Thinking of Entering a Marathon? Here are Some Top Tips for Training
Every year, millions of people run marathons all over the world, and for a variety of different reasons. Whether they’re running to get fit, running for a charity or they’re just running for themselves, marathons are a great way of sharing sport, exercise and passion for a particular cause.
Marathons should not be taken lightly however, (and here’s a good article proving it) and experienced runners train all year round to make sure they’re prepared. If you enter a marathon without a training plan or strategy, you will quickly find yourself facing an uphill struggle, not least being left behind all the veteran runners.
The modern-day marathon originated in Greece around the 1800s, and since then the race has been considered the highest form of endurance. The 26.2 mile standard was set at the 1908 London Olympics, and thanks to thousands trainers and coaches, it remains one of the most high profile events in the UK.
Training for a Marathon: Getting Started
Before you even consider starting your training for a marathon, you must always evaluate any health risks. 26.2 miles is a very long distance, so if you have any medical complaints it’s best to get advice from your doctor before you get in shape.
Marathons can inflict intense levels of stress on your cardiovascular system and your neuromuscular system, and combined with any extreme weather you might face on the day, you may need to watch out for hypothermia and a number of other conditions.
Before embarking on an entire marathon, experts recommend that a beginner should consistently run a base mileage for a year at the very least, before undertaking the entire 26.2 haul. Running 20-30 miles every week, whether it’s broken up into small chunks or undertaken in large runs, will no doubt help your marathon cause.
Although all marathons will have drinks stations along the way, it’s best to strap your own bottle on your arm or to your waist. Not only will you have to slow down to grab a bottle at these water stations, but there may be a massive queue ahead of you meaning you won’t get the chance to hydrate at all.
If you are going to wear a hydration belt on your marathon race day, don’t try something new. The last thing you want is uncomfortable training equipment holding you back when you’re running, so make sure you try out your belt a few weeks before the race.
Hitting the Wall
Everyone has heard about hitting the wall, but unless you’ve experienced it, you’re going to find it tough to prepare for. The body’s primary source of energy is glycogen, and frustratingly it can only hold so much. When that supply is all used up, your muscles will begin to feel heavy and tire. While running, nothing will be able to replace this spent glycogen, but there is a way to reduce the symptoms on your body. Eating small amounts of carbohydrates, from energy gels to pieces of fruit, can prevent you hitting the wall, but only for a certain amount of time. After that, it’s all down to your determination and training. Good luck!