A Guide On Preparing For A Marathon

The day is coming up soon – the day of your marathon. You’re starting to get a little nervous since there are so many different things to consider before you do your marathon. For instance, you’ll need to choose a hydration pack for running, or you’ll need to make sure that you have the most supportive shoes in preparation for your run. It can feel a little bit overwhelming! 

Thankfully, we’ve run plenty of marathons in our time. That means that we’re equipped to present you with this guide on preparing for a marathon. Read on for more information and helpful tricks to give you marathon success! 

Make Sure That You Have the Proper Equipment

A Guide On Preparing For A Marathon
Photo by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash

You’ve probably been training this whole time in a pair of trainers that you’ve had for a couple of years, and they’ve done the job. However, it’s worth noting that a marathon is an entirely different kettle of fish. The chances are that you’re going to be running for quite some time, so it’s important that you get very supportive footwear that’s designed specifically for running. You need to make sure that the shoes are comfortable, fit you correctly and that they will work well for the kind of terrain that you’re going to be running on. 

In addition to this, you will also want to make sure that you’re wearing the right type of clothing. You don’t want to wear all black on a day when you’re running during warm weather, for instance. You will want clothing that’s breathable and supportive to ensure that you get the best possible results on the day. 

Oh, and if you’re bringing some music with you for a little bit of extra motivation, you should double-check with the rules whether you are allowed to have headphones. This is because not every marathon will allow you to bring headphones with you since it can sometimes be dangerous as you won’t be able to hear the things happening near you. If you’re going to wear headphones, it may be worth just putting one headphone in and listening out for things with your other ear.

Bring the Right Fuel

Marathons can often last for a number of hours in some situations, so you will want to make sure that you have the energy to keep on going. You’ll probably be hungry after that mammoth work out, after all! 

Of course, this doesn’t mean just shoving your face full of potato chips – you need to make sure that you’re eating the right sorts of things to ensure that you recover to the best of your abilities. You should eat food around 30 minutes after you’ve been running for a hard session. You should also try to eat foods that have a 3 to 1 protein to carbohydrate ratio. Things like protein shakes can also be convenient for the days when you are running. 

Before you run, you should also try to have a breakfast that’s high in carbohydrates a couple of hours before the race begins. This could be something like fruit or oatmeal.

Start Small

A Guide On Preparing For A Marathon
Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

If you’re just getting started with marathon running, you should try to start small. Sure you could start out by running a whole marathon, but you may find yourself becoming exhausted and it will be that much hardware for you to get to that finish line. If you feel that you’re physically and mentally prepared for your marathon then yes, you should try a full marathon. If you don’t feel ready, you can start off with a half marathon or a 5k. You may just need a little more preparation time before you tackle a massive marathon.

Start Preparing Early On

Running a marathon is no easy feat, so if you want to be successful at it, you should start early. This will give you plenty of time to prepare for the marathon so that you don’t struggle as much on the day itself. You should be trying to prepare at least a year in advance if you can, but the more time you give yourself, the better physical shape you will be in to make the marathon a success.

Work On Your Running Technique

So, we’ve already said that you need to be starting early when it comes to training for a marathon. But when you’re training, what exactly do you need to do? Yes, you need to run, but what do you need to focus on during your training? 

There are a few main things that you need to work on during your running training. First, you will need to work on your base mileage. You will need to do this over the span of a couple of months if possible, building up the mileage you cover per week to around 50 miles over the span of around 12 to 20 weeks.

Then you should be working towards a long run, which you need to do once a week or every 10 days. This run should get longer and longer each week, so you’ll do 12 miles one week, 14 the next and so on. You don’t need to do them exceptionally fast at first. Just focus on the length.

Once you have worked on these things, you should make sure you’re working on your speed. You can do this by focusing on tempo runs or practice intervals – there are many apps out there that can help you with this, and you can monitor your progress on a fitness tracker. This is also a great way to improve your cardio fitness ahead of the marathon.

The other thing that you need to focus on is rest and recovery. Sure, it’s important to make sure you’re physically training, but it will do you no good if you don’t give your muscles some time to recover after your training. This means you need to take some rest days during the week. If you are desperate to get moving even on your rest days, you can do something that isn’t so intense; This could include yoga, weight lifting, hiking or walking. The main thing is that you shouldn’t make anything very high impact on your days off.

Prepare Yourself Mentally

Once you’ve decided that you’re going to do a marathon, you will also need to prepare mentally. After all, a marathon is a pretty big deal and a huge accomplishment! Your performance can be massively influenced by how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking on the day of the event. One great way to prepare yourself mentally is actually through your training – if you can finish in good time during your training, you will feel like you’re more equipped for the actual day of the marathon. You will feel more confident too.

Another thing that you can do is study the course of the marathon – you can check out maps online to do this, or you can actually visit the course to see what it’s like. Ultimately, you want to know what you’re up against so that you can feel more prepared to actually run the marathon.

Set Realistic Goals

Before you do the marathon, you should make sure that you set realistic goals. You don’t need to finish the marathon and be first place – it’s a huge accomplishment just to finish the marathon when you’re new to running marathons. A goal like this will also allow you to enjoy your time doing the marathon, too. You should also set some sort of goal for your pacing too – you don’t want to be going too fast or spending a huge amount of energy early on, as this will make the rest of the marathon ten times harder for you.

Conclusion

A Guide On Preparing For A Marathon
Photo by sporlab on Unsplash

So now you’re ready for your first marathon! Get your water bottles and gear at the ready, work on your pacing, and you’re good to go!

Author Bio: Sara Kane is 45-year-old health, fitness, and running journalist that takes pride in helping her readers fulfil their goals to be in great shape. She is a contributor over at Best Hydration Pack, a company providing the latest gear reviews, guides, and more, especially on hydration backpacks.

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