Running or joining a marathon is a somewhat a personal challenge to aspire towards. Some people will join a marathon to test their limits or improve on them. Others will do so to raise awareness for a charity, lose weight and be fit or just to accompany a friend who has convinced them to sign up. However, training for a marathon is not something you wake up one day and randomly take part in. Below are 7 tips to consider while preparing to run a marathon. 

2014 BMW / Berlin Marathon Berlin, Germany Sept 28, 2014 Photo: Victah Sailer@PhotoRun

1. Choose the right marathon

There are numerous and varying types of marathons to take part in. Majority of charity geared marathons are subdivided by mileage to be covered. For a first-time marathoner, it is advisable to sign up for the relatively short distance one. Finding the best fit of a marathon for yourself is an important part of a marathon preparation. This will not only motivate you in the grand scheme of events for being significantly less than the full marathon, it will also give you a better chance of completing it. 

2. Train properly for the marathon.

Christopher Burgess, a personal trainer who cooperates with Essay Kitchen, there are four major elements in training for a marathon. They include: – 

  • base distance 
  • long runs
  • speed working &
  • Rest and recuperation 

Preparing to run a marathon will take anywhere from 10 to 12 weeks. To ensure that you are well equipped to take part in one, ensure that in every week of training you increase your base mileage by at least 10 percent so that your body gains on it gradually. You also will need to run a longer distance than the actual marathon so that your body acclimatizes to the distance. It is also essential to work on different speeds and tempo to broaden your cardio capacity. Finally, ensure that a week before the participation you let your body rest to avoid fatigue and reduce the risk of injuries during the marathon. 

Shizuoka Marathon

3. Eat protein and energy packed meals

What you eat in the days leading to the marathon will greatly determine if you will be well stocked in the fuel you will need for the marathon. It is important to eat clean and healthy so that your body’s metabolism is at its best. Nutritionists who cooperate with suggest that you ensure that you eat food rich in protein and carbohydrates, preferably complex sugars. This over a period of time will be stored energy that will definitely come in handy. First marathon tips include avoiding refined sugars that will give you an instant boost but also burn out just as fast making your performance suffer from the low. You want to be as healthy as you possibly can during the marathon so be very keen and deliberate in your diet and get all the nutrients from fruits, vegetables and muscle boosting power foods. 

4. Hydrate before and during

Water is an essential part of your wellbeing and goes without saying that it is quite necessary in training for a marathon. Properly hydrating in the weeks leading to the marathon will help keep your muscles and fluid and avoid a burn out. Enough water in your system will also ensure that the energy and electrolytes required to keep you moving are well transported to your limbs during the marathon. Some best marathon advice is, during the training period practice by stashing water at random intervals and establish a water pattern for your body that you can then follow during the marathon. It is essential that your hydration routine is well incorporated in the training period to avoid feeling heavy if you do it on the day of the marathon and combat the dreaded runners stitch. 

The start of the 2018 Melbourne Marathon – Picture courtesy of Melbourne Marathon

5. Mental preparation

Signing up for a marathon can take quite the toll on you with the pressure that comes with it. Working on your positivity and attitude is a big part of how to prepare for a marathon. Your thoughts will go a long way to motivate or demotivate you for the marathon. Set your eyes on the goal and maintain the positivity for it. Remember from the actual training to running the marathon 90 percent of the work will be mental to push through the barriers of body fatigue and exhaustion. As you work on your physical training, work on the right attitude. A stretched and burnt out mind will most likely have you thinking that you cannot do it even without trying. Despite it being a new challenge, it helps to think that others have done it before and is, therefore, achievable and then take up the challenge and achieve that goal for yourself.

6. Get a medical check up

Consult with your doctor to make sure that you are in a stable condition to participate in the marathon. If you have any preexisting conditions your doctor will give you pointers on how to navigate around them and/ or if it is safe for you to take part. Dana Armstrong, a doctor who collaborated with report that checking with your doctor could also be valuable in giving you first marathon tips in relation to exercise for your specific needs. It is important to have a clean bill of health during the marathon so that you do not risk worsening a condition that you may have going on or risk developing one due t a weakness that could have been identified and remedied. 

7. Get the right training tools

The marathon preparation will not amount to anything if the tools and equipment you have become a hindrance to your success because of their ineffectiveness. Experiment in your training period what clothes are comfortable to run in, what shoes will not get uncomfortable and the best way to carry your own water if the marathon does not have a ‘fuel station’ that you can pick some from. You want to have the items that will work optimally to your advantage to give you the edge that you need to accomplish your set goals for the marathon. It is also advisable to get yourself a stopwatch to record the time taken to run a given distance during the training.

The days leading up to the marathon are undoubtedly the most nerve wrecking ones. Getting through these days in the best physical, mental and emotional state will go a long way in determining the kind of marathon you will have and if you will enjoy the experience or not. Whether you are participating for a cause that is really close to your heart or offering moral support to a friend, just like anything that tests you, appropriate marathon advice sets the foundation for the preferred results.