It can take a lot of preparation to run a marathon. If you plan to tackle this significant challenge, you should ensure that you make a comprehensive plan to help you succeed. You should consider how long it will take you to get to the appropriate fitness level, what kind of obstacles may stand in your way and whether your overall health is suited to such a long race.
It is best to talk to others who have run marathons and get their help and advice on preparing. You could consider training with a friend to give you company during your runs and on the race itself. Here are some of the best ways to get your body ready to run your first ever marathon.
Talk To Your Doctor
The first thing you should do is discuss your plans with your physician. They may recommend you get a thorough physical based on your age and health history. There are some conditions that may make running a marathon more of a challenge, but with proper knowledge and treatment, they can be managed. Always listen carefully to the advice of your doctor and heed any warnings they give you.
Get The Right Gear
If you plan to run a marathon, having the right equipment is crucial. You will need suitable running shoes, clothes for all weathers and water bottles, as well as additional items you may need such as compression socks and a fitness tracker. To start, you just need the right clothes, socks and running shoes.
It is best to try on shoes in person to ensure a good fit. Many sporting goods stores offer free shoe-fitting, so it could be beneficial to take advantage of this. Always choose high-quality shoes – after all, these shoes will take a beating while you train and run the marathon, so you will need shoes that will be durable.
Start Training Early
If you have never run before, it is a good idea to start training at least six months before the date of the marathon itself. It may help to give yourself up to a year, particularly if you aren’t in great shape to start with.
Give Yourself Recovery Days
The key to training for a marathon isn’t just in the running – it is in knowing when to rest as well. Rest days allow your muscles to recover from strenuous workouts and prevent you from burning out mentally. Rest also helps protect against injury.
Carry Running Gels During The Race
Running gels will offer you some fast energy when you start to flag during the race. Carrying fuel like running gels can be invaluable if you start to feel yourself hit a wall during the race. You could also take pieces of an energy bar or fruit as an alternative fuel.
Drink Plenty Of Water In The Days Running Up
You must ensure that you are adequately hydrated, both on the day and in the week running up to the marathon. Hydration is crucial when you are training and in general, but keeping your hydration levels high in the run-up to the marathon is essential. Marathons will usually have water stations throughout the race, but it may also be helpful to take water with you. You can get water bottles that are easy to hold in your hand or water bladders that you can strap to your body.
Choose The Right Supplements
Supplements help you to achieve the best in performance. Many runners swear by various supplements to help them train, recover and perform well. You should consider a variety of supplements and test them out well before the marathon.
It is best to have your supplement regimen down early on. BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) are some of the most important supplements you could take to prepare for a marathon. You can find more information on the benefits of leucine vs isoleucine from the experts at Ingredient Optimized.
Keeping your motivation levels high is vital to achieving success in your marathon. The training and event itself can be grueling, but the rewards are well worth the hard work. You should keep your reasons for competing in a marathon at the forefront of your mind to stay on track.
Eat A High Carb Breakfast
You should eat a breakfast high in carbs on the day of the race. Avoid eating too close to the marathon itself – it is best to eat several hours before the race. Consider getting up early if the race begins early in the day to eat well in advance. Simple foods like bagels or oatmeal are excellent choices for the marathon day.
Use Lotions To Prevent Blisters
You should treat your feet and other areas prone to blisters before you start the race. Using lotions like Vaseline can be a great way to prevent blisters. Apply liberally to the areas that may be affected to ensure full protection. The aim is to ensure your recovery is as easy as possible. Blisters can make the race and recovery all the harder.
Take It Easy The Week Before
It is essential to take it easy in the week or two before the race. You should still run regularly but reduce the lengths of your run by at least 50% in the week before. Taper off slowly in the weeks before the marathon to boost your performance on the day and allow yourself to recover fully before the big day.
Get Into The Right Headspace
Running a marathon is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. As mentioned above, regular rest is crucial to keep your headspace healthy and avoid burnout. During the race, it can be beneficial to stay in the moment using mindfulness techniques. If you begin to struggle, you could start breaking down the following stages of the race in your head. Focus on the next five minutes, then the next and the next. Remind yourself why you’re competing in the marathon and be kind to yourself. Practice speaking to yourself with compassion as you train for your marathon so that the practice becomes easier. If you start to struggle, avoid being critical of yourself and instead focus on how far you’ve already come.