Signing up for a race is a great motivator to ensure you stick to your fitness goals. Having that set goal with a specific date in mind helps you to stay on track, especially when you know that day is quickly approaching. Completing a full marathon can be quite the accomplishment when it comes to races, yet if this is your first race it may not be such a good idea to start out straight at the top.
If this is your first race, try starting by running a 5K with these tips; then build your way up to a 10K, a half and then the full marathon. Yet if this is not your first race and you feel you are ready to tackle that full marathon goal, we want to help you accomplish that goal and have the most successful marathon race possible.
Finding a training plan and sticking to it is only half the battle, there are certain tips that may help you prep for the big day. So when we came across Shape Magazine’s Top 25 Marathon Training Tips we knew this was something we had to share with our NordicTrack treadmill runners who may be thinking of signing up for their own marathon.
We tried narrowing down the 25 to the ones we felt were most important, yet even then had a hard time combining them all into one post. So here is Part One of the Top Marathon Training Tips to help you “avoid common marathon running mistakes and fly across that finish line”:
Find Your Perfect Stride
Knowing proper running for is really going to help you “go the distance”. According to the previously mentioned Shape Magazine article, it may just be “the difference between finishing your goal and coming up short” when it comes to your marathon race. They advise you to “think like Goldilocks” when it comes to perfecting your stride: “not too short, not too long, but just right.”
If your strides are too short, you are wasting energy while covering less distance. While if your strides are too long you will fatigue your muscles more quickly. Find a stride in between that is comfortable for you. Check out this article with tips on How to Run Correctly.
Protect Your Feet from Blisters
Not only is it important to find the running shoes that are going to fit you perfectly, but it’s just as important to select the right socks. Nothing is worse than completing your training feeling great with both your body and mind ready to tackle those 26.2 miles, then you come to find a blister forming mid race.
Be sure to have socks that cover your ankles completely. Samantha Clayton, a former Olympic sprinter, stated that “double layered socks are a must-have professional runners item. They really work in helping to prevent the dreaded blisters.”
Ice, Ice Baby
Ice packs are great for when you a have a specific injury, yet Shape suggests using ice to help relieve inflammation even when you don’t have a specific injured area. “After a long run, ice your shins for 5-10 minutes to relieve inflammation that may be present.” It’s a great cheap prevention measure that not only works, but feels great after a long run.
Don’t Just Run
During your training you may think that the best way to train for your marathon is strictly by practicing running, practice does make perfect does it not? Yet according to an article titled Strength Training for Runners, in addition to injury prevention, weight training improves performance.
The article went on to state that studies have shown that by adding weight training to your training program it will improve your running economy (your steady-state oxygen consumption for a standardized running speed). This means that by improving running economy a runner would be able to run faster over the same distance and increase their time to exhaustion. Try these Plyometric Exercises to Improve Your Running Speed.
Give Your Bones Extra TLC
You are going to be running an extensive amount of miles during your training period; all of this running is going to add strain to your joints and bones. You are going to need to protect your bones by upping your calcium intake during training. Clayton stated “calcium intake is essential. Bone density problems occur so often in distance athletes because of the low body-fat and excessive strain placed on your body with a vigorous training schedule. A good calcium supplement will help your body maintain bone and joint health.”
While training outdoors leading up to the race is great way to get the feel for outdoor running come race day, the air outside may be more harmful to your run than helpful in this situation. This is where having an at home treadmill really comes in to benefit. If you live in urban areas, the poor air quality may play a big factor into your oxygen intake during your runs. Be sure to add incline to your treadmill runs to help mimic the outdoor terrain a little more.
Gradually Increase Your Mileage
While your training plan should gradually increase your mileage as you progress, if you aren’t following a specific plan, be sure to give yourself plenty of time before race day to increase your mileage slowly, Clayton says. “An increase of one to two miles per week is more than enough and will keep you on track with your goal.”
Be sure to come back tomorrow to check out Part Two of the Top Marathon Training Tips.
Are any of you training for a marathon?!
Any tips and tricks we’ve missed that you think needs to be added to tomorrows list?!