The most important factor when preparing to run a marathon is your mental preparation. A positive mental attitude will help even someone with just an average physical fitness level make it to the finish line. A few key points to try include:
Mental Rehearsal/Visualization – Get a clear picture in your mind of running and completing the race. It’s very important to include emotions in your visualization, so try to feel the feelings of marathon day, including nerves, excitement, the feel of the pavement and the elation of finishing. Even include the time you’re hoping for or placing.
Imagery – Imagine over and over the way you wish for an event to occur. Do this daily.
Self-Talk - The "voice" inside your head. Make sure your self talk is positive and encouraging, not negative, self punishing or defeatist when times get tough.
Many people train for a marathon ineffectively. Often in preparation a marathon entrant will run the same route over and over, such as London’s Richmond Park. Then on the weekend they’ll run the park twice. This style of training is effective in terms of building up endurance and stamina, which are critical factors for distance running although repetitive and injury prone. A more suitable training schedule will include both speed, endurance, and resistance training.
Make sure you keep a training log, diary or notebook and record: miles run, time run, type of shoe worn, resting heart-rate, weather conditions, running route, how difficult you found the running route and distance, did you get stomach cramps from food? Were you hydrated enough? Did you run out of energy to complete your training run? And so on.
This information will assist in finding out possible cause of injury, weather your nutrition is adequate or the right type of furl source for you, if you need to change your routine to incorporate muscular strength for hills or what has been the most effective training for you.
Type of training – endurance and resistance
The amount of time you run per week is also a major factor although there is no need to ever run the entire distance of the marathon in one stretch before the actual day. Sports specific training, when it comes to marathon running, simply means to train by ‘running’ and to build up your mileage slowly, rather than to start your preparation by actually going out and flogging away at a 26 mile run on day one. Every day you will feel different, one day you will have a good run and the next you won’t. Which is why there are no set distances for you to run daily or you may push yourself too hard when you need rest. Training with a personal trainer can help challenge your speed and build your speed strength, personal training in London Esteem Fitness have a team of trainers that will train because they don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk.
Apart from running, cross training can also be of benefit to both reduce the risk of injury and to facilitate total body conditioning. Cross-training is particularly important for beginners who need to strengthen the opposing muscle groups to reduce their chances of incurring an overuse injury during the mileage buildup stage.
Running can cause numerous injuries, the most common of which being the very painful ‘shin splints’ due to the high impact nature of the activity. So try mixing up your week by including rowing, cycling and swimming for cardio training then weights or kettle bells for your resistance days. Weight training will help you with hills and the later part of your run when muscular endurance is called into play. Stick to high reps from 15 and above.
To run effectively and steer clear of heat complications stay hydrated, regardless of the outside temperature. Any run up to 60 minutes water is the drink of choice, after this period you may find that you need to refuel your energy tank so sports drinks come in handy. The easiest way to make sure your carbohydrate stores in both your liver and muscles are fully loaded and won’t run out of steam is to drink a sports carbohydrate drink, but don’t replace water as you need both energy and hydration. On your long training runs drink the same type of the marathon fuelling stations are providing to get used to the taste so that your body wont’ reject it by throwing up.
As for pre training/run nutrition, many runners complain of cramps or running out of steam so although it is recommended to eat approximately 65% carbohydrates when training, you need to consume the right type for your body and digestive system. Some runners may be fine eating pasta 2 hours prior to running and others will cramp up and have to stop running due to this. Jason Vale, also known as ‘The Juice Master’ suggests a particular juice, freshly made which includes ingredients such as avocado, pineapple and banana as well as other fruits to help you through and to avoid cramping up. The recipe is in his book ‘Turbo charge your life’.
I hope that you will find this article helpful and encouraging, remember the key factors your positive mental programming, self talk and visualisation.