Marathon Training Tips

So You’re Thinking About A Marathon: 5 Tips for Pre-Training and Training
by Sonya Bridges

At one point or another, the idea of entering a marathon sprints across the mind of a runner.  This can be intimidating territory for many, especially those who either just started running, or who run but don’t consider themselves terribly athletic. When I was younger, I never imagined running such a long distance. But the idea flitted through my mind a few times, then began to linger until I could no longer ignore its siren call and I plunked down money for my first one. Now, I’m hooked! Here are some pre-training and training tips that worked for me:

5 Pre- Marathon training tips:

1. Understand that training for a marathon is very time consuming.  Fitting long runs in of thirteen to twenty miles during the weeks of marathon training is difficult for most people because of busy schedules.  But long runs are necessary to build physical and mental stamina, so get ready to give up some major personal/family/friend time.

2.    Get a clean bill of health before beginning marathon training.  If you’re new to running, see a doctor before beginning a marathon training schedule.

3.    Invest a new pair of running shoes. Make sure they fit properly.  Find a store that has the ability to put you on a treadmill and analyze your gait. This helps you find the shoes that fit best.

4. Invest in a GPS. While not a necessity for marathon training, a GPS provides a heart monitor and it will help reach your distance goals in desired time.     

5.    Sign up for a race – If you slap down money and make a reservation, chances are you will complete your training and show up for race day.  Once the money is paid, a true commitment has been made, and the update emails regarding the race event will keep your motivation to train sky-high.

5 Tips for Marathon training:

1.    Investigate the course. A downloaded copy of the marathon map and the terrain is very beneficial.  If the course is hilly, find hills to run during your training.

2. Stretch, stretch, and stretch to avoid injury. Develop a warm-up and stretching routine.  Proper stretching should be done from head-to-toe to avoid injury.    

3. Watch calorie intake. Don’t assume marathon training gives permission for feeding frenzies after every run.  The same principle of eating more calories than you burn will cause weight gain still holds true during marathon training.     

4. Be your own motivator. The mind is a battlefield, so be determined to win over any negative thoughts that might creep in during your training and never lose sight of your goal.    

5. Understand the difference between soreness and injury. Never “push through” pain.  Soreness is expected and even welcomed, but if an injury persists, it should be addressed with medical attention.

Sonya Bridges is the founder of A Family Affair, an organization that promotes literacy awareness nationally. Bridges received her M.Ed and made it halfway through her Ph.D program before an official diagnosis revealed she has dyslexia and ADHD.  She attributes running to healing her emotionally and helping her focus each day.