So you’ve decided to train for your first marathon. Congratulations! You’re in for an exciting challenge that will keep you on your toes and help you grow mentally and physically in ways you never imagined. As the website marathonrookie.com states, “Let your mind lead the way, not your body.”
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never run a day in your life or you run 10 miles daily—you can do this! Whether you’re running a 1K or a 10K, the principles are the same. Following are tips and ideas to help you train and love what you’re doing.
Have the right motivation.
Why are you doing this? Marathon training is hard work, and you can’t expect results unless you’re consistent and train daily. What is driving you to train—is it participating in a 5K in honor of a friend or family member? Perhaps you are out to prove to yourself that you can run a marathon. Know your reasons, as they will keep you going when you feel unmotivated.
Mental training is just as important as physical training. Motivational mental training might involve visualizing yourself crossing the finish line, using affirmations, tapping, or merely making the decision each day to continue training. No matter what you to motivate yourself, know that you will have to consciously do it at least once a day, if not several times.
Put yourself on a schedule.
Any marathon training website, such as marathonrookie.com, [link to site] will have a training schedule for you to follow. Keep to it religiously for best results, and follow its recommendations on running gear and mileage per day and per week.
Typically, the first task is to become accustomed to running for a set amount of time, such as 30 minutes. Once your stamina is built up, then you can increase your distance. Recovery time is just as important as training time, so be sure to follow those recommendations closely.
Keep yourself hydrated and nourished.
You need carbohydrates to provide you with the energy to run for extended periods. Plenty of protein will help your body maintain and repair muscle tissue. Aim for no less than 2,000 calories a day, of which two-thirds should be carbohydrates while the other third are high-quality, unsaturated fats and protein. Supplements will provide vital micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
Always drink plenty of water and / or sports drinks to stay hydrated. Ideally, you’ll consume about a cup of fluid every 15–20 minutes. Spread it out rather than trying to chug several cups at once. Sports drinks have one advantage over plain water: they replenish electrolytes that you lose while running.
Go to the experts for advice on training—don’t try to do it alone. Learn from their expertise, and good luck!