This article was published on July 22nd, 2013
If you’ve thought about running a marathon, you’re making a great choice! Long distance running is a lot of fun, it can help you lose weight, build muscles, and you become part of a really great community of people who are excited to share their passion and knowledge to help you reach your goals.
Long distance running isn’t overly complicated; it’s just one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. What makes marathon running so incredible is the amount of training and attention to detail that goes into it. Just think, in as little as 17 weeks you can go from running a 10k to a full marathon! Here are some of the very basic things you should think about and know up front about your marathon journey:
- Safety: Never assume you are safe. Always run with a friend or running group, watch for traffic, and be aware of your surroundings.
- Shoes: The single most important piece of running gear is your shoes. Before choosing your shoes, go to a store with an expert in long distance running that can perform a gait analysis to recommend the right shoes for you. There’s nothing worse than running and getting injured; most running injuries, like shin splints, lower back pain, tired calves, etc., come from poor footwear.
- Start off Slow: A 17-week marathon-training schedule is designed to get you trained up to run a full marathon. The distances gradually increase throughout the program. It’s designed for periods of stress and rest. Although you are excited to get out and run long distance, trust the program and don’t run more than what is on your schedule.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink a minimum of 4-6 ounces of water every hour while you are awake. This will help keep you hydrated from the increased sweating from running. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrates the body quickly. Replace electrolytes and salts by drinking sports drinks like Gatorade.
- Join a Run Club: A run club will keep you focused, on schedule and accountable for your training. Plus club members are always happy to share their stories, answer your questions, and provide helpful advice to newcomers.
- Rest: When it’s a rest day – rest! It’s incredibly important for muscle recovery. As training comes to a peak, not only does your body wear out, but your friends and family will be asking for more of your time – so enjoy an evening off by watching a movie or going out for dinner.
- Enjoy Training: Training shouldn’t be a chore of hassle to your day. It should be part of your day that you look forward to. It’s time for you to enjoy some good music on your iPod, run with a friend and exchange training tips, and to get out and see and discover new areas of your city.
- Train at Your Right Pace: If you’re training with a group and find that you’re being held back or having a hard time keeping up, move to a different pace group. This will ensure you are getting the most out of your training.
- Respect Injuries: Throughout training you will experience some injuries. Most will be minor and heal within 8-48 hours. Usually these are due to poor footwear or running form. If you do have longer-lasting injuries, take time off to recovery and see a sports therapist for treatment.
- Eat a Balanced Diet: Throughout training you will need to increase your carb intake. It’s also important to eat a diet balanced with proteins, fruits, vegetables and dairy to fuel your body and to speed recovery.