Home Exercise Blog

Top 5 Tips To Prepare and Train For A Marathon

marathon

Running | November 8, 2013 | By

You’ve bitten the bullet and signed up for a marathon. Whatever your reason or rhyme, it is normal to feel a little nauseous when faced with the overwhelming task of running for 26 miles and 365 yards. Fear not, though, as we’ve compiled a few top tips to help you prepare for your marathon, run it, and recover afterwards.

Running a Marathon

Take one step at a time

When training, start from short distances, and slowly increase your mileage. If you’re a new runner and feel overwhelmed by your task, take a look at this NHS plan, designed to get you from the couch to 5k in 9 weeks. Once you’ve developed your core fitness and you’re able to run for long periods without feeling out of breath, increase the distance of your run by around 10-15% each week, and try doing interval training and hill runs to increase speed, strength and endurance. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you may want to run everywhere, but remember to maintain a slow pace on distance runs, as it’s essential that you get used to spending time on your feet.As a rule of thumb,your pace on long distance runs should be thirty seconds to two minutes slower than your average training pace.

Rest, breathe and relax

Even when you’re on a roll, it’s essential that you give your body time to rest. Recuperating is just as essential as training, as your muscles need replenishing, and your body needs to regain all its strength. To avoid putting too much strain on your body, always alternate high-speed days with lighter training days, or even rest days: taking some time to relax and recover will do wonders for your fitness and your motivation.

Dress for Success

A marathon outfit needs to be comfortable, and withstand the elements for the duration of the race: for example, you can expect your body to go through extreme contrasts of temperature, from cold in the pre and early stages of the race, to very hot once you get into your stride. A seamlessly constructed top will help you reduce friction, and sweat wicking shorts will give you breathability and protection. It’s not just your body that will be uncomfortable though, as you will probably experience sore eyes, as you will dehydrated and constantly focusing on the path before you. If you wear glasses, think about wearing contact lenses for the duration of the race, as they will feel more comfortable than your specs. Online contact lens retailers like NextDayLenses.com offers next day delivery –  one less thing for you to worry about!

Don’t fear the long walk

Marathon TrainingCongratulations! You’ve finished the marathon, you’re feeling jubilant, but all your body wants to do is crawl into bed and sleep for days. However, there’s one more challenge you still have to face: the walk from the finish line to the area where runners are allowed to relax. Although this simple stroll may feel like torture, it’s actually a blessing in disguise. Organizers design the post-race walk to help runners flush out the lactic acid in their bodies, and gradually get back to a resting state.

Relax and Recuperate

Once you’ve conquered the marathon, it’s important that you resume your training one step at a time, and avoid running long distances for a while. It typically takes a minimum of two to three weeks for the body to fully recover from the strain of running 26 miles, and if you push yourself too hard, you may increase your risk of injury. Experts advise resting one day for every mile you run in marathon, so you should steer clear of heavy running for at least 26 days. As 1972 Olympic marathon gold medallist Frank Shorter once said: “You’re not ready to run another marathon until you’ve forgotten the last one”.

No one knows who once said “the thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over, the pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last forever”, but this quote is definitely a mantra for many marathon runners. Remember to take it easy, train responsibly, dress appropriately, and revel in the glory of running 26 miles: regardless of your ranking, you’re achieving a great result, and have worked hard for it. Most importantly, good luck – it will all be worth it in the end!