Training for a Marathon is something I look forward to. I like the way I start to feel my body, my heart and legs grow stronger as the day approaches. There are ups and downs and no two training days are the same, but I really thrive on it!
My appetite grows and so does my will to better my time. I prepare my play list every week and sort out my running routes. It helps that I run with my husband so we can cover longer routes together with great ease. He is my running buddy and I am his pacer.
So how should you begin to train? Here are some easy tips to get you on your way, when you are training for a marathon:
Some days, you just cruise through your run. But other days, it is a struggle. Being prepared mentally and picturing crossing the finishing line should be embedded in your head. Don’t give up – stay motivated. Vary your training if you really lose your desire to run that day, but try not to let your stamina slide.
Some people have goal to “just finish” or qualify in their category in a marathon. Some people are running to better their time. Whatever your goals, set them realistically and keep aiming for them. Try to improve on what you’ve done each week by 10%. This helps build endurance and makes the run on the final day easier. Some people find charting a detailed schedule of daily workouts in an online log helps them monitor their progress. I don’t really use this – I use timing and distance to monitor progress. I make sure I’m topping my previous time each week.
For me, I like running to music but I don’t like the sun on my head. So, I invest in a good ipod (a good play list is the all essential running companion!) and a running, light weight cap (to keep the sun off my head). Also, with intense training, the side of my toes tend to chaff against my shoes, and my under arms my sports bra ,so I use bodyglide on these spots to reduce friction.
Get Eating and Supplemented
During marathon training, 65% of your total calories should come from carbohydrates, particularly complex carbohydrates. 10% should come from protein (you need 0.5 to 0.7 grams per pound of your body weight each day). 20-25% of your total calories should come from unsaturated fats. Be sure to eat a balanced meal before the run, and also for recovery. If you run in the early morn like me, a good night’s sleep (6 hours) is essential. Lay off the booze. For supplements, I take glucosamine sulphate 500 mg + MSM, cod liver oil as well as co enzyme Q10. I add quinoa, chia seeds and omega3 at least 3 X a week to my diet.
Some people run everyday. I don’t. I tend to run 3 shorter runs a week and a long run. (8 – 10KM short; 16-18KM long). Well, in between I like to work out on the TRX for core strengthening as well as do resistance and some weights training. My goals are normally for the 21KM (half marathon) while my hubby does the full, so his goals are more intense than mine.
On runs of an hour or more (we run early mornings so it’s less hot), we carry water which we drink midway in the run. It’s better to train without drinking too much water otherwise you will get too used to it. Of course if we are running on a hot day, we hydrate very half hour or so. During pre-training and marathon training, weigh yourself before and after each run to Rehydrate and get your body weight back to the weight it was before the run by drinking water or sports drink within the first hours after the run.
We use our non-running days to rest and recover. We go for sports massages and deep muscle massages as and when we need to.
For the half marathon, your mileage should gradually increase each week with your longest run 80% of the distance. I found it unnecessary to run the entire 21KM or 42KM (for my hubby) during training. You just need to chalk up the miles per week, and look at total running mileage. You should then taper off in the final weeks leading up to the marathon to allow your body to recover from training and so you will be strong on marathon day. Once you have hit your maximum training capacity and pushed your body to the limit, rest for 3 – 4 full days before the marathon. Do absolutely nothing. Muscle memory will come into play that day, and you will be running on a 100% rested body that’s revving to go. A lot of people itch to go to the gym at this time, but trust me, this 3 – 4 day plan works! If you over train, you will hit a wall on the day of the run. Trust me.
Tapering in the final weeks before the marathon will help your body recover from marathon training and be strong for your big day. You will also want to carbo-load the week leading up to the race. I don’t really load too much because I don’t want to feel too heavy or sluggish. I eat a lot of complex carbs as part of a balanced diet with good fats, protein and vegetables. The plan is to just eat healthy but really add more chia seeds and antioxidants to the morning juices and overall diet. Remember though, marathons are about endurance and pace is critical. Slow down in the beginning though everything is crying out to you to run faster – slow down into a good pace, then you will loads left for your big finish!