A Marathon Milestone
For some it's the ultimate goal for others it's just a number. Whatever it means to you, it's gonna be a personal journey of sweat, tears, burst blisters and perseverance.
Many non marathon distance runners ask, how do you train to run non stop for 42.2km?
My reply to this question is you don't, or I don't or hadn't run a marathon distance before I ran my first marathon. To prepare for such a feat of course you need a mental fitness which allows you to continue on through discomfort. You'll need to understand your body, if you're asking it to run a marathon it's going to ask you for something in return, usually in the means of hydration and nutrition. Feed and water your body well and it will reward you, after all you wouldn't try and run your car without fuel! Personally I always train with a vest carrying a hydration bladder, food and first aid kit as a minimum, even if I'm just doing a quick 5km it helps my body to get used to running with weight and allows my running style to remain the same.
Back to the training, although you don't need to do 42.2km training runs, 20km distances are a requirement and also help you to gauge how your body acts under stress and fatigue. Remember every person is different and what works for someone else may not be appropriate for you. We all have a unique style and the only real way to find yours is to get out there on practice runs. Build up training is recommended before a marathon, especially if you are new to running. 2 months is a good time frame and can build your fitness week by week, progressive training also reduces the risk of injuries. If you do suffer an injury the best advice is to stop training and rest, always warm up slowly before a run and always stretch after this will actually build stronger muscles faster and will reduce your overall recovery time. An ideal 2 month marathon build up would look something like this:
- WEEK 1 - 5KM RUN 3 TIMES PER WEEK - 50-60%HR*
- WEEK 2 - 7KM RUN 3 TIMES PER WEEK - 50-60%HR*
- WEEK 3 - 7KM RUN 5 TIMES PER WEEK - 70-80%HR*
- WEEK 4 - 12 KM RUN 3 TIMES PER WEEK- 50-60%HR*
- WEEK 5 - 15KM RUN 3 TIMES PER WEEK - 50-60%HR*
- WEEK 6 - 20KM RUN 3 TIMES PER WEEK - 60-70%HR*
- WEEK 7 - 25KM RUN 3 TIMES PER WEEK - 65-75%HR*
- WEEK 8 - 15KM RUN 3 DAYS PER WEEK - 50-60%HR*
NOTE: It's always a good idea to give yourself 2 days of rest before race day.
*HR - Maximum heart rate as a guide only, if in doubt contact your medical professional first before embarking in any physical activity. This training plan is meant as a guide only and it's recommended that you always seek professional advice first.
Which ever shoes you plan to run your marathon in make sure they are the ones you have done most of your training in. Never buy a new pair of shoes for a race! If you do experience hot spots, try different pairs of socks or as I do to prevent any kinds of blistering just tape up. Taping your feet properly the night before a race will make sure it is secure and covering all the likely spots where blisters may occur. Personally I tape anywhere which is likely to receive chafing, feet and nipples are a priority!
Hydration and Nutrition are important during a marathon. Most organised events will be catered for with food and water stops along the way. Many off-road events however can have minimal supply stops so you will need to be able to support yourself between stops. As previously mentioned I always carry my running vest to prevent ever getting caught out. Carbohydrate gels are a good source of nutrition and are quickly absorbed by the body, electrolyte powder mix will hydrate you much faster than water alone and will quickly replace essential salts lost through heavy sweating. Eating and running is an art and it is useful to incorporate this into your daily training. Cramping is caused by lactic acid build up in the muscles and is very common in long distance endurance training. Good stretching before, during and after events will help to reduce cramping muscles. If you stop along route stretching is a must, your tendons and muscles will become like rubber bands and you do not want them to cool down too quickly. Keep your legs fully extended where possible.
Lastly enjoy it you are embarking on an epic adventure and one that will inspire and excite others around you. The finish line is the goal but the journey is the challenge.
For more information or outdoor advice drop us a line at Info@Ashsportz.com, we'll be more than happy to help you out.