Preparing yourself for the next marathon in town? Not sure what to do?
Of course, your physique needs to be top-notch before running the great race. However, you also need to make sure you are equipped with all the right tools and that you are mentally prepared for the race.
If you have been coaxed into running the marathon by your peers, and you are not sure what you’re doing, here is a brief description that will erase all of your doubts about running the race.
By running, you are going to burn a massive amount of calories. And it is way better than running on the treadmill for an hour every day. Your cardiovascular system will thrive, as running increases blood circulation all over the body.
If you are prone to illness, running the marathon will help you fight germs more effectively, causing you to fall ill less. Additionally, some marathons are organized for charitable causes, and being an ideal citizen can increase your self-confidence and your sense of belonging in the community.
Your mental health and memory can also improve if you run routinely. On the other hand, the tough cardio will uplift your mood and energy throughout the day.
Now that we are clear about the benefits of running a marathon, let’s learn more about how you can prepare for the race in a few easy steps.
1. Be Proactive
In a typical marathon, you have to run at least forty-two kilometers or about twenty-six miles. That is a big distance. If you plan to run the race without initial preparation, you are laying the groundwork for failure and physical damage.
It takes about ten weeks to prep for a marathon. That means you have to start a fitness routine specifically designed for running the marathon.
Adding a new activity into your already busy schedule can be a challenge, but if you have set your mind to running the race, there is absolutely nothing that can keep you from going for it.
Change your training plan for the marathon. You have to make sure you are having the right nutrition, the right gears, and the right attitude towards it. The last thing you want to do is withdraw before the race is over, so you should be absolutely sure that you are ready for this challenge.
2. The Importance of Stretching
In order to prepare for the marathon, you need to condition your muscles and bones to avoid injury and cramps during and after running. Stretching exercises will stretch your muscles and bones and prepare you for the intense race ahead.
You should stretch every day before the big day, mostly before the fitness training.
Some of the exercises that you can do are chest stretches, neck stretches, shoulder stretches, Iliotibial Band stretches, gastroc stretches, piriformis stretches, hip flexor stretches, quadricep stretches, hamstring stretches, and calf stretches.
These stretches reduce your chance at injury during the long race, lengthen your stride during the race, enhance muscle performance, increase your speed, improve your stance, and boost your stamina, all of which are essential to winning the race or at least become a runner up.
3. Strength Training
If you’re thinking about skipping strength training before the great marathon, think again. Prepping your body for the marathon can be quite a challenge. You need to become more physically active if you want to run the marathon.
The environment that you’ll be running in maybe too cold, too warm, or even raining. How you perform at the beginning of the run is going to be quite different from how you perform at the end of the race. Hence, you need to increase your stamina and strength for this task.
Strength training will heighten your performance level and help you get through tough conditions during the race.
Take the help of a professional coach when you’re doing the following exercises: form running or leg drives, bridges, side planks, single leg planks, ski bends, single leg deadlifts, walking lunges, squat jumps, and split squat jumps.
4. Runner’s Nutrition Guide
Food and drinks will be provided by the organization arranging the marathon, and it is wiser to collect all the essential details as much as possible before the race.
Besides, you don’t want the food at the course ruining your performance, so you should be prepared from the start.
In order to run well, you must eat lots of carbohydrates from several weeks before the race to increase your muscle glycogen levels. Switch to carbs over fats to prepare for the race. Eat big lunches and small dinners every day that includes carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
For those of you with gastrointestinal problems, reduce the amount of fiber you eat before the race. You have to eat two to three hours before the race to avoid gas issues. On the contrary, people with normal health can eat three to four hours before the actual race to keep going.
Moreover, you need to know your sweat rate to understand your fluid intake requirements. To do so, at first, you must measure your body weight (without clothes and shoes). Then, by using the amount of water you drank during your workout, you can find out how much you normally sweat.
This way, you can find out how much water you need to consume before, during, and after the race to prevent dehydration.
During the race, not only should you maintain the proper hydration rules to keep yourself fit, but you also have to keep having carbohydrates to maintain your energy. This can be achieved by consuming sports drinks, chews, bars, gels, bananas, and protein bars.
5. Dress Rehearsal
We have touched on what to eat and which exercises to follow to prepare for the marathon. Now, we are going to discuss your attire for the race.
Don’t underestimate this important factor because what you wear can impact how the race ends. Uncomfortable, poor quality clothes and shoes can force you to lose the race and end up with injury and cramps.
Don’t try to cut costs when it comes to marathon shopping. You have to pick the right outfit for the race; otherwise, you will suffer.
Instead of cotton, choose nylon, or Coolmax. Check for irritation and allergic reactions by wearing the proper running outfit to all the practice runs before the marathon.
By doing practice marathon runs with the outfits that you will wear on the race, you are making sure you can handle any setbacks on the way. If the outfits don’t pass the test run, you can always change into something else.
6. Practice Runs
You should be doing a practice run every week or so before the final race. As you can guess, you must start with a short distance, then go longer as you progress.
Use your watch to count the kilometers you have made through the hour. Just so you know, there is no such thing as ‘cramming’ in marathon prep. You can’t force your body to adapt to a new form without causing pain and injury, so please don’t try this.
Running a marathon is not like performing for a dance or a choir. It actually takes some time for the body to go from ‘doing nothing’ to running forty-two kilometers in a day. Therefore, you should start the practice runs at least six months before the actual race by increasing your mileage by ten percent every week.
Additionally, use a heart rate monitor to keep track of your heart rate while you run. Ideally, your heart rate should stay between sixty-five to seventy-five percent for the marathon.
To be frank, preparing for the marathon is not easy. If you have been practicing for six months or so, or if you have done this already, it can be easy. But for beginners, it will take some time to find the flow.
We have discussed all the main areas that you need to touch on to prepare for your race. You can also find little tips and tricks from various magazines and guides. Incorporate those little tricks during your practice run and check the results.
Whether you have decided to run the race for reasons related to health, charity, or philanthropy, by the time you are done with the training, you will achieve all the goals that you have set for yourself.