Planning on running a marathon? Here are some training tips to consider!

by paspapt

Many people decide that they would like to do a marathon without really thinking it through.  Training for a marathon is a big commitment that includes not only running but also strength training and stretching.  If you have busy schedule with work and family, be sure that you will be able to fit in all the training that is necessary to have a great marathon experience and an injury free one too.  Below are few tips that you should keep in mind.

1.  Run a few 5-K or 10-K races to be sure that you enjoy the experience of racing.

2.  Never increase mileage or speed too quickly.  A good rule of thumb is to increase mileage by only 10%-15% weekly.  So, if you are currently running 10 miles per week, the following week you would increase by 1-1.5 miles.  This can help you to avoid overtraining that can lead to muscle and joint injury.

3.  Do not increase mileage and speed at the same time.  If your plan is to increase your mileage then do not increase speed the same week.

4.  Gradually introduce hill work.

5.  Get a good fit on your running shoes.  Some of the good running stores have experienced salesmen to help you get the proper fit for your foot. But be wary… some salesmen can give you lip service.  Be sure to get a recommendation to a good running shop.  Your physical therapist can also help recommend specific shoe needs by evaluating your running gait and/or foot structure.

6.  Buy at least 2 pairs of running shoes that were fitted for you.  If you run in wet conditions one day, you need at least 24 hours to let your sneakers dry out.  Having a second pair allows you to run the following day.

7.  A good rule of thumb is to change your running shoes every 250-450 miles.  Keep in mind this does depend on your weight and the running surface you are training on. Shoes may look good but may no longer be providing cushioning or support that you need.  Joint pain may also be an indicator that you need new running shoes.

8.  Never buy new sneakers or clothes for the marathon. Your sneakers should be broken in for your 26.2 miles.  Clothing should be made for runners, nylon/sweat wicking material, you will feel cooler and it will not irritate you skin.  Blisters can quickly end your race on marathon day.

9.  Rest.  You need to take 1-2 days off every week from training to allow your body recovery time.

10.  Cross training with other aerobic exercises can help with your fitness level and prevent muscle imbalances.

11.  Strength training and stretching are crucial in keeping you fit and avoiding injury.

12.  Nutrition.  Remember you are burning a lot more calories per week and you need to maintain proper nutrition and hydration.  Also remember 2-3 days before the race start to carb load, not fat load.  Starches like potatoes, pasta, bananas, bagels, fruits and carb energy drinks are all good choices.  Avoid fried/fatty foods.

13.  If you are experiencing persistent muscle or joint pain, immediately consult with your physician or physical therapist.  Running through the pain does NOT make it go away.

Pam Paspa