October 21, 2021

Preparing for a Marathon

The morning jog sometimes needs an extra kick. It’s important to spice things up now and again both to avoid hitting the plateau and to keep yourself invested. So what can we do with running to make it more interesting? Turn it into a marathon training session. And here are a few tips on how to prepare.

Limits

You should be aware of your limits. Like, how much you can run now and at what speed. There is a world of difference between running through your neighbourhood and taking on 26.2 miles. Pulling a muscle, spraining your ankle, dehydration, exhaustion: all of these are pretty common for those that bite off more than they can chew. Check with your doctor what your body can do now and what you can expect it to do in the future.

Slow And Steady

I’m not talking about the tempo of the race, but that also factors in. What I’m talking about is trying not to overreach. This is a problem with many people taking on a new training regiment and giving up when they see they aren’t as fit in this particular regard as they’d like to be.

Increase your distance steadily. Don’t go for 10+ miles on your first run. When you break that first barrier, you are going to feel fine, because your body shuts down pain receptors. After all, it figures you are going to be doing this for a while and heed no warnings. The trouble starts after that run because you’ll be out of commission for a while.

What Distance to Run And How Often

As I said, try to improve the distance gradually. Don’t worry about the speed. That comes later. You should go on a run about four or five times a week. Start with something relatively simple, like 2-3 miles. After you have (gradually) increased this to 5 miles, you can set aside a day for a longer run. This won’t come to you in a month or two. Prepare to set aside a year for this.

Here is the thing: to compete in a marathon, you have to be able to finish it in under 4 hours. Because of this, it is unrealistic to run a marathon every day, or even a few days a week. Hence the aforementioned one day a week I was talking about.

Why Not Run Every Day?

As important it is for your body to get used to stress and being tired and sore, it is just as important to have time for rest and recovery. Quality sleep, days when you don’t do anything physically demanding, save for a walk or light yoga, and taking care of your body are instrumental in achieving your goals.

This applies to more than just running. Whether you are doing cardio, calisthenics, or weight-lifting, your body needs to rest to progress. You are not one of those village grandmas that has toiled all her life and can carry a grown man over a mountain. Unless you are, in which case: Cheers, Nan!

Pace

After you have conquered the distance, focus on improving your speed. You need to master the rhythm necessary for a good pace and then adjust it so that you can cover more ground in a shorter time. It helps to have someone next to you for this.