Are you thinking about signing up for your first marathon or have you already taken the plunge? It’s such an exciting, yet scary moment when you decide to take on pounding the pavement for 26.2 miles. The kind of training plan you will need to follow depends largely on what your goals are for the race and what kind of base training you already have under your belt. When preparing for an endurance event like a marathon, there are some easy guidelines to follow to help ensure success. Check out a few of these Training Tips for Your First Marathon.
Training Tips for Your First Marathon
1. Create a Realistic Goal: This will be unique to each individual depending on running experience, speed, and skill level. I know my goal for my first marathon was to “run the entire 26.2 miles”. I did not worry about my pace or finish time, I simply wanted to run the entire thing without stopping. Another goal could be to just finish the event. However, more experienced and speedy runners might set a goal to finish in under 4 hours or maintain a certain pace. Whatever your goal is, it is important to have one to stay focused and keep your eye on the prize during training.
2. Find a Training Plan that Works for You: The most important thing to remember is that the training schedule you follow needs to work for you. That means finding a way to tailor it to your needs, rather than merely following along with a “cookie-cutter” marathon training plan. A lot of plans are interchangeable. There are several online programs available to follow. You can easily gain access to over 3000 on-demand workouts this way, and find something that is suitable for your specific training needs and goals.
3. Allow for Flexibility: It is essential to find and follow a good training plan; however, life does indeed happen. If you fall off track, or miss a run here and there, do not get bogged down by it. Stay consistent and try to hit all of the marathon training runs, but also know that missing one here and there is not going to doom all of the hard work you have put in.
4. Cross Training to Prevent Injury: Injuries are all too common in distance running. However, one way to try to keep them at bay is to cross train. Cycling and swimming are fantastic ways to build endurance and cardiovascular strength while having minimal impact on your joints. If you tend to be injury prone, try to find a training plan that incorporates 1 or 2 days of cross training into your marathon training cycle. You can also replace one of your weekly runs with cross training to mix things up a bit and give your body a break from running.
5. Recovery Time is Essential: Allowing time for rest and recovery is essential to a successful training cycle. It is important for the physical side of things as well as the psychological aspects of training. So, embrace your rest days and recovery weeks during training. Remember that these breaks will help with injury prevention and also give you a boost to push to new limits on your tougher weeks.
6. Talk to other people who have done the distance – Chat it up with other friends that have done marathons. Listen to their experiences, lessons, & advice. You will hear different things from each person, but take away the information that best applies to you and your plan for completing the event.
7. Practice Your Nutrition During Training: There can be a lot of trial and error when it comes to endurance nutrition. Some people can tolerate certain foods and liquids in their gut while running better than others. It is very important to practice with what you are going to eat and drink on race day throughout your training until you find out works specifically for you. If you can find out what items they will have at aid stations on the course ahead of time that will help with planning too. One of the most important things to remember is “Nothing New On Race Day”. So, do not try any new products. This rule applies to everything during the race…no new shoes, new socks, new clothes, etc. Everything should be tested, tried, and true so you do not derail your hard work.
So Tell Me…
Are you signed up for your first marathon? Have you done a marathon in the past? Do you have any great Training Tips for Your First Marathon to share?
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Happy Training!!
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