Running in a marathon is probably one of the goals of many runners. However, the marathon distance (26.2 miles or 42 km) is not something that you should take lightly especially if you’re just a beginner in running. If you are planning to do a running marathon, it is important to establish a running plan which usually takes at least six months to complete. In this section you can find different tips for running a marathon.
Things to Prepare
There are a few things a beginner must really prepare before running. These tips will be truly helpful for someone who wants to succeed in running a marathon.
1. Medical Clearance. It is important that you undergo a medical check up with your doctor. Know whether your body is healthy enough to undergo the vigorous training.
2. Clothes, gear, and running shoes. It doesn’t matter if it expensive or not, as long as your things aid you in your training. The right clothes, shoes, and water bottle (an essential gear), should help you undergo the training easily.
3. Weather schedule. It is important that you know the seasons and types of weather in your place in order to plan your training schedule very well.
The Beginner’s Tasks
It is very important that you train your body for running. In order to do this, establish a running schedule. Three to four days a week of running is already good. You have to do this in a very progressive manner. Do not force yourself to do long runs right away. Undue physical distress might be experienced along the course of your training. You just have to build your endurance and stamina as your training progress.
The Half Marathon
When you already established that good, solid running base, test yourself whether you can really do long runs. One of the best ways to do this is by doing half marathon (13.1 miles). Half marathon is sometimes used as a confidence booster and a way to figure out the marathon goal time of a runner.
There is actually a training period for half marathon. It usually takes three months to complete. There are many running enthusiasts in the form of clubs or orgs that offer half marathon running training.
Just like the half marathon running plan prepared by coolrunning.com, you can be equipped with the right knowledge and skills after undergoing their four training phases: endurance, strength, speed, and tapering.
Notes for Nutrition and Hydration
For better running performance, proper nutrition and hydration must not be neglected. Here are some tips according to about.com:
Pre-run Eating: Make sure that you’re properly fuelled to your runs to get the most out of them. Try to eat a snack or light meal of about 250-300 calories about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you start running. Eating immediately before running may lead to cramping, and running on an empty stomach may cause you to run out of energy. Choose something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein.
Post-run Eating: Eat soon after your runs. In this way, you can reduce muscle stiffness and soreness. A good rule of thumb for post-run food is a ratio of 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbs. Some examples would be a bagel with peanut butter or a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt.
Long-run Nutrition: Make sure you drink sports drinks to replace sodium lost through sweat during runs longer than 90 minutes. Consume calories during your long runs and marathon since you’ll be burning through your glycogen storage. A basic rule of thumb is that you should be taking in about 100 calories after about an hour of running and then another 100 calories every 40-45 minutes after that. You may need more depending on your size and speed, so make sure you plan to carry extra food or gels. If you’re feeling hungry or low on energy, you can definitely eat “off-schedule”.
The Final Race
So let’s pretend that you’re already up for the final challenge, the marathon. These marathon running tips from coolrunning.com will surely be beneficial for you.
• On the day of the race, wake up at least three hours before the start of the race. This has two purposes: if you can eat something, it will give you enough time to have it mostly digested before the gun goes off. Second, it will help keep you from feeling sluggish on the starting line.
• During the first mile of the race, don’t waste a lot of energy darting through the masses if you’ve been placed with people who are running slower than you. Use the first 3-5 miles to get up to the people you plan on running with.
• Hydration should not begin the morning of the race. Instead, you should make a conscious effort to drink lots of water at least 48 hours before the start of your marathon. It takes the body that long to fully fill its H2O stores.
A marathon is not just an ordinary event. Fred Lebow, the co-founder of New York City Marathon says, “The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.”
Keep yourself motivated and focus only on your goal. Find various ways or activities to keep the challenge in all your running trainings. After all, hard work always pays off. So, what are you waiting for, get your running shoes now and start training for the dream marathon of your life!