You think you are ready to join your first marathon and face the challenges presented in 42 kilometers, or 26 miles? Marathons are invariably part of a serious runner’s life, a milestone where the journey sometimes matters more than the winning does.
They say long-distance runs are more about you racing against yourself than it is against others. You have your record to set or beat. Nevertheless, this mind-set doesn’t take away the pressure of the race.
How to keep up? Take note of these insights to help you get through your first-ever marathon well and free from body aches.
Challenge is good, but know your limits or work steadfastly toward overcoming them. Any race, be it a 10K or an ultra marathon, entails full mental and physical preparation. The risk of moving too fast too soon manifests itself in injuries. That’s why base mileage, along with the adequate level of marathon training, is everything.
Draw Up a Plan
Have a solid game plan to cover the coming weeks leading to the marathon. Serious training can go on for months. You can come up with your training plan, seeking input from fitness coaches and fellow runners. The key is to build endurance in slowly and steadily.
Show Up for Training
Long-distance runs require a strategy. Whether you run, walk, or do both, you can figure it out as you go through training day by day. As this runner notes, the first step is the hardest, and there’s no way around it but to get up and get moving. Don’t ever drag your feet.
Set Clear-Cut Goals
When your training assumes the theoretical and you lose focus, think of your goals – what made you sign up for this difficult challenge? Is it to set a personal record, realize a lifelong dream, or reap the rewards of hard work? Go back to these aims when you feel like procrastinating or giving up while training.
Ask a Friend
Your friend who has reaped countless finisher’s medals is the best source for tips and hacks before, during, or after the run. Find out how he trains, his best practices for working out or keeping the motivation. See how you can fit these into your routine. It may help to join running groups for more ideas and even company to break the monotony.
Rest and Recover
Any marathon training plan is not without rest and recovery. Listen to your body, and take meaningful breaks to heal from overuse injury. Your knees, calves, and hamstrings are among those that will bear the brunt of training with preexisting medical conditions as a risk factor.
In addition to usual treatments, apply therapeutic tape to your affected knee to relieve the pain. Kinesiology taping eases discomfort by reducing the swelling and heals the sore spot by promoting blood circulation. These capabilities enable you to return to training camp faster and do what you intend to do.
According to Marathon Handbook, keep a consistent pace throughout the run in line with your target time. Essentially, this marathon pace will temper bursts of energy, spreading it out, so your speed remains on the same level from start to finish.
As a first-time marathoner, practice on your pacing to help you get through and past the proverbial wall. The latter is any deemed roadblock, which can be physical exhaustion or mental fatigue, faced by runners.
A race against time seems the worst time not to think. But you may benefit from not thinking too much or at all when running. Some meditate, entertain happy thoughts, or talk to themselves, do whatever they can to cope with the battle waging inside their heads.
Allow your body to focus on the movements that enable you to perform better. How about switching on to autopilot mode and some mental playlist to accompany you?
As you run, your body undergoes stress and struggles to get adequate oxygen, the American Lung Association explains. There’s a link between breathing and running. That’s why you have to develop rhythmic breathing, in which you breathe through the diaphragm. This technique not only delivers oxygen to your body efficiently; it also reduces the likelihood of injury when running.
Gear Up for Success
A good pair of running shoes takes you to the finish line. As for the clothes, dress up according to the weather. You need to keep your body cool and comfortable, wearing lightweight clothes as applicable, at all times.
The training is arguably the central part of the marathon with the actual event, a fitting culmination to months of preparation. Go and make a run for it.