Congratulations, you’ve decided to run a marathon! Whether it’s a long dreamed-about goal or a spur-of-the-moment sign-up, you’ve made the daunting commitment of running a full 26.2 miles. It’s certainly a test of endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and mental determination. Now it is time to lace up your sneakers and prepare! Here are some tips for success leading up to the big race:
Your first instinct might be to bolt out the door for a swift fifteen-miler. However, much like race-day, it is important to work up to full speed. Successful marathon runners begin by building a realistic schedule with varying distances in the weeks leading up to a marathon. Get training early, and slowly build up your mileage.
Develop a diet for success
Marathon training cannot be properly fueled by Big Macs. A diet that incorporates a variety of carbohydrates, protein, and nutrient packed foods is necessary to feel your best leading up to the race. Also, be sure to consume enough food to compensate for calories burned on a long run, and always hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Phone a Friend
Having a loyal friend (or an entire dedicated running group) by your side can be great motivation to get moving. They can also be a source for new running routes, and feedback on form and pace! Having someone to chat with can also be a great distraction if you get sick of your running playlist. Craft some colorful tee’s and coordinate outfits for the day of the race, without falling into common purchasing pitfalls…
Don’t waste money on fancy equipment
The most valuable piece of gear is a sturdy pair of sneakers. Invest in time training, instead of the newest wrist gadget. Also, don’t be tempted to wear new clothing on race-day, you might end up getting some surprise chafing or discomfort from the unfamiliar material!
Take care of your body
All that training should not be wasted with a last minute injury! Do some research on proper form when working out, and don’t overdo it on your runs. This means being responsible and sticking to that trusty schedule. Rest days are also to be taken seriously, ice packs and foam rolls should be at the ready!
Motivate yourself with a worthy cause
Make those miles count by fundraising before the race! Having an organization you care about benefit from your work encourages you to get out and train. Use friends, coworkers, and social media pages to get the word out about your goals! Other people investing in your miles will hold you accountable, and provide purpose when spirits are low. Back on My Feet makes things easy through FundRacing, which directly supports Back on My Feet programs!
Most importantly, enjoy the process! Working toward a marathon is an enormous, but extremely rewarding challenge. The muscle aches and early mornings will all be worth it at the finish line.