Running for a marathon isn’t just waking up and deciding to join the race. Professional athletes will tell you the importance of preparing adequately for a marathon. It all starts with an early commitment then physical preparation. Even if you signed up at the last minute, that one week of training might be what saves you from avoidable injuries. Here’s a guide on how to prepare for a marathon.
- Have A Training Plan
Running for 42 or 21 kilometres isn’t an easy task. Therefore, you can’t do it all at once. It’s important to find a plan that helps you build up mileage. Marathons are all about endurance. Learn how far you can push your body and in time you will be able to run a full marathon. It’s also important to know when to stop to avoid overuse injuries.
- Load Up Your Carbs
While running for a marathon, you need to be as lean as possible. That means reducing as much body fat as possible. It also means eating foods that boost energy. Therefore, your diet should have about 80% carbohydrates as they are great energy boosters. Avoid too many proteins as they’re harder to digest which might slow you down.
- Get A Partner
Everything’s better in two. Get someone who’s training for the same marathon and practice together. Elite runners often work out together as a way to encourage each other and share different inputs. You can learn from each other’s training plans to perfect your workout. You may even get a professional trainer if necessary.
- Treat Injuries Immediately
Make sure you address any pains after each training. Waiting might make it worse forcing you to pull out of the marathon. If you feel a low-level pain after training, you can wait it out. However, if it persists for more than a week, you should seek medical assistance. High-level pains should be addressed immediately.
- Stay hydrated
Dehydration is the leading cause of most marathon-related injuries. Make sure that you up your water intake during training to avoid muscle cramps and other injuries. You may need to take more than the recommended amount to compensate for water loss as a result of sweating. Additionally, you should avoid caffeine or alcohol as they are vasodilators. The Benefits of Staying Hydrated
- Rest Sufficiently
You need to preserve as much energy as possible once your training gets intense. Make sure you get a good night’s rest to better improve your performance. Having a time schedule will help you plan your nights well. Since most marathons happen in the wee hours of the morning, try to schedule your training around the same time.
- Buy Running Shoes
The worst mistake you can make during a marathon is run in uncomfortable shoes. Your feet will never forgive you for that. Make sure you have the right shoes and in the RIGHT SIZE. Don’t go a size up or down as this may cause injuries.
Additional tips: If you’re running a marathon that hosted outside your town such as the Lewa Marathon, get to the location a day early. This is because races start very early and you might not be able to get there on time. You should also organize for your accommodation to avoid the last minute rush on the day of.