This article was published on December 23rd, 2013
With 2014 right around the corner you’re starting to think about your New Years resolutions. If your goals include getting more exercise and eating healthier, perhaps you should put running a marathon as your New Years resolution.
Long distance running is a great way to lose weight, build muscles and meet new friends. The training schedule will keep you focused, prepare you for race day, and help you reach your goal. In 17 short weeks you can go from running 10k to a full 42.2km (26.2mi) marathon.
Here are 10 basic things you need to know about training for a marathon, which you’ll learn more about over the next 18 weeks:
- Get the right running gear – from tights to shorts, hydration belt to technical fabric shirts, you need the right gear to get you through training and to the finish line.
- Shoes – You cannot simply throw on the shoes that are sitting in the bottom of your closet. Nope. You need to get brand new running shoes that are fitted specifically for you.
- Start off slow – Training for a marathon doesn’t happen over night. It takes a lot of time. 17 weeks! While you may be excited to get out there, stick to the training program. It’s designed to get you fully trained and ready for the big race day.
- Hydration is key – For every hour you run you need to drink 4-6 ounces of water to stay hydrated. After long runs (20km+), replace depleted salts and electrolytes with a sports drink.
- Get into the running community – training for a marathon takes a lot of discipline. Joining a run club will help keep you focused and accountable. It’s also great to have veteran marathoners to answer all your burning questions.
- Respect the rest day – rest days are incredibly important for muscle recovery. As speed and distance increase, the muscles break down faster and need time to recover. Enjoy those days off!
- Running is fun – always remember that running is enjoyable and not a chore. Look forward to each run. Zone out listening to your favourite music, exchange running tips with your group, and discover new areas in your city.
- Pacing – Early on you’ll learn about pace groups. You’ll want to train with a group that works for you to get the most out of your training.
- Injuries happen – throughout training you will get injured. Most injuries are minor and heal in 8-48 hours. Let your body heal and recover, and ease back into training.
- Nutrition is important – Eating a balanced diet of proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy and carbs is essential to fuel the body throughout training and help with muscle recovery.