If you have a marathon coming up in a few weeks and is curious on how to go about it, you’re on the right page. To successfully run a marathon, you need to prepare.
Lack of preparation will lower your performance and cause you mental and physical strain. Preparation includes the food you eat, drink, items to carry, how to train, and what to do during and after the race. Below are more details to help you prepare effectively and ace that marathon.
1. Find a training partner or join a training group
Training is a great way to prepare for a half marathon race. However, you need the motivation to keep you on track, and one of the ways to achieve this is by finding a training buddy or joining a training group.
They will encourage you by sharing their experiences and offer advice when you feel unmotivated. Training buddies will be your accountability partners on that chilly morning when you’ll be tempted to skip training. If you don’t have a buddy readily available, research your area to find them.
2. Build a base
Whether you are a novice, seasoned, or advanced runner, you need to build a base to raise or maintain your fitness level before the marathon. Establish a weekly mileage goal of at least five miles for thirteen weeks.
Doing less or longest runs might increase your injury risks. You could choose to reduce your training to eight to ten weeks whenever you feel like you’re in good shape for the race. Base building will help you beat fatigue and leverage your performance.
3. Eat healthy
Preparing your body for a half marathon race involves eating healthy. Complex carbohydrates such as starchy vegetables, bread, rice, and pasta will fill your energy stores and sustain you throughout the race.
Potassium-rich foods like bananas will shield you from muscle cramps, whereas oranges will restore electrolytes lost while sweating. To avoid mixing up stuff that might jeopardize your performance, have a nutrition plan that you can stick to before and during the marathon.
4. Design a plan
Training for a race is easy when you have a plan. Nevertheless, you have to be keen when selecting a plan to achieve effectiveness in your training. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced runner, there are various plans to choose from.
Pick a plan that favors your schedule. There are programs that might require you to go running every day, which might not be possible in your case. Also, consider a plan that goes hand in hand with your fitness level. Don’t be in a hurry to settle for a plan, but read through it carefully.
5. Create a checklist
It could be frustrating for you on the day of the run to find that one of the essentials is missing from your list. To avoid such inconveniences, gather all the requirements for the race and have a checklist that you can confirm as you load them into your car.
These materials include lubricants such as Vaseline, an extra pair of socks, a dry shirt, extra shoelaces, gloves, hat/cap, tissue, and additional safety pins. For the shoes, carry what you’ve been using during training. New shoes could strain or injure your feet.
6. Don’t overdo during training
While training for a marathon, choose quality over quantity. Doing long miles back to back might cause you injury. Do a mix of tempo runs in the middle of the week and long runs over the weekend. Quality training will help you build a strong base for your race.
7. Bring spare shoes
One pair of shoes is unlikely to sustain you for training. On the other hand, two pairs will help a great deal. First, it will reduce the chances of wear and tear, save you the cost of replacement, and give each shoe enough time to recover. Also, wearing different shoes helps you to avoid getting hurt. It might sound expensive to get two pairs of shoes at once, but it’s crucial for your health.
8. Do some research on the race
Before the race, you need to do some research to help you prepare both physically and mentally. Find out the drinks that they will offer during the race. You could choose to use them during your training or carry your own.
Check out any hills on the elevation map on their website and the location of porta potties in case you experience stomach upsets during the race. Search for aid stations, water stops, and pollution levels.
9. Establish mental fitness
Practicing mental fitness is as good as physical fitness. The former will help you build confidence and make your physical fitness effective. Try to visualize the actual race day and do what you would do on that day. Both mental and physical fitness go together. If one experiences strain, the other will too.
10. Stay hydrated
You have to stay hydrated in the pre, during, and post periods of your race. Dehydration will make you move slower. Take at least three to six ounces of water after every fifteen to twenty minutes.
If you’re training during summer when the temperatures are high, you’ll need to take in more water than usual. It will help you replenish what’s lost when sweating. The week before the marathon, drink plenty of water.
11. Practice cross-training to enhance endurance
Establish your endurance in preparation for the marathon by practicing cross-training. Aerobic activities that don’t involve running like rowing, jogging, cycling, and swimming, strengthen your core and upper body. It will help your body develop resistance, reduce injury risks, and fight fatigue when racing.
12. Take it easy during the aftermath
The race is now over, and it’s time for you to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. However, this is not time for you to sit back. Instead, engage in less intense cardio activities such as walking to help you recover.
Go for a massage if you can to relieve your body of stiffness. Avoid running for at least a month, but start at a slower pace as you rise when you resume. Running three to four times a week for thirty minutes a day, after the resumption, is a good start.
Practice makes perfect, so be sure to keep at it. Follow the tips given above for a better experience during the half marathon race. The latter can be stressful. Therefore, ensure that you take enough rest to avoid injuring your body or suppressing your immune system.