Guest blog post*
Whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned runner, completing a marathon is a huge achievement. In order to achieve your goals, there’s a lot that you need to get right before you head across the starting line, from making a detailed plan to eating a nutritious diet.
1. Follow a plan and keep a diary
Setting a plan is a must when training for a marathon. It’ll give you direction, provide focus and show you how you’re progressing. Keeping a diary will help you make tweaks if need be, and know when to pull back a little. Seeking expert advice from a personal trainer will really help you set your goals, create the plan and monitor it as you go.
2. Build up slowly
It’s all too easy to jump forward on your plan, especially when it’s going well, but you should stick to a 10% increase in total mileage per week at the most. Pushing yourself too hard too soon will only lead to problems and potential injury – putting you back, rather than making you fitter.
3. Don’t always run long
Running three to four times a week is a good plan when you’re training for a marathon, but only one of them should be long distance. Mix up your other runs with recovery sessions, interval and tempo run.
4. Rest and recover
Rest is just as important as running. Without effective recovery, you won’t be able to complete your runs, especially when they start to get longer and more intense as training goes on. Take at least one day off a week, and consider cutting back on the intensity every four weeks or so. That’ll give your joints and muscles a bit of a break, and give you renewed energy to attack the next phase of your training.
5. Run in all conditions
You never know what marathon day is going to be like weather-wise, so getting out there in all conditions is great preparation. That includes when it’s really cold, raining heavily and or quite windy. Just zip up your jacket, put on your hat and get it done!
6. Switch up your training
Adding swim, cycle or weights sessions to your routine will help keep your training varied and help to avoid boredom. In addition, mixing up your training will help give you a more rounded programme, and allow you to reap other fitness benefits that will have a positive impact on your running too.
7. Get on top of your nutrition
This may be last on the list, but it’s without doubt as important as the first tip. Food is fuel, and you’re going to need plenty of fuel for a marathon. In general terms, it’s about eating a highly nutritious diet versus, for example, a diet that contains a lot of high cholesterol food.
Heavy foods that are high in saturated fats aren’t good for training. Instead, you need healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and plenty of lean protein sources – the ideal combination for energy and recovery.
Education is key, so start researching how to combine healthy nutrition with exercise to maximise your prep. Once you’ve got a solid healthy eating plan it becomes easier to fuel your body, both for hard training sessions and the marathon itself.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into successful marathon training. Put our top tips into practice and you’ll be race ready come the big day!
*Guest Author: This article was written by a guest author and the views expressed are the author’s only.