Marathon TrainingNovember 21st, 2013 by David
Successfully completing a marathon is an accomplishment that less than 1% of the world can claim.
It is a challenge that is both hugely physically and emotionally demanding, and training should not be taken lightly. It can also be one of the most liberating and proud moments of your life, and the preparation should fulfilling and enjoyable too.
Motivation, drive, goal-setting, time, and dedication are required in equal measure.
Building mental and emotional stamina is one of the most important tasks at hand. It is easy to motivate yourself to train when basking in the excitement of a new challenge, but it is another matter entirely to motivate yourself daily once the shine has worn off and it’s cold and rainy outside. Those runners with a successfully completed marathon under their belt usually admit that reaching the finish line was even more gruelling than they’d imagined. It is those with strong will and steel determination who train efficiently to complete the sheer magnitude of a marathon.
You need to establish goals right from the get-go. Design a training schedule – address exactly where you are starting with your running and how you are going to progress with your distance and pace against a time scale. Stick to it and tick it off as you go – you’ll feel an enormous sense of achievement each time you proudly accomplish your mini-goals. But before you get going on any training at all, for goodness sake invest in a pair of high quality running shoes and never underestimate the worth of thoroughly stretching before and after every running stint – you want to still be able to move once you’ve completed this mission!
Try complementing your running with Yoga and Pilates to build stamina and fitness whilst helping to stay supple. Yoga and Pilates also focus on core strength which you will be appreciative of when the big day arrives, plus a little waist sculpting is always never to be sniffed at! It is important to let your body rest, so running every day is a no-no in the name of recovery.
Nutrition plays a vital role in training and recovery. Every time you run, your muscles will be undergoing wear and tear. They require protein to build them back up again and instigate an efficient process of repair. Eggs are a fantastic post-run meal. Aim to eat within 20 minutes of a run. Fish, meat, poultry, whey shakes, natural yoghurt, pulses, nuts and seeds are all examples of quality proteins. Look at the size of your palm – this is the perfect portion size of protein for you. You don’t have to go crazy – one portion with each meal is sufficient, plus a couple of additional protein balanced snacks or protein shakes would be ideal.
When you engage in intensive exercise like running free radicals are released in the body, which are detrimental to health on a number of levels – from premature ageing, to muscle fatigue to cancer development and heart disease. Antioxidants are required to ‘mop up’ these free radicals and to prevent damage. When training for a marathon, you need to focus on getting plenty of antioxidants – eat a wide range of vegetables and fruits, of all different colours. You’ll need them with every meal and snack. Drink green tea and invest in a high quality multi-nutrient supplement which has a high level of antioxidants and ideally CoQ10.
Carbohydrates provide the fuel to keep your body moving. Choose wisely, and opt for those which will sustain you – i.e. whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and millet. You should be looking to increase your usual portion size of these foods when embarking on a rigorous training schedule. It is recommended that 60% of your overall food intake comes from carbohydrates – this includes vegetables and fruits. Make sure you get plenty of essential fats. Omega 3 found in oily fish like salmon and sardines is vital for maintain joint health, helping to keep you injury free and also promoting a clear, motivated mindset. If you don’t like fish, supplement.
Hydration is essential. Get into the habit of taking water with you everywhere. Coconut water is great for replenishing electrolytes lost through sweat.