Running a marathon is for a lot of runners the ultimate goal, but preparing for a marathon and the 26.2 mile- (42,195 kilometer) race should not be taken lightly.
It requires months of preparation and training the body and mind, staying focused and positive is as important as training your body and a good preparation increases the chance of completing the marathon.
So what are the best tips to prepare for a marathon?
Take your time
Give your body at least three months to get in shape. Your muscles and tendons need to be able to handle a high volume running program. You should also start with a 6 to 8 mile run and slowly increase your mileage by 10 to 15 percent per week.
Buying the right running shoes is an important element in the preparation for a marathon. You need shoes that suit your type of foot, running style and level of experience. Staff in running stores can help you picking the right shoes to run.
Dress appropriately for the weather, especially during the winter months. Wear socks and shoes that feel comfortable and keep your feet warm during cold weather, but also keep your feet dry.
It is also important for your own safety to be visible during running and reflective running gear certainly helps.
Do not wear too many layers during the race. Sweating consumes a lot of energy and often it is warmer than you think!
Do not focus on speed
Focus more on making your miles or kilometers than about setting new records. Your body needs to get used to a long distance.
Rest, Eat and Drink
Between your runs, your body should rest, because it needs time to recover. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before and that you are well-rested at the start of a marathon. Resting in combination with eating more carbohydrates and less fat during the last days before the marathon ensures that your muscles are completely filled with your ‘super-fuel’ carbohydrates.
On the day of the marathon, you should eat your breakfast well in advance and it is better not to eat too much fiber. It is better to eat a slice of bread for instance; this has as much energy, but is easier to digest.
Drink up to one hour before the marathon and then drink during the race. A marathon has so-called water stations and sponge stations and make sure you know in advance where these stations are. When you drink, take big gulps, so that you get the least air in your body.
Warm up and Race
A good warm up for the marathon is essential, but stretch your muscles only lightly. During the 26.2 mile race, run your own pace. Constant running is the most effective way to complete a marathon, a lot of people start too fast. Stay focused during the race and note obstacles or spectators suddenly crossing the street.
Good luck with your marathon preparation!