You finally went and did it! You signed up for a marathon and now you are in panic mode. You have a limited amount of time to go from out of shape into having the ability to run a marathon without dying. Keep your cool! It is possible to get yourself in shape in time, but it is going to take a little bit of doing to get there. Just take it one step at a time (no pun intended) and you will be ready to actually enjoy the marathon. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Tips on Training for Your First Marathon
Buy a Treadmill
When you are training for a marathon, excuses are a dime a dozen. Any blip on the weather radar and you will be able to justify why today is a good day for you to rest. Keep in mind that the more you allow yourself to make excuses to sit a day of running out, the easier it will be to keep sitting days out. Stop yourself from doing this to yourself when you buy a treadmill. The treadmill allows you to keep training even when it is pouring rain, snowing drifts or even if there is a hurricane.
Try to make sure that you are buying a full size treadmill with the option to incline the belt. This will allow you to have a more stable surface to run on and will help you to create different elevations and grades for you to run on while you are training so it will be closer to the real thing.
Watch What You Are Eating
The foods you are eating need to be customized to your running. This means trying to reduce your fat intake as much as possible while you are running, but increasing your protein and your carb intakes. You will burn a LOT of energy when you are training this hard. Protein will help you to maintain your muscle mass even as it is being burned off. The carbs will give your body something to use for long term fuel rather than your muscles.
Always make sure that you are bringing along a protein bar with you while you are running. This provides yourself not only with a snack that provides you a burst of much needed energy. It will also inject some carbs into your run so you will not come up short. You will notice a decrease in cramps and an increase in your ability to keep running.
Keep a Running Log
When you are training, you will need to make sure that you are keeping track of your distances that you are running every day. Try not to focus on time unless you are a seasoned runner and you are trying to improve your speed.
Rather, you should concentrate on what you are eating every day, how much sleep you are getting, external stressful influences, how long of a run you took and how you felt before and after your run. You will find that all of this information will help you to organize your day better. You will understand what foods are causing you trouble while you run, how much sleep you need and how close you are getting to marathon length running.
Vary Your Running
Some people feel that they need to run the full length of the marathon every day that they are running. This is not accurate. In fact, you should run some days longer than what you will run in the marathon. Other days you should run a shorter distance with more intensity. Other days still, you should run the normal length, but with a very relaxed pace.
By switching up your training routine, you will avoid getting bored and you will be able to train your muscles to be prepared for anything. This will come in handy when you are running at the start of the race in the pack and you have no control over the pace. If all of your training is at one pace with no wiggle room, you will tire quickly and may not make it to the end.
Marathons are not meant to be torture. They are a challenge meant for the dedicated runner. Make sure that you are having fun in your training every day and it will be something you will actually look forward to.
If you can train with friends, it is a lot more fun than going at it alone. You may even want to go to the gym to use their treadmill on days when the weather is bad. You will be amazed at how much better you will train and how well you will perform on the day of the marathon when you have fun in your training.