The easy way to 42k: 6 marathon training tips
If you are planning to run a marathon you will need to dedicate time, preparation and training to it. Dakota Murphey shares six tips to help you make the most of your marathon training.
Invest in the right kit
What are you going to wear for your marathon? It’s amazing how many people train and plan to compete in an old t-shirt and shorts. Wearing the wrong running gear can be disastrous, making training harder, more unpleasant and reducing your motivation.
It’s important that you choose specialist clothing, such as from sports clothing retailer Sports Fitness, including shirts made with breathable fabrics to stop you become too sweaty and clammy. Make sure your shorts or leggings do not cause rubs where the skin comes together. It can be a good idea to wear tight-fitting Lycra shorts under looser shorts to prevent skin rubs.
You also need to choose a good quality running shoe, and ensure it’s in good running condition for the race. The only thing worse than wearing a worn out running shoe for a marathon is to put on brand new shoes just before the big event.
Get into a routine
The key to training for a marathon is to get out and run regularly – and the best way to do this is to get into a routine. Whether you run every other day or on specific days of the week, you need to force yourself to do this every single time. Marathon training can be hard work and it’s not always easy to stay as motivated as you felt on day one. But if you’re in a routine where you know you have to go out and train at certain times, it makes it easier to get through the tougher patches. Remember, the training will pay off in the end, so set your routine and reap the benefits.
Set achievable goals
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer scale of a marathon. At a shade over 42 kilometres (or around 26 miles), trying to train for such a task can feel like a real mountain that you need to climb. Initially, you shouldn’t be thinking about your time or speed over the whole distance, you need to focus on much smaller, achievable goals like improving your performance over one mile.
Even if you try to think positively about the scope of the task, it will take you out of the moment and stop you from focusing on the actual task of running. Your training should be a slow-build towards the greater goal.
Only compete against you
Whether you’re training with a friend or a group, or just keeping up with the progress of others, it can be easy to be discouraged about what you’re currently achieving. But it’s important to remember that in a marathon, the only person you’re really racing against is you.
Even if you are an elite runner who could place well in the race, thinking about what your competitors are doing will only act as a distraction from your goal. You need to focus on your performance and your game plan if you want to succeed and put in a good time.
Allow for recovery time
One of the most underrated aspects of marathon training is giving your body the necessary recovery time that it needs. Ultimately, a lot of this comes down to getting enough sleep. You might be used to getting by on seven hours or so per night, but once you’re training for a marathon you need to be giving your body a chance to heal itself. Make sure that you are getting nine hours of sleep every night, and especially during those days leading up to races or trial runs.
Food and drink
While you’re running your marathon you need to stay hydrated and get plenty of energy. So get used to timing your hydration and fuel so that you’re taking on enough to stay at your best. Running out of energy will just result in your body shutting down.