We can agree with the statement “everyone can run a marathon”, adding an important remark to it – “with proper preparation”. Prominent figures deserve top-notch performance, just like the exceptional Tarkine running shoes.

If you set yourself an ambitious goal to run a marathon, you should focus on two different areas – the physical and mental preparations. What exactly should be done?  

Decide on deadlines

Beginners are advised to allocate at least a year to prepare for a marathon in order to have time to build up a good “base” and systematically approach its start.

If you already have running experience and train regularly, this time can be halved, especially if you have successfully completed a 10 km marathon some time ago.

Still, it is highly undesirable to leave less than 3-4 months for preparation. A good tip is to think backwards, from the day you plan to run. This way, you will immediately understand whether you meet the deadline.

Choose and register

First, you need to decide which marathon you will run and register. It sounds trite, but it’s really important: “I see the goal, I believe in myself”. Preparing for an abstract start sometime in the indefinite future is much less effective, and it is impossible to be constantly at the peak of your form.

It is advisable to pay money for the ticket, and not receive it as a gift – this will add motivation.

It is better for a beginner marathoner to choose a start in the city of residence or in the immediate vicinity. The idea of running your first marathon abroad sounds romantic, but it actually adds to the complexity. In your hometown, it is easier to think over the logistics before and after the competition, there will be no problem of acclimatization, and after day X, you can relax at home.

For those living in the middle lane, it is optimal to choose an autumn marathon. This way, you will have the whole warm running season to prepare and you won’t have to suffer in the winter in a stuffy arena or take part in cross-country crosses in snow drifts that chill your soul and body.

Set up a workout plan

A marathon is a serious distance, and you need to prepare for it thoroughly, according to a plan. Ideally, it should be compiled by a personal trainer, taking into account your individual characteristics. But you can draw up a plan yourself – take a ready-made one or compile it from several.

Do not forget about rest and recovery days, there should be at least one full day off per week. Do not put two difficult workouts two days in a row, there should be either a rest or a light recovery run in between, otherwise you will get mentally tired from all this effort.

The general approach to training is as follows:

  • from 3 to 6 different workouts per week, one of which is a long run;
  • train regularly, follow the plan;
  • do not forget about the day off;
  • weekly mileage is increased by no more than 10%, the load is added gradually;
  • every fourth week is a deloading week, reducing intensity and cutting mileage.

Find your answer to the question “why?”

Marathon running is not an activity for anyone, so mental preparation is no less important than physical. To keep yourself mentally prepared, you need to clearly know why you want to run a marathon, so the motivation would not disappear. When it gets hard, remember why you started in the first place.

Recovery and nutrition

To finish with a smile and plan future races, you need to approach the start without injuries and overtraining. Remember that it’s better to get a little out of the plan by skipping a couple of workouts due to feeling unwell than working hard and eventually being out of action for a long time.

Be sure to take enough time to recover, stretch after each workout, get at least 8 hours of deep sleep, take relaxing baths, practice massage / self-massage and myofascial release.

Nutrition should be hearty and varied, covering all the needs for vitamins and trace elements, many of which runners actively lose with sweat.  

What to do during the last 3-4 months

Preparation enters the most active phase. It’s time to focus entirely on running, leaving only a little strength work to maintain the muscles.

Motivation and psychological preparation

Preparing for a marathon is a long process, some days, you might not have the motivation to go out and run. Follow these motivation tips to keep you going.

One thing you might have heard from experienced marathoners is that a large part of the process is in your head. Yes, the mental aspects of running marathons can be just as challenging as the physical part. Prepare your mind for such achievements. If you’re dealing with pre-race anxiety, try a few strategies to deal with the jitters.

Rest and Depression

Many marathon runners cannot sleep well before the day X. Try not to worry about this – if you get a good night’s sleep during the week leading up to the marathon, and especially the two nights before the race, you will be well rested before the race. If you have insomnia before a race, lie down in bed and force yourself to at least rest your body.

You don’t have to run the day before a marathon, although some runners like to do a slow and easy 20-minute run just to stay relaxed.

Rest and keep your feet relaxed for as long as possible. The day before a marathon is also not the time to experiment with new products. Stick to your favorites so you don’t have any surprises on the day X.

Enjoy your recovery

The marathon recovery will begin as soon as you cross the finish line. How you take care of yourself in the first hours after your run will determine how quickly you recover, both mentally and physically.

For example, it is important that you drink and eat something shortly after crossing the finish line. You should also walk for at least 10 minutes to safely lower your heart rate.

Finally, try to resist the urge to immediately plop down on the ground – your legs will immediately tense up if you do this. 

And if you are one of those sportspeople who also have pets and are also concerned about their health, you might be interested in  ”are snake plants toxic to cats?”.