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We have a great guest post today by Hayden Stewart from Orangetheory Fitness. Hayden discusses training for a marathon — and how to do it properly. Enjoy!
Congratulations! You’ve finally decided to train for your first marathon. Surely, training and completing this 26.2 mile run may be the most physically taxing event you’ll ever do. If you are looking for some tips to help you begin this incredible journey, check out the information below.
Before you begin your training, you will need to invest in some running gear. A good pair of running shoes is a must, but you should also consider investing in quick drying running clothes, an armband to hold a smartphone, safety lights for training runs after dark, Body Glide to help with chafing, great socks, and other miscellaneous items.
Always commit to the race before you begin your training. If you have already paid your money and saved the date on your calendar, it will be much harder to back out of your training. This is your first step in being mentally prepared.
If you have never considered yourself a runner before, your first training shouldn’t involve distance. Instead, work up to the ability to run or jog for 30 minutes without discomfort or pain.
Once you have 30 minutes down cold, increase your weekly mileage by several miles each week. Remember to do this gradually. It can be tempting to try and run as far as you can every single day. However, doing this increases your risk of injury and may put you out of commission on the day of your race.
During marathon training, you will need to eat plenty of carbohydrates for fuel. However, make sure you also eat moderate amounts of protein to rebuild your muscle. Also, during your runs, sample different energy drinks and energy gels to see which ones help your body perform effectively.
Once a week, schedule a long run. These are the runs that will ultimately stretch your body into being able to complete a marathon. Also, make sure you can take a rest day after each of your long runs. Your long runs may start at five to six miles. Your final long run should be somewhere around 20 miles. This should be about 2 weeks before your marathon.
Before your marathon, gradually decrease your weekly mileage. Also, grant yourself a few rest days before the actual marathon. Tapering will give your body the strength it needs to complete your marathon.
The last step is to trust your training as you run your marathon. Remember, it’s normal to have jitters before the race. However, once you start, your training will take over. Also, keep in mind even casual training can result in a marathon finish. It is simply the quality of the training that will determine how painful or enjoyable that marathon finish will be. Keeping this in mind and trusting your training will give you the mental toughness you need to finish the race.
Completing a marathon can be one of the most exhilarating events of your life. It also can be a surprisingly achievable goal. Finishing a marathon can also get you hooked into running more often, and it can also give you the confidence you need to tackle other life challenges. Use the above tips to start your marathon training today!