrition. Carb-lovers rejoice! Carbohydrates are the premium fuel runners need. During half or full marathon training, 65 per cent of your total calories should come from carbs, especially complex carbs like whole wheat bread and pasta. Ten per cent comes from protein and 20-25 per cent should come from unsaturated fats. Fruits like avocados and dips like hummus are great choices. Proper nutrition keeps you on your feet moving forward, not on your back aching in bed from packing in the kilometres the day before.
Recovery. Recovery is the most-neglected part of training. Of course it’s important to run for marathon training, but recovery is just as important. Relax: you shouldn’t be running every day. Your body must rest between runs. That way it keeps getting stronger between each one. Take recovery days as serious as your running days.
Hydration. If you reach the point where you’re running an hour or more, carry fluids with you and remember to keep sipping at least every 20 minutes. Hydrating is key! Keep it simple, drink water to replace the fluids you lose during running, and turn to sports drinks for that extra boost of electrolytes during longer runs.
Five Kilometres. If you’re just starting out as a runner, the biggest obstacle is you! It can be intimidating starting to run, but it’s worth it. Many people start out with a walk-run strategy until they build up the proper endurance to remain running for five kilometres. This eases your body into the exercise and minimizes the chance of a running injury. Walk for three minutes, run for one and repeat. Gradually tone down the walk, and ante up the run! You’ll be amazed how quickly your body adjusts to running. Don’t worry about your pace just yet, focus on the distance, and a tempo increase will happen on its own.
Half Marathon and Full Marathon Training (21 km & 42 km). Before you begin half marathon training, you should be able to run for at least 30 minutes without stopping. You just need to get your body used to running.
Training. Your mileage should gradually increase each week. Completing a run of 15-16 kilometres about three weeks before the race will be enough to prepare you for the finish. You should then taper off in the final weeks leading up to the half marathon to allow your body to recover from training and so you will be strong on the big day.
The Big Day. Enjoy carb-loading the week leading up to the race. You will feel full of adrenaline after hearing that gun snap and leaving the starting line. Remember that distance running is about endurance and pace is critical. Keep your training in mind and maintain pace to save everything you have left for your big finish! The feeling of accomplishment crossing that line will make your dedication to training worth it.