It’s gruelling, it will take some down and raise others up, but above all, it’s a test of commitment, dedication and personal growth. Whether you’re a pro or a first-timer, we’ve put together 26.2 marathon training tips below to get you in your best shape yet! Some from a nutritionist, a few from a running coach and some general tips and advice. Whether you’re a pro or a first timer -we wish you the best of luck from all of us here at the Pure Package team!
1. Seek professional advice.
First and foremost, seek out a personal coach or use online tools and advice forums for the support that you need to get started and to help guide you throughout your training. Ensure that you have enough time and set yourself manageable and realistic goals.
2. Avoid comparing yourself.
Thousands of people will have spent the cold winter or sweaty summer months gruelling the pavements to train for a marathon. Everyone will have set their own goal. Stay in your own lane and run at a pace that works for you – we can’t all be Mo Farrah!
3. Technique, Technique, Technique.
Nailing this from the start can really go the distance in helping you achieve your goals. Short and choppy strides waste energy and cover less distance whilst an over-reaching stride can cause muscles to fatigue early on.
4. Choose the right pair of trainers.
Your shoes will be your most prized investment. Go and get fitted at a professional running store and ensure that they fit perfectly. That’s if you chose not to partake in barefoot running. Yes really!
It’s the little things sometimes that really make a difference. Choosing a great brand of running socks will go miles to support your running. They will provide your feet with the right cushioning and limit the likelihood of blisters forming.
6. Utilise technology.
Smart watches are fantastic ways to track your running, they are also useful tools to monitor certain health credentials such as your heart rate and your sleep quality.
7. Use a fitness app.
Most smart watches sync with fitness apps to help you keep track of your running; or if you haven’t invested in a smart watch yet, there’s plenty of apps available for your phone!
Similar to a New Year’s resolution, your intentions start off very well but we all know the drill. We lose interest and drive to continue on. Try to remember why you’re doing this. Is it to raise money for a charity? As a personal challenge? Or whether it be simply just for fun. Keep reminding yourself of why you started and the amazing sense of achievement at the end. And remember, just keep running!
9. Cross Train.
Running is very high impact which can put pressure on your bones and joints which could lead to an injury. Cross training with low impact exercises such as cycling, swimming or yoga is a great way to ease the tension whilst still supporting your aerobic fitness.
10. Strength training is important.
The more muscle mass you have the stronger you will feel. Try to add a combination of upper, lower and core workouts into your training regime.
11. Look after your bones.
Bone mineral density is a problem among athletes, especially amongst female runners as a low body fat percentage puts an increased strain on bones due to the sheer amount of training. Increase your intake of calcium from dairy sources and rich leafy greens, alternatively try a calcium supplement. Calcium will also help support the absorption of vitamin D.
12. Run on the same terrain.
As the marathon is outdoors is it sensible to practise running outside when possible. Bad weather conditions can limit this sometimes so if you are running on the treadmill, make sure to increase the incline at certain intervals to mimic outdoor terrain.
13. Do a half marathon.
A practise run and a great start to break the back of your training or slot in around one month prior to the main event. Taking part in a half marathon also gets you used to the protocol of a race day, e.g. nerves/competition/running in a group of people. Aim to run your half marathon at a pace slightly quicker than your full marathon pace.
14. Avoid pollution.
If you live in an urban area, it is very likely that the air quality will be poor. Instead, try to run in the morning before the traffic pollution increases and choose a park over roadside running.
15. Be a hydration station.
Staying hydrated is absolutely vital for maximising your performance in both your training and on race day. A good rule of thumb is to drink 1 litre for every hour you run. Other tips include adding a sprinkle of salt to your food as this is lost in sweat, add an electrolyte mix to your water (practise in training before using on race day) and eat a diet rich in magnesium as a deficiency can exacerbate symptoms of dehydration and cause extreme muscle cramps.
16. Get buzzed.
Caffeine can almost rick your body into feeling better than it should at crucial points in the race. Caffeine, carbohydrates and specialist running gels are great to maintain energy levels throughout your long runs. In terms of the gels, aim to have one every 30 minutes. Make sure to try them before race day to avoid any unwanted GI discomfort.
Three weeks out, do 75% of your normal mileage, then 50%, and finish on 25% with a week to go.You should feel like you’re storing up energy both physically and mentally.
18. In sync.
If possible, run at the same time of day as the start of your marathon. This way, your body’s rhythms–including the all-important bathroom routine–will be in sync with marathon needs come race day. The more times you can do this, the better, but aim for at least the last three days before the race.
19. Nail your nutrition.
Your nutrition can change quite a lot during your training. On moderate training days i.e. 1 training session over 60 minutes or containing intermittent/high intensity training, you should have a moderate intake of carbohydrates. To start, consume one serving of carbs at two of your meals. This ensures that your glycogen stores are refuelled and ready for the next training session. It is important that the meal options should focus on low-GI carbs to sustain the energy release over a longer period of time. It is also advisable to consume a source of protein at each meal for ongoing muscle growth and repair. You can find more information and advice on the Pure Package website – we even have designed a plan specifically for training support. https://www.purepackage.com/packages/training-support/
20. Foods to avoid.
There are certain foods that whilst for some maybe fine, it is advisable to avoid if you want to reach peak performance. These include foods high in added sugar e.g. ice cream/cakes/biscuits, full fat dairy, saturated and trans fats that can contribute to raised LDL (bad) cholesterol, alcohol, fried foods, too much caffeine, fizzy drinks, white refined carbohydrates and processed meats.
21. Train your gut like you do your legs.
GI distress is highly individual in how it presents itself and how severely you suffer. You can, at least to some degree, train your gut like you train your glutes and your lungs. Getting it right however can take some time. Start by ensuring you consume a diet rich in gut friendly foods e.g. fermented foods and yogurt are great options.
22. This is not a weight loss regime.
When asking your body to perform running at such a high intensity it will immediately crave extra fuel. Shift your focus to fuelling your body to meet the increased performance demands rather than counting calories. Put simply, the more energy that you expel, the more you will need to consume in order to continue with your training and maximise your performance. Being in a calorie deficit when marathon training puts your body under extreme stress, halts your metabolism and will hinder your marathon expectations and performance. Longevity is key! https://www.purepackage.com/packages/longevity/
23. Lube up.
Man nipples may be pointless, but you’d look very silly without them; avoid painful chafing by applying Vaseline – lots of it! Also, carry some plasters in your pockets for any mid-race emergencies.
24. Dress the part.
Try to wear specialist running gear when training and it is also wise to practise running in your race day outfit beforehand to ensure that it is comfortable to run in for the duration of the marathon. Great running gear can also boost your confidence which is small but important step many people fail to recognise.
25. Think laps not miles.
Treat every 3 miles as a lap which you have to run 8 times. Doing this will seem a lot more manageable leaving you only 2 miles for that final push.
26. Relish Rest.
Give your body time to rest and recover by taking one day off running per week, this is as important as your training days. Nourish your body with food and allow time for your muscles to grow and repair. You will feel more energised and ready to face your training goals head on
26.2. Mental motivation.
The final 0.2 miles of the marathon are the toughest – so I’ve heard. For the last 321 metres, envisage yourself on the other side of that finish line and don’t lose that image until it is a reality.
Whatever your result, give yourself a massive pat on the pack for taking part. Whether you’re a pro runner or a first timer – congratulations! Now go and relax, you deserve it!