Getting motivated to go for a run can be difficult. Running a mile or two is a good workout, but gearing up to run a marathon takes a lot of guts. So if you are running in your first race, give yourself a major pat on the back.
Training for a marathon is no easy task. Completing 26.2 miles is an inspiring accomplishment and goal that many people want to achieve, but think they can’t. It requires months of conditioning and commitment, along with plenty of motivation and perseverance, as marathons are all about not giving up. But with the right training plan and a positive attitude, you’ll achieve your goal.
7 things to do when training for a marathon:
1. Choose Your Marathon. Which marathon you decide to participate in depends on multiple factors: time, location, and the course or type of terrain. Many marathons in the United States are held in October or November when conditions are most likely to be cooler, but events that land in the fall require training through the summer, when it is hot.
While weather can be unpredictable, it’s good to check the weather you’re likely to face on race day and in training when making your initial selection. Check out MarathonGuide.com, where you’ll find race reviews and tips from runners who’ve completed the race you are thinking of doing.
2. Take It Slow. The key to successful marathon training is consistently putting in enough weekly mileage to get your body accustomed to running for long periods of time. Newer runners may start with 15 to 20 miles per week total. It all depends on your body’s ability. If you don’t like how your body feels, adjust.
Be sure to ease into training while constantly challenging yourself as you build stamina. Gradually increase your running distance each week to build your strength and endurance. Work on sprinting, speed and agility, tempo runs, and miles at marathon pace. Spending the extra time on your feet helps prepare your muscles, joints, bones, heart, lungs, and brain for race day.
3. Stay Hydrated. It’s crucial to drink enough before, during, and after your run to perform your best. Indeed, just a little dehydration can slow you down. It’s especially important to stay hydrated when it is hot out, such as summertime when you sweat more. Experts recommend you stick to water or a sports drink to replenish your electrolytes. During the race, you should aim to drink three to six ounces every 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Stay Healthy: Above all, listen to your body. Cut back if necessary, take an extra day or two of rest, and don’t ignore symptoms that go beyond typical soreness and pain from training. Stretching is vitally important, as your muscles and tendons become tight from training. You can also incorporate yoga in your training regimen, which is great for your breathing.
5. Stay Motivated: Running a marathon is exciting, but the day-to-day training can get to be tedious and tiring, especially when you’re experiencing fatigue. Motivation is highly psychological. Training with others will help you stay on track to reach your goals.
6. Wear Comfortable Shoes and Clothes. Your running shoes are your best friend. Don’t be afraid to spend money for the right pair of running shoes for your feet. Expect to spend in the neighborhood of $100. For the best selection and helpful advice from sales staff, visit a specialty running store for at least the first pair of shoes.
In regards to your clothing, none of these items should be made of cotton. Instead, look for clothing and socks that will breathe. This will keep you more comfortable on long training runs while decreasing the risk of chafing and getting painful blisters. When training just before race day, wear the same shoes and clothing you plan to wear in the marathon. This gives you the opportunity to troubleshoot any problems you may have.
7. Be prepared. Come race day, preparation is the most important thing. Have water, sunscreen, power bars, and other essentials that will keep your body going to the finish line.
Running a marathon can seem like a daunting task on paper. Finding the time to train and the motivation to run – all of these thoughts consume you. Motivation, patience, and determination are the key to being successful. When the big day finally arrives and you finish the race, all the hard work you put in will pay off with both psychological and physical rewards.
In Catonsville, Columbia, and Eldersburg, the doctors at Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland can treat any injuries you might incur during your training so you stay on track for the big day. For an appointment, call (410) 644-1880.