Do you want to cover an incredible 26.2 miles? Then you need some marathon running tips. Running a marathon is quite a feat, but the main work is in training and preparation. Running a marathon is often compared to having a baby. Labor itself is what a lot of people talk about, but the nine months before it count for as much, maybe even more! Any runner, new or experienced, can use a few marathon training tips to ensure that the road to the Big Race is as efficient and effective as possible.
Marathon Running Tip #1: Mileage Before Speed
Training for a marathon means running a lot. But before you can be fast, you need to be able to build that all-important foundation. So don’t even try speed work unless you’re very experienced. As a new runner, it’s much better to focus on running with ease. That should be the core of your training. You must first be able to cover the distance. Only then will you be ready for bigger and better things (ie speed). So make sure you get the mileage before you do anything else.
Marathon Running Tip #2: Long Runs
A crucial ingredient in your preparation to run a marathon is the long run. The general rule of thumb is that you do about five or six twenty-mile runs in your training. This is crucial for teaching your body to improve its fuel-burning processes and extend the time you can function on easy carbohydrates. When you run out of carbs, your body needs to switch to burning fat, which is much more difficult. This is the time when you will feel like you are running out of energy or, as they say, the “man with the hammer” is coming for a visit.
Now, newer training methods suggest that the long run isn’t as important as traditionally believed. And it’s true, if you only did 40 miles a week, and your long run was 50% of your weekly mileage, then that long run becomes incredibly hard on the body. When you have a low weekly mileage, in fact, you’re better off not doing the long 20-mile runs, but doing them a little shorter, say 16 miles. But that would mean you would have to do more medium long runs and/or higher intensity long runs to compensate for this.
Marathon Running Tip #3: Medium and Long Runs
Your marathon performance will benefit greatly from a second long run, shorter than the longest run. Your body needs to build up that exposure to longer runs. So try to do as many runs for 90 minutes as you can and can do. Training runs longer than 90 minutes will help your body change its fuel burning processes.
Marathon Running Tip #4: Touch
To be optimally prepared for race day, you need to write. After all, marathon training will make you very tired. If you want fresh legs, reduce your training load in the last three weeks before the race. Also make sure your last 20-mile run is at least three weeks before the race.
If for some reason your schedule gets mixed up, don’t be tempted to run your 20 miles the next weekend, which is two weeks before the race. It is much better to start the race with fresh legs, if a little poorly prepared, than to start with tired legs.
Your main training for the marathon takes place 1-6 months before race day. So don’t try to increase your mileage at the last minute in the weeks leading up to the marathon. It may give you a little more confidence that you’ve done what you need to do in training, but it will actually backfire because you’ll just be tired when you do your run.
Marathon Running Tip #5: Be smart about food
Because training for a marathon is so difficult, you want to make sure you eat well. Make sure you eat enough carbohydrates. This is your fuel. In the week before the race you will want to hydrate well and eat more than your usual amount of carbohydrates. But don’t fill up. You want to have a lot of energy, but not feel sluggish.
Also keep in mind that you will need to refuel during the race. You must know exactly what you are eating and when. And you should try in training everything you want to eat before and during the marathon. Whether it’s bars, gels, sports drinks, or “real food.” When you get stomach cramps during your marathon because you’re eating something you’ve never tried before during the race, there’s no one to blame but yourself. So make sure you are well prepared in everything that has to do with your marathon, including food intake!
The marathon is an amazing event, with a huge draw for young and old, fit and unfit. Whether you’re an elite runner or a beginner, the marathon will take it all away from you. So make sure you’re optimally prepared with the marathon running tips above and combine them with a positive attitude. You have to believe in yourself and know that you can achieve great things, so when the going gets tough in the last few miles, you keep going!