Essential Tips for Successful Marathon Training
For every runner, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, training is the key to success.
Most people can’t just roll out of bed one day and run 26.2 miles- it takes time, hard work, and dedication.
In this blog we’re going to look at the key areas to focus on during training and provide some tips and tricks for success.
For Marathon Training it’s a good idea to follow a structured training plan. This could be one you’ve put together yourself based on previous experience and knowing what works for you. Or if you’re new to this then you could follow a plan from a coach or trainer. There are plenty of training plan resources available online and through many health and fitness apps.
Whatever training plan you’re following, it should include cross training. This means incorporating different kinds of exercise that work different areas of the body. For running this usually means combining cardio and strength training.
Strength Training for Runners is a very important part of the training process, not only does it help to prevent injuries but being stronger can help you run faster.
It’s always important to consider the food you eat, and this is even more important during training periods. Getting the correct nutrition can improve performance, prevent injury and illness, and promote faster recovery.
So don’t wait until the week of your race to start eating well, you should consider your nutrition a part of the training plan.
See more about why you should use nutrition during training see: Benefits of Using Nutrition in Training
Whilst nutritional needs vary from person to person, a runner’s nutrition should focus on three key elements: carbs, protein, and hydration.
Carbohydrates are broken down to glucose, which is then stored in the body as glycogen, this is the body’s main source of energy.
Carbs are a macro nutrient and therefore should make up a large part of a runner’s diet. Common foods that contain carbs include pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread.
Protein is essential to aiding recovery as it reduces muscle soreness and promotes muscle repair and growth.
It’s worth noting that some high protein foods can also be high in fat and over consumption can cause excess weight gain. If your goal isn’t to gain weight, then you should consider low fat protein options.
Foods that are a good source of protein include: Lean meat, fish, beans, nuts, eggs, & cheese.
Hydration for runners is more than just drinking enough water. During exercise we lose electrolytes through our sweat, these electrolytes are essential to keeping the body properly hydrated. This is why runners should consider electrolyte supplements, either in the form of a hydration drink or electrolyte tablet.
See The Arts of Staying Hydrated During Workouts for a more in depth look at workout hydration.
5 Tips for Success:
Finally, we want to share some of our tips for successful marathon training.
1 - Be consistent:
Following a training plan can be tough at first, especially if you’re a complete beginner. The most important thing is to stay consistent, stick to the plan and remember it will get easier the more you train.
2 - Don’t start too late:
Most training plans last for around 16-20 weeks. This is the minimum time you should allow to train for a marathon, even if you’re a seasoned pro.
3 - Start small:
Starting small and building up the length and intensity of workouts gradually is the best way to train, stick to the plan and don’t skip ahead. Rushing in and pushing yourself too hard in the beginning can cause injuries which will only set you back.
4 - Don’t skip rest and recovery days:
Rest and recovery days should be built into your training plan, neglecting these can be more damaging than you might think. Over working your body and not allowing time for repair can cause serious injuries.
5 - Nutrition planning/practice:
As mentioned previously, nutrition should be a key element of your training, this includes in-race nutrition.
Practicing in-race fuelling during training allows you to try a variety of fuelling methods and products. The worst thing you can do is try out new products on race day and risk an upset stomach.
Whether you’re thinking about running a marathon, or you’ve already signed up, take our advice and set yourself up for success. Follow your training plan and give yourself plenty of time.