Adequate training is essential, as it helps to ensure that you can complete marathons safely and lowers your risk of injuries. Every athlete is different, so it's important to implement a training program that suits your individual needs, ability and experience. There are, however, general guidelines for training programs. Before training, it's important to stretch and warm up your muscles.
Training for marathons requires determination and motivation. To perform at your best and to enjoy participating in a marathon, it's essential to take training seriously. Maintaining your motivation to train regularly is sometimes difficult, but keeping up your mental stamina is necessary when running a marathon. Having clear goals can help with motivation. Remember your reasons for wanting to complete a marathon.
Make sure you have the right equipment for running. Shoes should fit you properly and be the right kind to suit your feet. Invest in good quality running shoes.
Nutrition is a vital part of marathon training. It's important to maintain good nutrition to build strength and speed up recovery. Carbohydrates should make up 65% of your calorie intake, with a focus on complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are a good source of glycogen. Proteins are important for reparation of muscles, and 10% of your calorie intake should be derived from protein. Unsaturated fat should make up 20% to 25% of your calorie intake. Vitamins are also necessary to maintain good health during training.
Don't run every day, because your body needs time to rest and recover. Interspersing training with recovery days helps your body grow in strength. This also helps prevent injury. During recovery days, put ice on any areas of your body that are sore. Ice should be applied 4 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes. Recovery time v aries from person to person. Don't train if you're in pain, and if you see the warning signs of an injury, attend to it immediately.
Before you begin training for a marathon you should be able to run for 30 minutes. Alternating between running and walking is a good way to prepare for marathon training.
The overall distance that you're running per week should gradually increase until three weeks before the marathon. Aim for two long distance runs a week, allowing your body time in between to recover. These long runs can start at 6 miles and then work up to the goal of a 20 mile run. Completing a 20 mile run will help your mental stamina on race day. Include one day of fast running in your training. The rest of the days your runs should be 3 to 6 miles. The long distance runs allow your body to get used to running long distances, and the shorter runs and rest days allow your body to recover and gain in strength.
If there are any shorter races in your area you can enter them. This will give you experience running in a competitive environment and increase your motivation.
Final 3 Weeks
You should cut back on training during the last 3 weeks. It's important to get a balance between reducing your training and remaining fit. This will allow you to enter the marathon well rested but at peak fitness.