Have you decided that you would like to run a marathon, but you don't really know how to get started because it is something that you have never done before? Truthfully, many people have 'run a marathon' on their bucket list, and of course, there are also many people who never get around to it. If you want to do it, and be successful, it will take a lot of hard work and determination. Here are a few helpful tips from connectedcongress.org and others sources that will help you to be prepared for your first marathon.
It can't be over-emphasized how important it is for you to start out slowly. This is true not only when you are running the marathon, but also when you are training for it. You don't want to go out there and try to run five miles when you haven't even put on a pair of running shoes in years. Start out easy, and let your body adjust to it. Fitness experts at Fitday.com recommend:
Start the first week with a one to two mile run, a three mile run and a five mile run. This serves as a good template for your weekly running plan, which should include a short, medium and long run, as well as a cross-training session. Add roughly one mile to each category of run every two to three weeks.
If you get out there and try to jump head first into a five mile run, chances are you will fail miserably. This can really do a number on your self confidence when it comes to actually being able to run a full marathon or a half marathon. You may even want to first set your sights on a half marathon before you commit to a full marathon.
Training to run a marathon takes a great deal of time, and it really isn't something that you can squeeze in during your spare time. In fact, you need to make sure that you make time to do your training. Set times each week that you will devote to running and exercising, so that you can ensure that you are making progress. If you don't schedule the time, you may find that it is easy just to put it off more and more, until one day you look back and realize that you have made zero progress toward your goal.
While making time to train for your first marathon is important, you don't have to make time each and every day. In fact, the experts recommend that you take a day for rest every now and then. This ensures that your body can keep up with the pace. According to the experts at Boston Athletic Association:
A common fault to marathon training is not planning adequate rest. Many runners train too hard when they should be recovering from workouts, thereby not allowing for good quality training later in the training phase. Physical training stresses the body, and during recovery it adapts. Without rest and recovery, there can be no adaptation.
As your body adapts, you can push yourself further, but you must first wait until your body gets used to what you are doing. You don't want to send your body into shock mode.
A common misconception that people have when they think about training for a marathon is that they need to mainly run for exercise, but that isn't the case at all. It is important to do some other types of exercise and make your work-out more comprehensive. Thad McLauren writes on Active.com:
Doing non-running but aerobic cross-training as well as light resistance training on your off running days is a great way to optimize your running fitness….Light resistance training particularly targeting the core and upper body will greatly help you maintain good running form longer during your runs, helping to fight off fatigue.
Look for fun exercises that you enjoy, and you can use these to accompany your running. This will ensure that you are able to get your body the strength it needs to sustain the marathon.
Finally, consider your overall attitude when it comes to running a marathon. If you keep telling yourself that you will never be able to do it, chances are you won't ever do it. A positive attitude will get you a lot further in all aspects of your life. Kathleen Doheny shares a great piece of advice on WebMD:
Tune out any negative talk you're likely to hear on the course - Replace all of that with positive visualization. Suppose you know, from checking out the course, that mile 5 begins to get hilly. Visualize yourself from the start building energy and not struggling at all once the hill arrives.
Even though there will be people running in the marathon that are full of negativity, don't let it brush off on you. Instead, take a look at how far you have come and look for ways that you can overcome any obstacle that may stand in your way. When you do this, you will really be unstoppable, because you really can do anything that you set your mind to. Just take a look at the World Record book, where a 92 year old woman ran a marathon successfully. If you don't take anything else away from this, at least take away the fact that you can do it. You can succeed if you just tell yourself that you will.
Don't start out planning for your marathon without a goal in mind. Go ahead and sign up to run a marathon, and then there will be no turning back. Sometimes, you have to give yourself that extra push to actually get yourself to take that leap of faith and start preparing for something. After all, if you have never run a marathon before you don't know what to expect and it can be scary.