How to Prepare for a Marathon

If you are planning to run the marathon, you need to train efficiently to maximize your body’s potential. Long distance running takes aerobic health, strength, speed, and correct training in order to avoid injuries. If you love running you need balance in your training. Here are a number of pointers that can help you safely run your marathon:

Start early

Start training well in advance and build up mileage slowly. Give your body enough time to adapt to the physical demands to then build up and see improvement. One of the most common causes of injury is building mileage too fast, too soon. As you increase your time, be careful not to overexert yourself. You should be able to carry a simple conversation whilst running.

Warm up

Start with dynamic stretching to loosen up the muscles, improve joint range of motion, and prepare your body physically and mentally for physical activity. Begin the run with fast walking then light jogging to warm up your body, get the blood flowing, and slowly increase your heart rate.

Speed work and variation

As well as building up long distance running, you can work on speed by adding interval runs. This means that for a short distance you run at a faster pace than usual with slow recovery jogs in between. This will increase your aerobic capacity. For example; 1 minute of fast running/sprinting, with 4 minutes of slow jogging or even walking in between. In addition, add incline running to increase your aerobic capacity.

Become FASTER. Weight training strengthens the connections between the muscles and nervous system, making your body move more efficiently. Cover more ground with the same amount of energy.

strength train

Reduce the likelihood of INJURIES – running can tighten some muscles (hip flexors and calves), while leaving others weak (core and glutes). Strength training can counteract these weaknesses leaving you feeling healthier and pain-free. Improve your POSTURE by hitting the areas of the body that running neglects. Runners may have short hip flexors causing them to stand more bent over at the hips and lower back, therefore it’s important to strengthen the whole posterior side, maintaining correct posture. In addition to the functional reasons, strength training will give VARIETY to your exercise routine and prevent you from burning out. It will help you understand your body better, how all the muscles work together, and you will get better at giving your body the correct amount of training and recovery that it needs to perform. During the winter when it’s too unpleasant to run outdoors, strength train to maintain your fitness, keep off the weight, and slip back into running easily when you’re ready.

Hydration

Most marathons include water stations along the way. If you plan on carrying your own water on the day, get used to running with it before. Whilst training, make sure to have access to water along the way, to get used to drinking since it is essential to drink enough fluids and stay properly hydrated. Drinking too little can cause nausea, dehydration, or lightheadedness. However drinking too much can cause nausea and time wasting pit stops. It is important to practice drinking beforehand to get the right balance.

Rest and recovery

Rest days mean no running and are equally important because they let your muscles recover and prevent burnout. If you want to stay active on rest days you may participate in some other form of physical activity such as walking, hiking, swimming, cycling, strength training, yoga.

Stretch after a run while your muscles are still warm. Hold static stretches for 15-30 seconds to maintain joint flexibility and prevent muscle tightening (as mentioned above).

Follow these 6 steps and you’ll be prepared to run the best marathon of your life!

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