If you are thinking of doing a marathon here are ten things to keep in mind in order to make your training and competition the best it can be…..
1) Variety is the spice of life
Vary your training, include slow runs, fast runs, interval sessions and incline (hill) training. Mix up your routes, and build your distances gradually.
You’ll be pounding the pavements and covering long distances during the build up for your marathon and with every running step your joints absorb 2.5 – 3 times your body weight. As a result a good running shoe is imperative. Visit a good quality running shop for an individual assessment and recommendation of the best running shoe for your foot type.
3) Slow and steady wins the race.
Preparation is the key – start training early, plan your sessions, set yourself attainable goals and achieve them! Consistency is essential. Regular, varied training sessions of good quality, not just quantity, will help prepare you for a better performance and prevent injury. A minimum of 12 weeks is required to build your training for a marathon. A last minute training sprint is not the answer!
4) Don’t forget the warm up and cool down
Too often we try to save time by skipping these key components to our workout. A thorough warm up and cool down are vital to prepare our muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints and aid recovery in order to prevent injuries. So if you want the chance to partake in next year’s marathon too, don’t forget these key components!
5) Your body knows best
Pain is your body’s protective mechanism to warn you something may be wrong. Don’t ignore it and blindly push through. If an unusual ache or pain doesn’t resolve with rest – address it early. Seek help from a professional. This will give you the best chance of a quick recovery and prevent further injury.
If you have experienced problems when running in the past it may be worth considering a physiotherapy assessment with use of our digital motion analysis to address any problems with your running technique such as overstriding or reduced forward lean.
6) You are what you eat
Don’t forget that nutrition and hydration are as important as your physical preparation. Be aware that it is also possible to over-hydrate, resulting in hyponatraemia. Go to http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrition/factsheets/sports/distance_running for advice on nutrition and exercise from the AIS.
7) Quality rather than quantity
Evidence has found a that high running mileage is the greatest predictor of running injuries. Whilst some long runs are a key part of your training save them for the peak season and don’t over do it. Remember your varied training sessions including shorter, faster runs and some conditioning training too.
Never underestimate the motivation from training with others and having friends and family around to cheer you on and help you keep pace on the day.
9) Race day
Don’t try to suddenly up your pace or intensity at the last hurdle – race day. Be secure in your preparation and stick to your plan. Ensure you have a nutritious breakfast 2 hours before and stay faithful to your usual running clothes and most certainly your usual shoes!
Don’t forget to be liberal with the Vaseline and cover any potentially sensitive areas that may chafe!
10) Have fun!
A good Physiotherapist is key to your marathon preparation. They are the experts at assessing and diagnosing biomechanical issues and and related symptoms.
Don’t forget you entered this for the personal challenge and to enjoy the experience so remember to do just that! Enjoy.