Some Training Tips And Advice For Running a Marathon
Training for a marathon can be both a hugely challenging and rewarding experience. It takes a lot of dedication to conquer a marathon, and there will be times in between on the practice laps and sprints when you feel as though your body is breaking down and betraying you. However, with the right training combined with healthy fitness meal prep, you’ll be able to power through and defeat the marathon.
With this in mind, we wanted to go through some key training tips and advice to help you run a marathon like a pro…
Log your runs and know your limits
It might seem fairly obvious, but in order to make progress with your running it’s a good idea to log all the miles that you’re doing during training. Logging your progress will make a huge difference when it comes to the day of the race.
Remember, that running requires you to use your entire body. You’ll be working everything from your core to your legs, and because of this it’s all-too-easy to end up overtraining. In order to avoid the tendency to overtrain, cut down the total number of runs you do, and focus on doing two short runs and one long run a week.
Avoid strenuous high-impact exercise
Of course training for a marathon involves a lot of cross-training, which ideally should focus on cardio or strength. If you think about it, most of the run will require good cardio health, but there will be parts that require strength, such as up-hill running.
If you focus on doing incredibly intense workouts, such as HIIT, then you’ll no doubt improve your cardiovascular health. However, the constant focus on high impact training may actually damage your body in subtle ways that really effect you when it comes the day of the race. Everyone’s body is different of course, but doing more low-impact cardio and strength training will actually ensure you don’t pick up a sudden injury before the big day.
Stretch every single day
After you go for one of your training runs, you’ll probably notice how tight your calves and hamstrings feel afterwards. This tightness can eventually lead to pain in the knees and ankles, and could even cause lower back pain too. So, it stands to reason that you need to stretch after every exercise and run you do, and every night before bed.
In particular you need to focus on stretching your calves and hamstrings, and you can do this by doing some simple standing calf stretches, or by doing a full blown downward dog calf and hamstring stretch. Everytime you stretch it should only take a few minutes, but you’ll soon notice the difference it can make. If you skip your stretches then chances are you’ll seize up over night, and end up putting yourself at risk of injury.
Stay active on rest days
It’s important that you let your body recover when you’re training by taking appropriate rest days, as training for any distance race is likely to leave your legs feeling fatigued and sore from time to time. The best way to fight these feelings is to get the blood flowing, which is why staying a little active on your rest days is recommended.
You don’t have to actually go out and do another run or anything, simply going for a short walk can work wonders for your muscles. Staying active will encourage your muscles to heal faster, and something as simple as walking outside can leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. If you don’t fancy a walk, then try and do some low-impact Pilates, or some yoga to stretch out your body.
Marathon meal prep
What you eat while training is massively important and every meal needs to be geared towards helping you achieve your goals. We recommend taking a fitness meal prep approach, as you’ll be wanting to rebuild muscles and replenish glycogen stores. This means focusing on foods that are high in protein, and contain a moderate amount of carbs. Put together meals that give your body the nutrition and protein it needs to recover throughout the day, and the same goes for any post-workout foods too.
This doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds, as there are a few common misconceptions about meal prep out there. All you need to do is get a list of healthy ingredients together, and luckily there are plenty of recipes available. Stick to the fundamental building blocks for a balanced diet; including proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre. These will help heal your muscles, and refuel your energy stores so that you can train harder for longer.