With the date for the London Marathon set for October 3rd 2021, and the Brighton Marathon just a few weeks earlier on September 12th 2021, first time marathon runners and veterans alike will have recently embarked on their training for the big day. But do you know where to start or how to optimise your performance? Our series of blog posts will discuss all things training and race day preparation, to help you to prepare. In this week’s blog post we will discuss some top tips to help you embark on you marathon training successfully.
Don’t just run to get fit, get fit to run
Every year, many first time marathon runners start their training as part of “keep fit regime”. The reality behind this is that not everyone will have baseline levels of fitness which will allow for effective running training straight away. Before starting your training programme it is vital that you look at your overall levels of fitness. For some runners the best starting point is to increase your fitness using low-impact machines in the gym before starting to go out for runs. Strength training is also key in preparing your muscles for the increasing mileage they’re going to need to work for.
Prioritise injury prevention
Prevention is always better than cure. Address any niggles that my arise before they become significant, ignoring them and continuing regardless may lead to a bigger problem which could interfere with your training plan.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to those who you may be training with. Everyone progresses at different rates, and comparing yourself to others (who may have a lot more running experience!) can be detrimental to your own development. Any comparisons should be made against your own times/distance so that you can see the improvements that you have made.
Listen to your body
Everyone says it, but not enough do it- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Yes your muscles will ache, but you also need to set limits and allow yourself to recover in between training sessions. Not giving your muscles time to rest and recover is one of the leading causes of injuries among marathon runners.
Fundraising for charity is a great motivation to keep going
Choosing a charity that means a lot to you and fundraising for them helps many runners to keep going with their training even on days when they don’t want to. It is inevitable that at some point during your training you’ll wonder “why am I doing this” or “I don’t want to do this anymore” but having something other than yourself to run for can really help to keep you motivated.
Make sure you have the correct trainers
Something so simple, and very often overlooked, but it can make a huge difference to how well you are able run. Going to a specialist running shop will allow for them to asses your running style and find shoes which will support this. Having the correct shoes will help to prevent injury, and make running more comfortable.
Planning and progression
Sticking to your running plan it critical to a positive end result. Just because you’re feeling good at the end of a run- don’t keep going! The plan is designed to give your body time to adjust and adapt in between runs, deviating from this could limit your chances of effective recovery. Effective training plans should gradually increase time/speed/duration in a way that your body can cope with.
Make sure you time each of your training runs
Timing each of your runs can be helpful when tracking your progress through training. This will give you a good idea of what improvements you still need to make, in addition to the motivation you get when you can see the time its taking to complete the same distance ticking down!
Make it fun
Running by yourself can get pretty boring- join a local running club to meet people with similar goals to you and to help make your training more fun.
Pace yourself- slow and steady wins the race!
When you first start running it can be tricky to work out what pace you should be going at. Running at a speed where you could comfortably hold a conversation at is a brilliant starting point. As your fitness improves over the duration of your training plan, it is likely you’ll find that this speed is able to increase.
Run how is comfortable for you
Everyone runs differently, literature will tell you that there is only one effective way to run- which is partially true. But it is vital that whilst you are running you are comfortable. However, 3 key things to remember whilst you are running are feel tall, land softly, and have a slight forwards lean. As you develop is a runner it is likely these aspects will develop over time and become a natural part of your running style.
Core strength is more important than you think
Long distance running is demanding on you entire body, so it is important that your core is strong in order to support the demands you are placing upon it. Simple exercises are very effective in strengthening your core and can bee found in one of our previous blog posts here.
Something that many over look until they start to get problems. Stretching the key muscle groups regularly and after every run will keep them in good condition and help them to recover. For example, glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves will be doing the majority of the work whilst your are running, and stretching these will help to prevent injury and aid recovery.
This blog post is not designed to replace a complete medical assessment. Should you experience any pain or discomfort stop the activity and consult a healthcare professional. For appointments and personalised treatment plans contact us