Are you thinking about running a 26.2 marathon but you do not know where to start? A traditional marathon is 26.2 miles or 42.195 kilometers. In this article, you will find key steps for you to bear in mind while getting everything ready to start running, from shoe selection to training and healthy habits like eating properly and resting.
To begin your preparation, you must select the shoes and socks you will wear. The appropriate shoes should be lightweight but, at the same time, they have to provide proper support. The socks should be similar to those you wore in previous races.
If you are planning to wear other training shoes, which are not your regular ones, then you should wear them on at least one 10-mile run at marathon pace. By doing this, you will check if they hurt your feet or develop blisters, so you will have time to choose another pair.
It might be important to test your fitness, to do so you might run half a marathon. It might also provide you with a mental lift and a little rest period in the few days before and after as you taper and recover from it. You can run this half race a bit faster than you regularly do, to test your speed and endurance.
Speed up to Check your Effort
Another tip that might help you is, while training and with eight miles to go, you could run on a minute per mile slower than your goal pace for the first two miles. After that, speed up every two miles in order to run the last miles at goal pace or a bit faster.
This test will show your effort as you become tired. Try doing this once a week within the four weeks before the 26.2 marathons.
Miming the Race
If it is possible, you can do some runs following the same topography as the marathon. You should make use of everything around you, hills, treadmill or even the stairways to start getting familiar with the ground difficulties you might encounter
According to Girard Eberle, M.S., R.D., a former elite runner and author Endurance Sports Nutrition, “Serious-minded racers and those with finicky stomachs remember that sports drinks do triple duty when compared with water by providing fluid, carbohydrates, and electrolytes, the most important being sodium.”
While practicing for the marathon, you should incorporate your drinking to stay hydrated and help maintain glycogen storage so you don’t collapse. Find how often the marathon will have aid station and if you do not run with fluids, make sure you put some bottles along the route.
When it comes to clothes, you will have to consider real running ones. You can choose some made of Coolmax, Nylon or a blend, rather than cotton which can be suffocating.
Once you have all the items you need, check if the piece of clothing irritates your skin, they might seem cool at the beginning, but when running and sweating, they can be uncomfortable.
As you train for the marathon, stick to your original plan, that is to say, do not do more miles than you are used to, otherwise you might get hurt, and it will not help your race.
Even though you feel great, do not push yourself to train more. You need to become used to a certain level of training and draw your strength from hard work. Maintain your fitness and get good sleep.
Some days before the race, do a couple of miles marathon-pace run in the clothes you are planning to wear; use your complete outfit and shoes. Add some mental exercises such as picturing yourself on the course running strong and relaxed. It might help to boost your confidence, and it will give you a bit of conditioning.
If you are able to do it, you can run at the same time the marathon starts. This will sync your body’s rhythms(including the bathroom routine) with marathon needs. The more you can do this, the better. But you can try harder, at least, three days before the race.
Reviewing your training and setting one goal for a good race day and another as a backup plan are a must in case it is hot or windy, or you are not feeling good. As regards the second goal, you might be unprepared if something goes wrong during the race, so you need this goal to keep you motivated if things are not perfect for you.
Your first goal is connected to what you have been working during your preparation time. The second one should keep you motivated at the 22-mile mark on a bad day, for instance; finishing in the top 50%, or just reaching the finish line.
Before going to sleep or first thing in the morning, try visualizing yourself crossing the finish line. Being mentally positive will give you more confidence to achieve your expectations.
Reducing your Stress Level
The last week before the race, it would be wise to minimize external stresses as much as possible. Control any work project, decline nights out to get good sleep, and, among others things, are stay positive to re-enforce your concentration level.
Since you will taper and expense few calories, you will have to eat carbohydrate-rich food during the last three days. You can choose eating pasta, potatoes, bread, fruit and fruit juice, and you should add a scientifically formulated, electrolyte balanced sports drink. To give you the energy needed for the race.
The day of the race, you have to eat your breakfast two or three hours before the marathon. This should be a carbohydrate-rich breakfast because ss as you slept, your brain was active and your body sweats using the glycogen and electrolytes, so breakfast restocks those stores, making it less likely to run out of fuel and electrolytes.
Do not do more than a few minutes of light jogging, if you are a faster runner with a goal pace quicker than your training pace and finish minutes before the start, in this way; you will preserve your glycogen stores and keep your core body temperature down, maintaining your electrolyte balance. And do not forget to stretch a bit.
As mentioned before, stretching is essential. You can try some gentle stretching fifteen minutes before the start. You should concentrate on the muscles of the back side of your body, But don’t overdo it! Remember that your goal is to start the race comfortably.
To preserve glycogen stores longer to finish the race feeling strong, you should run the first miles 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than goal pace.
When you get thirsty, every now and then, take a sports drinks to maintain the carbohydrate and fluid levels that you achieved earlier. This will help postpone or prevent severe dehydration or carbohydrate depletion later. It will allow you maintain your pace.
Keeping things under control until passing the halfway mark would be relevant for your performance. Afterward, you can start racing. If after the 18 miles you are still feeling good, then it is time for you to get ‘aggressive’ to aim at your goal smoothly.
These are simple and achievable tips and ideas that you can follow to get in good shape to run 26.2 marathon and feel comfortable while running it. Preparation and visualization before the race are necessary to get the expected results. Visualize your goals clearly and try hard to achieve them.