Marathon season has officially begun. Marathons are no joke as they require intense training. If you’re a first-time marathoner who has registered for a marathon, you have done the first necessary step. However, running a marathon is not just about putting one foot in front of the other. Here are some marathon training tips for first-timers.
Get A Running Partner
The biggest challenge in achieving your goal of running a marathon is the lack of motivation. It’s hard waking up early to train. A proven way to overcome this is by having a running partner to train with. Knowing that your partner will be waiting for you will motivate you to get up in the morning. Training with someone also makes it easier to stay on track and push your limits.
Taper Your Training
No matter how long you train, a make-or-break factor is tapering. Tapering is a well-known practice among seasoned marathoners but unfamiliar to many first-timers. It means reducing the amount of training you do as you get closer to race day. Tapering should start around 3 to 4 weeks before a marathon. This allows your body to get sufficient rest and therefore be at its best on the day of the marathon.
Incorporate Strength Training
Training for a marathon is not just about running, and running is not just about your legs—it involves your entire body. Strength training is a crucial part of preparing for a marathon. It strengthens your muscles and joints so they can support you as you run. Strength training helps prevent discomfort and more serious issues by keeping you in your best form.
Do Form Drills
As with any sport, your form is important in running. Proper form is the key to better performance. The best way to correct your form is through form drills. These help you isolate movements outside of running. When you perform these drills often enough, they become muscle memory, so it’s easier to do them while you are running. Maintaining proper form improves your efficiency, balance, and overall athleticism.
Don’t Forget Cooldown and Recovery
After intense physical activity, you are probably tempted to lie on the couch or sleep. However, that is not a great idea. Recovery exercises help ensure that you don’t feel uncomfortable after a workout. Do some stretches, walk, or jog at a slower pace to cool down.
Another excellent way to wind down and rest after exercising is by having a muscle soak for several minutes. Incorporate an invigorating warm bath with Runner’s Bath Soak into your post-workout routine to help you prepare for your first marathon.
Take It Easy
Don’t try to beat your personal record every training run. Pushing yourself too hard every time is not a good idea as it can leave you exhausted, which may lead to burnout. Instead, focus on achieving your goals no matter how small they are. As a beginner, your most important goal is to finish the marathon. Your speed does not matter as much yet—that’s for another marathon in the future. Stick to your training plan and make sure that your body is prepared to finish the marathon you signed up for.
Take Rest Days
Rest is not a sin when you’re training for a marathon. In fact, it is just as important as your actual training. Rest days allow your body to recuperate and build strength as well as sharpen your focus so that when you train again (ideally the next day), you are much stronger. Perhaps what’s more significant for beginners is that rest days allow you to reinvigorate your spirit so you can continue with your training with a strong mindset.
Don’t Ignore Discomfort
This can come with any form of exercise and training. It is a sign that you have pushed your body to its limit. Ideally, you will recover from it and build stronger muscles and stamina. However, there are some instances when low-level discomfort is indicative of a more serious condition. If a part of your body starts bothering you often or if the discomfort feels sharp or forces you to change your gait, then it is time to visit your doctor. It is one thing to work through the discomfort and another to ignore it. Be mindful of the signals sent by your body before the issue worsens.
Use The Right Shoes
Not all feet are the same (in fact, your feet are not identical either), as are shoes. Since you will be running a marathon, you can’t wear just any pair of running shoes you find. There are different running shoes made specifically for the 3 main types of feet. Before buying a running shoe, determine first whether you have a neutral arch, a flat arch, or a high arch. There are shoes made to balance your feet’s tendency to overpronate or underpronate to minimize discomfort.
Use Multiple Shoes
Now that you’re on your way to becoming a marathon runner, you should keep in mind that you can only use your shoes up to 400 or 600 miles. Every mile you run with your shoes depletes its shock absorption abilities. Using your shoes beyond this mileage would surely bring more discomfort. Most runners use multiple running shoes at a time. This way, they will not use a brand-new pair of shoes for the marathon as that could be equally uncomfortable.