Anyone who has completed one or many marathons can attest to the difficulty of this extreme physical and mental challenge, not only during the actual race, but throughout the preparation and marathon training.
In fact, some people claim that the marathon training is actually tougher than the race.
Staying strong – both mentally and physically – during marathon training is critical to success. Here are some tips that can help you not only survive, but thrive the training season.
Marathon Training Tips
- Follow a plan – Do your homework and adopt a realistic training plan based on your experience/fitness level and the amount of time before race day. When life gets in the way of strict adherence to the plan, readjust and be flexible so you can get your miles in.
- Eat healthy – When you’re putting in a lot of miles, it’s tempting to think that you can eat whatever you want. While treats are acceptable, make the bulk of your diet healthy choices to help your body feel and perform at its best. And stay hydrated with plenty of water, before, during and after workouts.
- Get enough sleep – Often, we skimp on sleep when our days are jam-packed with tons of “to-dos,” and fitting in a long run means that you have to cut out something else. Learn how to best manage your time, and multi-task as you can or eliminate other obligations in order to preserve your sleep – and your health.
- Consider a running partner or group – While it’s true that some runners prefer solitude, there is powerful motivation in being part of a running group, or having a running partner for the days you don’t want to get out of bed and lace up your shoes, or when you have a lousy day at work and are tempted to skip your evening run.
- Stretch frequently – Stretching relieves tight muscles and releases tension, and anecdotal evidence suggests that it can help prevent injuries. Flexibility exercises can help with recovery by increasing blood flow to tight areas and helping to work out scar tissue adhesions. If you’re short on time, incorporate a few stretches during the day at work, while catching up on TV programs or before bed.
- Cross train – While logging miles is critical, incorporate cross training 1-2 times a week to target other muscles, foster better muscular balance, improve overall conditioning and stay motivated. The new Zero Runner is an ideal tool that lets runners safely perfect form and technique without any impact, and gives runners a variety of interval workouts that combine running with strength and flexibility exercises to address weak links and enhance performance. Other options include an elliptical, stationary bike, swimming, Pilates and yoga.
- Address aches and pains – Don’t just run through pain, or you may be setting yourself up for injury. Try foam rolling, do yoga, get massages, see a chiropractor or work with a physical therapist to manage aches and keep you running toward your goal.
- Try visualization – Picture yourself succeeding and enjoying training; see yourself as a committed athlete and remind yourself of positive thoughts. Think through the course before race day, and imagine your achievement!
Stay Fueled, stay strong and you’ll be on the road to successfully completing a marathon!