Welcome back for even more Top Marathon Training Tips and be sure to check out Part One if you missed out. Here are a few more tips for you first time marathon runners, or less experienced marathon runners, to help you avoid common mistakes and cross that finish line:
Wear a Heart Rate Monitor
We’ve mentioned in a previous post titled Should I Use a Heart Rate Monitor, that heart rate monitors are useful tools to help keep you accountable and track your progress during your training workouts. Shape Magazine article Top 25 Marathon Training Tips that we discussed in part one agreed. “Wear a heart rate monitor and a good watch so you can keep a diary of your mile splits. Stay accountable to yourself, set realistic goals, and work toward them.”
Skip the Pasta Fuel
Many runners use the carb-loading strategy the night before their big race, but Shape states this may not be the way to go. Tom Holland, an exercise physiologist, stated “we all know that you need to carb up before the race, but stuffing yourself with pasta can end up making you feel fat, slow, and lead to GI issues.” Instead try loading up on liquid carbohydrate drinks and not so heavy complex carbohydrates. Also be sure to drink a lot of water with this meal to help digest the higher load of carbs properly.
Take It Mile By Mile and Have Fun with Your Distance Runs
When you are constantly thinking about how much farther you have to go it can really make the race drag on, which can lead to a lack of motivation and fatigue faster. Break your long run down to smaller segments. When you have a 15-miler set on your training schedule, start out by thinking of accomplishing a 2-mile warm-up first, then think of tackling the next 5-mile segment, and so on. You can even go mile by mile. Breaking down your long runs will help you feel less overwhelmed.
Another great idea with your long distance training runs is to start getting creative about how fun you can make them. Shape recommends sites such as mapmyrun.com for suggestions on routes that can add some creativity to your runs. You can use your long runs as an excuse to see a neighborhood you normally never would, or a park you’ve never passed. Map your runs for things you can see on foot that you would miss out on in your car. Making all your runs different and interesting will add some excitement to them, giving you something to look forward to.
Stash Your Water Supply
Water is crucial to any run, but especially your long runs, which you can read more about here. During these long training runs it’s a good idea to stash frozen water bottles along your trail the night before your run, especially if you are running in the heat of the summer. Be sure to fill it only ¾ full so the water will have room to turn to ice and not explode. If you take one with you when you leave, and then stash one about half way through your route you should be set. The water will melt by your run in the morning ensuring you an ice cold beverage right when you need it.
Don’t Wait to Answer Nature’s Call
When you got to go, you got to go, there is not much else you are able to focus on. Running while you are focusing on the need to go can waste valuable energy by having to hold it in. Shape recommends “if you feel the need to pee halfway through a run, don’t hold it. Instead, if you’re not near a public restroom, find a gas station or a Starbucks.” If worst comes to worst, hide behind a bush and relieve yourself, I am sure you will not be the only one.
This is one thing marathons need to become aware and comfortable with, especially for you first time racers. The need to go while your running can increase your time and cause you to lose focus. They have even invented “running skirts with built-in undies [that] are incredibly discrete; just pull one side of the undies over and you’ve got a built-in porta-potty.”
Last but not least…Visualize Your Success
“Athletes use visualization all the time to help them achieve their goals, and you should too.” Spend some time prior to race day visualizing yourself “running strong, executing your game plan, and crossing the finish line with your goal time on the clock above you.” Visualize the feeling of crossing that finish line, your family and friends cheering you on, what an accomplishment it will be. These reminders will keep you motivated and focused on your goal!
Hopefully these tips will help you to cross that finish line and accomplish your marathon goal, as it is quite an accomplishment to be proud of and we would love any one of our readers to experience this!
Ever ran in a marathon?! Or signed up to run in one in the future?
What tips or tricks do you have that helped get you across that finish line?!