“Marathon training is like having a part time job. The key to being successful is hard work, dedication and to have fun!”
First- Set goals for yourself! They will be VERY helpful during training especially on your long runs or speed runs!
Second- Where are you going to run this marathon? Make sure you do your research: Where, when—does this work into my schedule? Do I need to register for a lottery or can I just register and pay the fee? Do I need to qualify?
Third- Figure out what training schedule is going to work for you. Google—Marathon Training schedules!!! There are millions! Trial and error on finding the perfect one
-I use a different one every year to avoid boredom!
Fourth- DON’T QUIT!! Just pick up where you left off!
Have a basic fitness level before training begins and make sure you are mentally/physically up to the challenge!!
-You should be able to run at least 3 miles without resting before you start training.
Give yourself enough time to train. Things come up and you might not be able to accomplish every session.
-If I find an 8-12 weeks training schedule, I’ll start 9-13 weeks prior to race day. This way I give myself an extra week for “make up” workouts. Unexpected things come up and workouts get missed.
If you have a stressful or exhausting day, choose cross training (exp. Yoga, Swim, Kickboxing). Plan accordingly to your upcoming schedule. Be consistent with your training and details won’t matter.
-My schedule is CRAZY and never consistent! I print off my training schedule and keep a blank calendar next to it & fill in the workouts I do. I always make sure to get one long run in per week. To me, long runs are mandatory and must be completed every week!
-Swimming (A GREAT low impact activity)
-Cycling, Bike Riding, Spin Class
Cross training days should be considered “easy” days so choose wisely!
-Swimming or spinning is my go to cross-train. TIP: Check local hotels to see if you can use their pool to get your laps in!
Stretch & Strength:
Is VERY important to stretch shortly after you run. Your muscles are still warm and more willing to stretch! If you don’t, your muscles will become tight, increasing your risk of injury and making your next run less enjoyable! Check out yoga! You might enjoy it! AND please never ignore your IT band!
Strengthening is often overlooked! It’s important to strengthen the legs, arms and core!
-Single Leg Squats
–In my early marathon training I ignored strength training because “I just got done running for 1-2+ hours! I don’t have time!” MISTAKE! Make time! Having strong legs takes you a long ways. Don’t forget about the core and arms; a strong core will help you climb that wall you hit. And yes, you are going to hit a wall at some point in your running career!
SHOES are IMPORTANT!! Avoiding running more than one race in the same pair of shoes! Make sure you purchase shoes that fit your unique foot and not the “cool” looking shoe. Ask the shoe sales person for help! If they have no idea what they are talking about try a different store.
-I’m an Asics person! I tried a couple others and now I walk into a store and go straight for the Asics and they have never failed me!
CLOTHES-Make sure you check the weather! It seems as though your race day will never be perfect running weather! Be prepared for rain, snow, sleet, humidity, heat, cold, wind and whatever else Mother Nature can throw at you! Pack for every situation!
Is IMPORTANT!! If you allow your body to rest you will perform better and reduce your risk of injury.
-I plan a 6 day/week workout schedule if I only get 5 days/week it’s because I listened to my body. I will perform better the next week from the extra day of rest my body told me to take!
Plan to have a meal 1-2 hours before a workout. Skipping meals before workouts or race days will decrease your performance. Carbohydrates should be ingested before workouts. After workouts you should ingest carbohydrates to replenish glycogen storage and protein to stimulate muscle recovery. Half to full marathons can last from 1.5-6+ hours!! Sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade or Vitamin Water) may help your performance by replacing electrolytes lost. If you are thirsty, you are dehydrated. Avoid/limit soda, coffee, alcohol, energy drinks and excessive caffeine. For every 15-20 minutes you workout, you need 8 oz of liquid to replenish your body! NEVER skip a water station, you may not be thirsty, but your body is!!
-My night before:
Spaghetti and of course breadsticks!! I found out the hard way to skip the salad in order to skip the port a potty!
-My morning of:
2 slices of peanut butter toast and a banana
Powerade zero (zero has less sugar to avoid GI complications!)
Chocolate milk, more water and Powerade Zero!
Pasta dish and/or some kind of chicken, rice, veggies
Whatever I want- I’VE EARNED IT!
I hope my personal trial and error tips will help you run your next or first half or full marathon!! Remember, have FUN and imagine the finish line during those training days that kick your butt! I never remember my times from race to race but I remember the feeling I get after I cross that finish line! That is what keeps me going back for more!!
**What has motivated you to run a half or full marathon? Or what keeps you coming back for more? What’s your number one tip for fellow runners?
Happy Running Season Runners! I’ll see you on the pavement!
For more information please feel free to email me at: Megan.Fandrich@scrmc.org