Many runners make the mistake of thinking that if they can run a certain distance, they are ready to run a marathon. This is not the case. A marathon is a completely different animal than your average 5k or 10k race. If you are a beginner runner, there are some essential marathon training tips you need to know before attempting your first marathon.
1. Build up gradually for longer distances:
Before you toe the starting line of your first marathon, there are a few things you should do to prepare. Marathon running is not only a physical challenge, but also a mental one. If you’re not careful, running 26.2 miles can seem daunting. By building up your endurance and experience gradually, you’ll be better prepared come race day and have a more successful marathon experience.
Here are some essential tips for first timers:
- Start by running shorter distances and gradually build up your endurance. This will help you get comfortable with running long distances and prevent any injuries.
- Start by running 3-4 times per week, and then slowly increase your weekly mileage until you’re running 20-25 miles per week. This will help improve your fitness level and endurance over time.
- Don’t forget to cross-train: In addition to running, be sure to include other forms of exercise in your training plan. This will help improve your overall fitness and reduce your risk of injury.
- Listen to your body: It’s important to listen to your body during training. If you’re feeling tired or sore, take a rest day or cut
2. Stregth train:
If you’re a beginner runner, make strength training a part of your routine. You don’t need to spend hours in the gym, but by incorporating basic exercises that work your glutes, you can help keep yourself injury-free. They are the largest and strongest muscles in the body, and they play a key role in running. When they’re weak, you’re more likely to experience injuries such as IT band syndrome and shin splints.
One of the best ways to strengthen your glutes is with squats. To do a squat correctly, stand with your feet hip-width apart, then slowly lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight and tuck your pelvis under as you squat. Pause for a few seconds before rising back up to starting position.
3. Join a running group:
If you’re thinking of running a marathon, or are simply looking for a way to improve your running, joining a running group can be incredibly beneficial. Running groups offer more than just camaraderie and support- they also provide experienced members who can act as running coaches and mentors. It’s also a great way to learn about proper running form and how to train for a marathon. Group members often swap tips and share their racing experiences, which can be helpful in preparing for your own race. Here are a couple of reasons why running with a group is a great idea:
A running group can help you set and achieve realistic goals. If you’re just starting out, it’s important to have achievable goals so you don’t get discouraged and give up. An experienced runner in your group can help you map out a training program that will help you improve gradually over time.
A running group can also help keep you motivated. If you know that a few friends are also training for a race, you’re more likely to get out the door and run regularly. Running with a group can also offer you something to look forward to–a new training session, races, or even just regular social outings.
4. Long runs are key:
When you’re starting out running, the biggest question is always how far and how often to run. For beginners, shooting for 3-4 miles per run, three times a week is a good place to start. As your endurance improves, gradually increase your mileage. And don’t be afraid to go long every once in awhile! Running long distances will help improve your endurance and make those shorter runs feel easier in the long run (no pun intended).
But it’s not just about distance – time is also important. When you’re starting out, aim to run each mile at an easy pace – about 10 minutes per mile. As your endurance improves, gradually pick up the pace so that you can complete each mile in less than 10 minutes. This may take some time, but gradually increasing your speed will help improve your overall running performance.
5. Be consistent, be sensible:
You’ve probably heard the saying, “nothing worth having comes easy.” A big part of becoming a successful marathon runner is consistency. This means running on a regular schedule, even when you don’t feel like it, and sticking to your training schedule. It also means being sensible and resting when you’re feeling unwell or injured. Marathon running is a challenging sport and it’s important to be patient in order to achieve your marathon goals. Don’t try to run through an injury – this will only delay your progress and may result in further injury. Listen to your body and allow yourself time to recover. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to overtraining and burnout, so be sure to take breaks when needed and enjoy other activities outside of running. By following these essential tips, you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful marathoner!
6. Need for speed:
If you are a beginner runner, you may be tempted to think that speed sessions are not necessary. After all, you are just starting out and your main goal is to finish your first marathon. While it is important to focus on endurance while training for a marathon, you should not skimp on speed work. A lack of speed can lead to a time slower than your goal.
There are a number of benefits to incorporating speed work into your training routine. First, speed work will help you improve your running economy. This means that you will be able to cover more distance at a faster pace with less effort. Second, speed work will help you build strength and power, which can translate into a faster marathon time.
Finally, speed work can help prevent injury. By strengthening the muscles and connective tissues in your feet and ankles, you can reduce your risk of developing an overuse injury.
7. Race other distances like half marathon:
If you are a beginner runner, don’t be intimidated by the marathon. There are plenty of other races out there that can provide you with a great running experience without all of the added pressure. Try running a half marathon or 10k race. They are both great distances for beginner runners and will still give you a sense of accomplishment when you finish.
In addition to providing a less daunting challenge, these shorter races can also help improve your marathon time. By running shorter distances on a regular basis, you will increase your endurance and get comfortable running long distances. Marathon training can be challenging, so it’s important to take advantage of any opportunity to improve your performance.
Is 20 miles long enough for marathon training?
When it comes to marathon training, there are a lot of opinions out there on what the perfect distance is. Some people believe that 20 miles is plenty, while others think that runners should be prepared to do at least 26.2 miles before race day. So, which is right?
The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some people can safely train for and complete a marathon with only 20 miler under their belts, while others may need to do significantly more mileage in order to be properly prepared. It all depends on the individual’s level of fitness and experience, as well as other factors such as age and health history.
What about a 20 mile race?
The merits of running a 20-mile race are also debatable. Some runners feel that running this distance helps them prepare for a marathon, while others believe that it’s simply too long and can be taxing on the body particularly if done at or quicker than marathon pace. Ultimately, whether or not you run a 20-mile race is up to you – just be sure to listen to your body and take into account your experience level when making your decision.
8. Electrolytes, hydration and fuel for your efforts:
Your body needs water to function, including running. When you don’t drink enough, your performance and health can suffer. You may feel tired and have a headache. Drinking fluids pre-race, during and after running can help you stay hydrated and perform your best.
You can help ensure that you have enough glycogen stores (the body’s main source of energy for running) by eating carbohydrates in the days leading up to your race. Energy gels are a convenient way to get them while on the go. They come in many flavors and some have caffeine. Choose one that agrees with you and practice using it during training runs.
Electrolytes are minerals that keep your muscles working properly. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes, so it’s important to replace them. Sports drinks are a good source of them, or you can take a supplement pill or mix some salt into your water bottle. Remember: Don’t overdo it on race morning.
9. Get treatment for niggles and injuries:
When you start running, you might be tempted to push through the pain when you start experiencing niggles and injuries. But doing so can lead to bigger problems down the road. In order to stay healthy and injury-free during marathon training, it’s important to get treatment for any niggles or injuries as soon as they occur.
Here are some tips for doing just that:
- See a doctor or physical therapist if you’re experiencing pain that doesn’t go away after a few days of rest.
- Ice the affected area regularly, especially after running.
- Stretch and foam roll regularly to keep your muscles loose and flexible.
- Take time off from running if necessary to allow your body to heal properly.
10. Be realistic about you target pace and time:
When you’re training for your first marathon, it’s important to be realistic about your marathon goal pace. Err on the side of caution and make sure you train sufficiently. You don’t want to risk injury or ruining your race by going out too fast.
In addition, take into account weather conditions and the course profile. If it’s windy or hilly, you’ll need to adjust your pace accordingly. And if you’re older or have a less than ideal running history, it might be best to start out slower than you think you can run.
Remember that the most important thing is to finish the race. So if your goal is simply to cross the finish line, then set a more conservative pace and enjoy the experience.
11. Train smarter as you age:
As you age, your speed decreases, your stride length shortens, and you’re more susceptible to injuries. Recovery also takes longer. But with a bit of smart training, you can overcome these natural hurdles and maintain or even improve your running performance.
One way to train smarter as you age is to focus on strength training. This will help keep your muscles strong and reduce the risk of injuries. You should also cross-train to give your body a break from pounding the pavement all the time. Swimming, biking, and using an elliptical machine are all great options.
Finally, make sure you’re taking enough time for recovery. When you’re young, you can bounce back quickly from hard workouts. But as you get older, it takes longer for your body to repair muscle damage and rebuild energy stores.
12. Pace sensibly during the marathon:
You should start the marathon at a pace that you feel comfortable with and that you know you can maintain for the entire race. If you go out too fast you will likely hit the wall later in the race and end up walking or crawling to the finish line. It is better to start slow and then pick up the pace as you get closer to the finish line. There are plenty of people who will be passing you in the last few miles but if you have paced yourself sensibly you will have the energy to sprint to the finish line and beat them all!
Post Race marathon training tips for beginners:
Congratulations, after months of diligent training, the big day has finally arrived. You run the marathon and complete it! After crossing the finish line, what’s next? Here are some tips to help you recover from your marathon race.:
- Get plenty of rest. Your body needs time to recover from the marathon. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep per night.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration can occur after a long race, so make sure you drink plenty of water and sports drinks in the days following your marathon.
- Give yourself time to heal. Don’t start training for your next marathon too soon – let your body heal properly first. Start by gradually adding light walks or runs to your routine a few weeks after the race.
- Take care of your muscles. Consider taking an ice bath to reduce inflammation and speed up recovery. Fill a tub with cold water and add several bags of ice cubes.