Are you a runner? Into fitness, or interested in getting into both? Whatever your aspirations are, at some point you have heard someone mention a marathon.
The marathon derives from Greek lore when a man named Pheidippides ran from Marathon, Greece to Athens in 490 B.C. to announce to his fellow Athenians the defeat of the Persians. Pheidippides ran about 25 miles. As the first Olympics took place in Athens in the 1800s, a race was created to commemorate Pheidippides great run. They called it a marathon and it was around 24 to 26 miles in length. Eventually, a specific distance of 26.2 miles was set and that is the official distance we use to classify a marathon to this day.
If you have ever run a marathon, you know it is not like a walk in the park. If you have never attempted a marathon, you may not know the physical ramifications of running 26.2 miles.
For many runners and fitness enthusiasts alike, the marathon is a major goal and milestone in their careers. Marathons require preparation and exclusive training to accomplish. If you have no preparation, do not expect to fully be able to finish the race.
This article provides 10 of the best tips for preparation in any marathon race.
1. Set an achievable goal
Many individuals go into the preparation and running a marathon with the unrealistic expectation that they are going to win the entire thing. Or at least finish in the top ten.
If this is your first time running a marathon, sadly that will not be the case. Unless you develop some sort of flat out advantage or super powers for that matter, first timers usually will struggle during the duration of the run.
The best tip is to have an achievable goal to start out. Do not set the bar too high and do not set the bar too low. Set a manageable goal that you can work to achieve.
2. Train Intelligently for the Marathon
If you go in thinking that there is going to be no training necessary to partake in a 26.2-mile race, you are insane. Even the most advanced runners need to endure a training period to prepare for the run. That being said, there is a difference between training and training intelligently.
You can go out and run a mile every day, as fast as you can. Or you can pace yourself and progress over a period of time to prepare. Maybe start with a mile week one and then run two miles on week two and so on. There are many marathon training programs available on the internet. Research and find one that best fits your style.
Do not just go out and run every day with no set progression routine in mind. Also, allow yourself rest days while training. Your muscles need time to repair and grow stronger while training.
3. Start drinking and fueling early on in training
This is one of those tips that many individuals do not carry out. Early on, you need to start consuming the proper fluids and fuel sources to make sure your body slowly adapts to your progressive training habits. If you change something to quickly later in your training, such as eating too little or not drinking enough fluids, your body could turn on you.
You could lose energy and get very sick. Fuel and fluids are required to maintain your body while running. Starting out early on rather than later will allow your body to maintain a balance and award you with positive results.
4. Create a running regimen and stick with it
When training, stick to a specific schedule. Make a plan and follow through with it. On those regards, stick with a routine every time you set up for a run. This can go a simple as wearing the same pair of shoes to as complicated as wearing specific clothing and stretching the same way every time: prior to a run. This is where your body gets into a mindset.
When you do your certain little routine, your body knows, “it is time to run”. Carry this routine all the way up to race day and do not change a thing. I guarantee you will see better results if you stay consistent with your rituals.
5. Review the course beforehand
If you are going on a trip somewhere you have never traveled before, you review the directions, right? Why does this have to be any different when running a marathon? There is no rule stating it is illegal to look over the course you are going to be running. This allows you to strategize and find out some tips about the area you will be running through. You may even get out there and run the course yourself to test it.
This allows you to strategize and find out some tips about the area you will be running through. You may even get out there and run the course yourself to test it.
6. Limit the Stress
Chances are if you are reading this article you have an interest or are currently preparing to run your first marathons. Or you are still a newbie and may have only a few long runs under your belt. Chances are, you are not participating in the Olympics or the professional circuit.
Just relax. There needs to be no stress involved. If there is any sort of stress you are either training way too hard or your goals are out of proportion. Sure, if it is going to be your first run, there will be some butterflies. That is all a part of the process.
Relax and enjoy the whole training process from start to finish. You will have better results if you relax and have fun.
7. Mentally Prepare Yourself
Before you partake in this long trek, you are going to need to make sure you are mentally ready. Mostly mentally ready to endure the physical and emotional torture of running the dreaded 26.2 miles. Think positive thoughts. Tell yourself you can conquer these miles with no problems.
Listen to your favorite pump up tunes to get yourself in the zone. Focus up and get ready to push yourself to achieve your set out goal. Remind yourself what you have been training for. If you mentally prepare yourself ahead of time, you will not suffer any emotional breakdowns while running. Your physical performance will be elevated as well.
8. Run Smart
While running the race, make sure you are not wasting any unnecessary energy. You are going to need every single little bit to run the marathon. A good tip when you first begin is to pace yourself. Do not go all out in the first two miles.
You will not finish if you try this method. Start slow, get into a solid running groove and zone out. Rely on all those hours of training and concentrate on good running form to propel you through the race. Also, practice some simple energy conservation tips like taking the shortest route around turns.
Basically, take the inside on turns. Take as few steps as possible, meaning do not zig-zag or run parallel. Run in a straight line with nice, even strides. Also, while running make sure you are hydrating wherever fluids can be found on the course. Do not skip the hydration while running. This avoids dehydration and cramps.
9. Dig Deep and Overcome the Pain
By the halfway point in the run, you are going to be dragging. There is going to come to a point during the race where you will want to quit. You will want to stop and sit down somewhere. The worst thing you can do is succumb to the pain. Tell yourself repeatedly, a motivational phrase to pick you up and keep you going.
Sing a song in your head. Smile while running. A smile on your face will instantly help you get back into the zone and help you dig deep within yourself to finish the race. Remember all those hard runs and tell yourself, this is nothing. Stay positive and continue at all costs.
10. Finish Strong and Celebrate
When the end is near, that is the time to turn on the jets. The crowd usually congregates at the end of the track and will surely be screaming their heads off in support of the runners. Use this to your advantage. Take the small dose of adrenaline you will receive from the crowd and give everything you have left to finish the race. Give the crowd something to cheer about. Honor the marathon how it is supposed to be run and end the race in a champions fashion. When finished, now is the time to celebrate! More importantly, hydrate and take a seat. You have earned it.
Congratulations! You are prepared to run your marathon. Use these tips to help prepare and run to your goals.
The marathon is a sacred event in the running world and should be treated as such with hard training and mental toughness. By competing in any marathon, you are commemorating your city, fallen heroes and causes bigger than yourself. You should take great pride with every step you take.
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