Maybe you’ve run a few 5K races and you are ready to take on a bigger challenge or maybe you want to shoot for glory right away. Running a marathon is no easy feat. You’ll be taking on more than 26 miles in one sitting. If your experience with extended races is minimal, use these tips and tricks to help you get ready for your first marathon race.
First and foremost, you’ll need to plan ahead. If you’ve never run a race in your life, you can’t jump into a marathon in a few weeks. The amount of time you’ll need to prepare will vary based on fitness and experience level but on average you should be giving yourself about 4 to 5 months.
5. Bring a Friend
Why go at this alone? Asking a friend to commit to the marathon with you will be excellent motivation. It’ll also boost your progress through friendly competition. Studies show that when you bring along an accountability buddy to any fitness goal, you’re more likely to achieve your goal. Besides, running 26 miles by yourself can get lonely.
Again, this will vary based on your fitness level but you need to build a structured fitness plan in order to progressively prepare yourself for the task ahead. When you build your training program, base it on what you have already accomplished. For example, let’s say you regularly run a distance of 5K (3 miles), that’s where you’ll start. Every week, try to increase your distance mile by mile. The goal is to run MORE than 26 miles before race day.
Training is hard work. What’s more, it’s tough on your muscles, joints, and bones. Nutrition is necessary for the repair, maintenance, and protection of your body. Having a great training program isn’t enough. You also need to supplement your training with excellent nutrition so you see results and avoid overtraining and injury.
Continuing with this idea of recovery and repair, nutrition and sleep go hand in hand. It is during sleep that growth hormone is released in its greatest amount. Growth hormone is responsible for a lot of things but most notably, the repair of muscle and connective tissue. It’s been shown that growth hormone hits peak release during the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. Also, make sure you are getting between 7 to 9 hours each night.
You’ve mapped out your training, built the perfect program, assembled an excellent meal plan, and you even managed to find a friend to join you. Now it’s time to lock in your dedication to the race with a date. Find a marathon that falls in line with your training schedule and purchase your registration as well as anything else you may need such as a plane ticket or hotel.
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