Get Full Medical Clearance from Your Doctor
If you are thinking about participating in a marathon then you will find the following guide quite useful. The first thing that you need to do before you start training is clear it with your doctor. Marathon training is quite intense and strenuous and you need to be in to be in good physical condition for you to be able to cope with any program. Once you get a green light from your physician then you are good to go.
Prerequisites to Training
Who is defined as a beginner when it comes to marathon training? If you are running less than 20miles per week spread over 3-5 sessions then you are a beginner. If you are totally new to running then you need to give yourself 4-6 weeks of light running so that your body adjusts to the upcoming training levels with ease. Initially you should choose routes that are fairly flat.
There is no point in starting out strenuously and going for routes that are hilly and steep. You will increase the challenge of the routes and the number of miles you run a day as you progress with the training.
Get the Right Gear
We now live in a time where training shoes are designed according to the particular sport that they will be used for. So when buying your running shoes make sure you choose ones that are specifically designed for long endurance running. They should be able to withstand and absorb the shock of the forces exerted during running.
In addition to the proper running shoes the rest of your gear should also be ideal for running. You should wear material that is light and preferably bright or reflective. This is so that you can be easily spotted by motorists and other road users. Also if you are going to be running in sunny or hot conditions you can consider investing in a nice pair of sunglasses and a hat or cap. It’s quite important that you do not lose lots of body fluids due to sweating and the body trying to cool you down.
When I say eat right I am not referring to a balanced diet. If you have been following a balanced diet that’s good, but you will have to change it slightly and start following a marathon training diet. The reason there is a specific diet for runners is quite simple. During running the body requires and does consume a lot of energy. This energy has to be readily available in a form that the body can easily convert to energy i.e. glycogen.
Foods that are good glycogen sources belong to the carbohydrate group. The next question I suppose is; which foods are rich in carbohydrates? Well you can eat whole wheat grains, which are bread, cereal and corn. Rice, preferably brown rice is also a good carbohydrate source. Pasta and potatoes are also included in this category.
As a rookie to running you should know that your body will damage tissue and muscle during your training. If this tissue and muscle is not repaired and strengthened then you are likely to suffer injuries as you progress with your training. To ensure good tissue and muscle repair and built you also need to be eating protein rich foods. The carbohydrates that I mentioned above should constitute about 70% of the food you are eating. Protein and Fiber can constitute the rest but with more Protein than fiber. Fiber is necessary in the body as it regulates bowel movements quite well.
For proteins you can consider dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt. Also lean meats are highly recommended, this includes fish, pork, chicken and lean beef. For fiber rich foods you can eat beans, lentils, bran cereal, legumes like peanuts and potatoes.
The Tough Get Going
Finally comes your actual marathon training program. Earlier I said you will increase your mileage as you progress with your training. This is not to say that you should increase the distance that you run every day. Quite the opposite, the distances that you run should be varied and one of the days of your training should include cross training.
There are various training programs that you can follow but one that I have found to work for most beginners is the free guide from Runnersworld.com. This is an easy to follow guide and by the time you are done with this one you will be quite confident of making it across the finish line.
Tips and Advice
- Find a training partner or partners. This is not only good for motivation but also helps when it comes to weighing the progress that you are making with the program
- Do not strain yourself. If you find that the distances and timelines set in the program are too challenging for you then tone it down a bit. If you suffer prolonged pain and aches do go for a checkup to make sure all is okay.
- Stick to the routine and the program no matter what. If you have a training partner and they cannot make it, you should still be able to go on your own.
- Join an online forum or support group of other marathon runners, sharing your experiences and advice will help keep you motivated and boost your morale.
Both the training and the actual race are quite tough, but nothing can beat preparation. If you prepare yourself adequately during your training, eat right, get the right gear and follow a good marathon training program, 26.2 miles will seem like a breeze.