Running a marathon is a hard task, not to mention if it’s your first ever marathon. It takes a lot of training to be able to complete a marathon. Even if you do sports regularly, running a marathon is a different thing. It is mentally and physically very draining on the body. But do not worry, we have come up with some tips for running your first marathon.
Plan the training
Find the perfect training plan for you. Seriously, there are literally thousands of free training to prepare you for a marathon. Find the one that suits to your lifestyle and schedule. Choose a plan that easily syncs with your daily routines. This makes it easier to follow through your training and stick to it.
Give yourself time to train
Your body has to adjust, it would be suicidal to train only for two weeks and then run a 5k marathon. You will fail, unless you are already used to running 5k. For first-timers, especially those who had not been very active in sports, give your body time to really adjust to running. It will take time to get your body to up to speed. Don’t rush the process or you will risk yourself of being injured. Jenny Hadfield, an author and columnist for Women’s Running Magazine and RunnersWorld.com suggested that first-timers should aim to train for 12 to 14 weeks for a half marathon, and 18 to 20 weeks for a full marathon.
Incorporate other training outside running
This might sound counter intuitive, but you would not want to run every day for training. Instead, switch it up. Build strength in your body, lift weights, do yoga, pilates, cycle, swim, do exercises that are easy on your joints to ease up the pressure from running. Never underestimate weight lifting, it can increase your balance, strength and endurance.
Listen to your body
Your body is not a machine, somedays you will have bad days and somedays you will have good days. A Fitbit or other fitness tracker may not know this. The key is to be running at a pace that you are comfortable with. Even if it’s slower than your last run.
Use this talk test that running coaches recommend. If you can have a conversation and talk in sentences, you are running at an easy effort, which is great. However, if you can only talk in one word this means you are going too fast. The pace that are comfortable to your body will depends on where you are racing, how you are eating and what’s going on in your body.
Wear the right gear
You would not want to go into race day and wearing your running shoes for the first time. You should try out the gear that works best with your body. Use the shoes that compliments your feet shape and the one that gives you the best support. This also includes picking out the right sports bra and legging. You would not want to constantly pulling up on your leggings because it keeps slipping down. Sports wear is different than your everyday clothing, it needs to be perfectly comfortable first and foremost. While training, try out various gears to see which one works best for you.
Read more on our checklist when buying sports bra if you are having a trouble in picking out the right one.
Watch what you are eating
It is obvious that what you are eating is very important. You should never exercise with empty stomach if you are going to exercise for over than 1 hour or high intensity workout. Stick to familiar foods that are easy on your stomach, low in fat and fibre, and high in carbs. Don’t eat so close before working out. Everyone is different, but the general rule is not to eat 1 hour before working out. If you eat heavy meals, you may need to eat 2 hours before.
During the race
Don’t go too quickly. First timers always do the same mistake of going fast from the off. It’s better to start off slow and pick up the pace later during the race. Also remember to drink water when you get the chance to. Your body will be dehydrated if you are running a 5k or 10k without drinking water. Drink even if you are not thirsty, it will be easier later for you to keep on going.