You can run a marathon with these tips
Sticking with last week’s article about training for your first 5K, Clarissa ironically emailed me the day it went live to discuss an article about training for longer runs, like marathons. It fit too perfectly not to agree to publish! So here are some ways to prepare yourself for that long, long run or just how to increase your exercise capacity in general!
Thinking about running a marathon?
“I could never run a marathon”
If you’ve ever said or even thought this statement, you might be surprised to learn that you’ve already done things that are just as difficult as running marathons. For instance, you’re reading this blog post right now. No sweat. But there was a time in your life when the alphabet looked like a bunch of meaningless squiggles.
There were a lot of steps between your first recognition that those squiggles had meaning and your current reading level. You had to learn the alphabet and memorize all the sounds the letters make. Then you had to learn how to sound out words and practice your reading comprehension. It took years.
Fortunately, training for a marathon does not take years, but like learning to read, there are important steps along the way.
Let’s take a look at those steps. Once you see that training for a marathon is just working through a bunch of very doable steps, you’ll find that you can run a marathon. In fact, you could start working toward that goal today.
Establish a Base Level of Fitness
You should be able to do some kind of aerobic activity like running, walking, or biking for at least 30 minutes at a time before you begin training for a marathon in earnest. If you’re not currently at this base level of fitness, that’s okay.
You can work up to it fairly quickly by pushing yourself every day until you reach that 30-minute mark.
It’s also wise to get a check-up with your physician and explain your goal of running a marathon. If you have any old injuries that could be a hindrance, this is the time to address them.
Improve Your Diet
In order to be ready for a marathon, you’re going to have to provide your body with the nutrients it needs for maximum endurance. Work on decreasing the following foods in your diet:
- Refined flours and sugars, fried foods, red meat, and dairy products
And to fill the voids, eat more of the following foods:
- Fruits and vegetables, fish, legumes, and whole grains
As you improve your diet, you’ll have more energy and stamina. You’ll be ready to train.
Adopt a Healthy Running Style
It’s a good idea to get an experienced runner or fitness trainer at your local gym to take a look at your posture and running style.
You should keep your arms loose at your sides and avoid moving them across your chest as you run. Holding tension in your neck and shoulder area can cause strained running, which interferes with marathon performance. It’s also wise to pay attention to your breathing so you can stay relaxed.
Start Out on Easy Routes
At the beginning of your marathon training, avoid inclines and unfamiliar areas. When you first start running, don’t expect too much of yourself.
Remember that you’re just learning your alphabet, so to speak. Set your timer for 10 minutes, and don’t stop running until you reach that goal.
Of course, if you’re feeling great after 10 minutes, push yourself a little farther until you can run 3 to 5 miles.
Enter Shorter Races
Entering a local fun run of 5 to 10 km can be a great way to mark your progress toward a marathon.
You might even meet some new people to train with. Once you embark on running half marathons, begin cross-training (swimming, cycling, and weight training) to give your muscles a break.
Before you know it, you’ll be running that marathon you thought you could never achieve. With consistent effort, you can achieve your marathon goals.