Finishing a marathon is an enormous accomplishment no matter what your time is. Running the entirety of a twenty-six mile marathon is no easy feat. You don’t have to be a professional runner to complete one, but you do need to have massive amounts of dedication and discipline. If you want to finish the race, you’ll have to prepare effectively.
Following A Training Schedule
Make a plan. Keep your current abilities in mind when making a schedule of practice runs. If you’re considering running a marathon, you should already be able to run for at least 30 minutes without stopping. Your schedule should include what types of training exercises you want to do, how many miles you want to do in a single run, and recovery exercises.Give yourself plenty of time to accomplish your goals. Don’t expect instant results, especially when it comes to endurance training. You should set aside at least 16 to 20 weeks to train for a marathon.
Plan long runs. Schedule running one long run a week and make sure you actually do it. When you start training, your long run should be about 10 to 11 miles. Every week, try to schedule extra miles. By the sixteenth or seventeenth week of training, you should be able to run about 22 miles for the long run. Long runs are important for preparing your body system for the actual marathon.Try to run at a pretty slow pace during your long run. You should be able to comfortably hold a conversation when you run.
Cross train. Running too much can actually hurt your ability to perform in the marathon. You should spend some of your training days doing low-impact workouts that help you maintain your endurance and build upper body strength. If you don’t currently cross train, start with just one day of low-impact exercising a week. Then, bump that up to 2 or 3 days of low-impact exercising a week alternating with running days. Consider doing the following activities:
- Swimming and pool running
- Elliptical training& skating-inline
Take training seriously. Treat your long runs as practice runs for the real marathon. If you have to miss a day or two of training, adjust your schedule so that you’re only missing cross training or easy runs. When you do intense training runs, remember to have about a liter of water on hand and some gel nutrition packets. To avoid overdoing it, you can walk for part of a long run.
Be sure to taper off the distance of your long run a few weeks before the race so that your body can be at its best for the actual marathon.
Recovering From Your Workouts
Ice down your legs. You should ice down your shins, knees and any sore parts of your legs after each run or whenever you feel muscle soreness. The ice will reduce any swelling or bruising in your legs that could lead to a severe injury later on. Apply an ice pack or immerse your legs in an ice bath for about 6 to 12 minutes. Take a warm shower about 30 minutes after using the ice.
To make an ice bath, pour a few bags of ice into your bathtub or a container big enough to submerge your legs. Then add some cold water.
Try not to even think about your training on your recovery days. Your mind also needs time to recover so you don’t get burned out.
While you run, your body will build up a lot of lactic acid that will cause your muscles to be extremely sore and could lead to injury. Stretching helps decrease the buildup of lactic acid in your body and fortifies it against injury.
Using a foam roller on your muscles can help to stretch them out effectively.
Find the right size running stride for you to reduce the risk of injury. If you take short strides, you waste energy and cover less distance. But, if your strides are too long, you risk injuries like pulled muscles.
Getting The Right Nutrition
Eat a diet high in carbohydrates. While you’re training, 60 to 65% of your diet should come from mainly complex carbohydrates. Eat foods like potatoes, beans, yams, wheat bread, pasta and apples. While you’re running, eat carbohydrate gels every 30 to 45 minutes. Carbohydrates help your body produce energy for running so they’re an important part of a marathon runner’s diet.Your normal diet should consist of about two thousand to two thousand five hundred calories. During training, you should add an extra one hundred calories for each mile you run.
Eat protein. While you’re training, 12 to 15 percent of your calories should come from protein. Multiply your weight in pounds by 0.6 to determine how many grams of protein you need. Include chicken, eggs, fish, peanut butter, and lean beef in your diet. You can also get a protein supplement from a health food store if you have trouble meeting your daily requirements from your diet alone.Your body needs protein to repair your muscles after they tear during your workout. Make sure your body gets enough protein to rebuild your muscles every time you break them down.
Get plenty of calcium. Perhaps the most important part of preparing for a marathon is making sure your body can withstand the intense punishment it can inflict on your bones. Make sure you’re eating lots of calcium-rich foods like broccoli, collard greens, milk, yogurt, and salmon.You can also take a calcium supplement if you’re prone to fractures. Take 2000 mg of calcium a day.
Drink water. While you’re training, stay properly hydrated. Drink at least 8 eight-ounce glasses of water. While you’re running (a long run or the marathon), plan to drink 8 ounces of fluid every twenty minutes that you run. Avoid drinking too much water or you could get hyponatremia. Excess water could dilute your blood causing your cells to swell.A good way to judge if you’re hydrated is by testing the color of your urine. It should be bright yellow to clear in color. If it’s dark or cloudy, you should drink more water.
Getting The Right Gear
Compression socks are often used by marathon runners to reduce muscle soreness, but more research is needed.
Give yourself time to get your heart rate into a proper zone if you’re not used to intense running.If your rate gets to over ninety percent of your maximum heart rate, take a break and cool down for a bit.
Remember that if you choose to wear a belt in your training, you’ll feel lighter at the actual marathon. Account for the change in weight and try to run the marathon at the same pace that you practiced running.
Try not to wear high heels too often while you’re training for a marathon. High heels put extra strain on your legs and can lead to injury.
Find a comfortable running belt. The actual marathon will have tables set up at points in the race where you can grab cups of water. But, you’ll need a way to hydrate yourself during your training runs. Use a running belt to carry a few bottles of water with you while you run. The belt should be snug but not too restricting. Or, you can stagger bottles of water along your training path if you don’t want to run with water.Remember that if you choose to wear a belt in your training, you’ll feel lighter at the actual marathon. Account for the change in weight and try to run the marathon at the same pace that you practiced running.
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