Preparing yourself for your first marathon can be a daunting task. Training. Dieting. Time. How do you manage the whole process? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. These are common fears that every runner faces the first time they train for a marathon. Here’s some helpful advice on how to train and diet throughout your training.
When training for your first marathon the biggest training tip is TAKE YOUR TIME! Don’t rush into the training. You won’t help ‘hit your goal’ faster; this is only going to increase your chances of getting hurt.
As you begin to train here are some tips:
- Gradually increase your distance increments.
- Have 2 long distance runs each week, but be sure to spread them out. Don’t run them back to back. This causes a high level of stress on your muscles.
- Be dedicated to running six times a week. But make sure you give yourself a day off every week. Most people choose to take their day off the day after the second long run.
- In the day’s that separate long runs try not to exceed 8 miles in a run, 3-6 being the best.
- Long runs should be gradually increased. 20 miles is the furthest you should run before the marathon. This is typically done 2 times 2-4 weeks before the marathon.
Once you have built up to 20 mile runs, you will have the endurance to push through the full 26.2.
It doesn’t matter how many marathons you’ve ran, a good diet is vital when training. Carbohydrates are the base to any marathon runner’s diet. Carbs are the fuel for your body because they give you energy to get through your runs. There are plenty of foods to get your necessary carbs.
Some examples are:
- Wheat bread
Proteins are also an essential part to your diet. Your muscles are made of proteins, and during a training session proteins can be lost and these essential nutrients need to be replaced. Protein that is found in natural foods is more beneficial than supplements, but it can be difficult to consume the large amount of protein required when training for a marathon.
Some of the best sources for protein are:
- Low fat milk
- Tofu/ soy products
If you have allergies and can’t eat many of these products, you should consult your physician for the best diet for you.
Training and a proper diet are the keys to completing your marathon. It may seem like there is a marathon before the marathon, but dedication is crucial. I will leave you with one last tip. Confidence. Have confidence in yourself that you can, and will, finish the run. Set your mind on your goals and silence your inner conscious that says you can’t complete them. With hard work and smart training, you’ll be crossing the finish line on race day.
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