Having gone through the drill, the first steps of avoiding overtraining, understanding your body, the importance of stretching and weight training have been covered. These are the basis for anybody who is training to run a marathon. Now that you have started this journey, you are aware that it is tiring, at times painful but also extremely rewarding. As a professional in the healthcare field, it is noticed that all marathon runners are people who do not quit, just like you. So what more can you do to ensure that you are adequately prepared? Here is a checklist for you:
Mileage: You are running every day, have weekly goals to achieve and are working on your stamina as much as you possibly can. In doing all of this do not lose focus on mileage. People with an overdrive trying to push themselves into doing what they have never done before. Remember that such an approach is short lived and exhaust the body much sooner. Instead to train properly, maintain a weekly mileage of 10% increase from the previous week.
Cross training: This is hard to do when you are strongly focused on training for a marathon. But the importance of ensuring that your whole body is engaged cannot be emphasized enough. Chose a different sport for ones in a week. This will also help in relieving mental fatigue and boredom without losing focus from increasing stamina. The best examples of other sports for marathon runners are swimming and cycling. Swimming is beneficial to heal the body and rejuvenate the mind and cycling can help divert from running exercises while still focusing on the right muscle groups.
Core stability: This is a major focus area but is often lost in strengthening the leg muscles when training for a marathon. Ensure that the belly, mid and the lower back are adequately strengthened throughout the training period and ensures that there is a minimum number of injuries. A strong core is critical for the balance and proprioceptive functions. It increases the efficiency and endurance of peripheral muscle groups, ultimately improving performance.
Recovery and sleep: This is the best advice anyone can give to you. Hard work at training has to be followed by a phase of recovery. This reduces muscle soreness and fatigue thus preventing injuries and improving performance. Swimming, massage from a trained sports massager. Yoga and breathing exercises are excellent methods of recovery. Sleep is your body’s auto-healing process. 7 hours of sleep every day is optimum. Add 1 hour in the afternoon after every long run. Avoid strenuous exercise, if you have not slept properly the previous night. These steps will ensure that your body gets adequate time to prepare for the marathon without you grievously injuring yourself or lagging behind in the training schedule. Budding marathoners are more susceptible to injuries which just means that they have to exercise more caution. Remember, the marathon is definitely about passion and mental toughness but it is also about the science and art of running.
Wish you all Happy Running!