Training to run 26.2 miles takes commitment and dedication. And while the road to race day may be long and hard, I promise you that the work you put in during your training will pay off in spades. Every runner’s training regimen varies based on their experience level, but for beginners and veterans alike there are helpful tips that benefit everyone. Here are a few things to remember while you prepare for your marathon.
Complete a Half Marathon
There are many advantages to competing in a half marathon as part of your training. Running a half marathon can help you gauge your fitness level in actual race-day conditions. Additionally, completing a half marathon will help you set your pace for race day and mentally prepare for what’s ahead. It’s a confidence booster and a tangible marker of your progress. Once you have a half marathon comfortably under your bet, a full marathon won’t feel quite so insurmountable.
Build Body Strength
Preparation for a marathon doesn’t begin and end with cardiovascular workouts—it’s also a good idea to build overall physical strength. Make sure to incorporate strength training and core-focused workouts into your training schedule in order to maintain top physical condition, run more efficiently, and reduce the risk of injuries.
Set Attainable Goals
It’s important to remember that your goals should be attainable. It takes time for your body to acclimate to running long distances, so make a plan with milestones that you feel comfortable achieving. While you may be motivated to speed up your training, pushing yourself can actually be counterproductive. The progress you make while training should be gradual—don’t get ahead of yourself and erase your hard-earned gains by trying to speed up the process.
Obtain the Proper Gear
What you wear during your marathon isn’t just a matter of personal style, it can have a real impact on your overall efficiency. From your shoes to your shirt, make sure that your gear is comfortable, breathable, and lightweight. Additionally, always assess the condition of your running shoes before your race. Do they cause blisters after wearing them for a long period of time? Are they comfortable? Are they still providing you with proper shock absorption? A good rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles, so don’t wait until the midsole is completely broken down before buying a new pair.
A few days before the big race, consider doing a small trial run. In good spirits, do a short two to three mile run at the pace you’ve been working on for the actual race day. Wear all of the gear you plan on racing in, and if possible take a trip down to the actual starting point of the race. Doing this trial run will help you familiarize yourself with the process of getting there and ticking off those first few miles of the course will help eliminate race-day jitters.
Start Slow and Steady
When race day finally arrives, try to keep a relaxed, positive attitude. Enjoy the circus-like atmosphere of the race and embrace your adrenaline, but don’t forget your training! Stay true to your training pace and execute your plan and in a few short hours you’ll be crossing that finish line with your arms raised in victory.