I finally took the plunge and signed up for my first marathon. Crossing the finishing line at the LA Marathon gave me a sense of accomplishment that I have never experienced before. It also led me to running 3 more marathons after that. I am no expert on marathon training, but I have successfully ran 4 in one year. Here are my 5 tips for successfully training for a marathon!
1. Set a GOAL: Whether you want to run a full marathon, half marathon, 10k, or any distance, pick one that you want to work towards. Then set a date so you can start working towards your goal! Most marathon training plans are 12 weeks long or more, so find a plan that works with your schedule. Training takes a lot of commitment and time. I treat training like it’s my second job. If I am scheduled to do a long run on a Saturday, but have other things planned that day as well, I make sure my alarm is set early enough so that I have plenty time to get my long run in before my busy day.
2. NUTRITION is key: I truly believe my nutrition has helped keep me healthy enough to run 4 marathons in one year. Focus on eating the right types of carbs to help fuel your runs. Reach for complex carbs, like fruit, veggies, whole grains, & potatoes throughout the day. During your long run is when you want to reach for the simple carbs, such as gels and chews, to provide you with energy. This energy doesn’t last long, so you want to refuel with these simple carbs every hour. Also, carb loading shouldn’t consist of eating bowls and bowls of pasta the night before a race. You do want to carb load before a race, but the key is to do so a few days leading up to the event. You should slowly increase your carb intake by adding 1 carbohydrate rich foods into your diet 3 days before (oatmeal, fruit, veggies mixed with pasta, & sweet potatoes are some of my favorites).
3. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE: Hydration is key during marathon training. I am lucky enough to have a path that runs along the beach with plenty of water stations so that I can stop every few miles to hydrate. Not everyone is this fortunate though. There are a lot of different methods for making sure you drink enough fluid during your long runs. You could use a handheld water bottle, bottle hydration belt, hydration pack (like a camelback), or placing water bottles along the route you plan on running. Experiment and see what works best for you!
4. Give yourself REST: Training for a marathon takes a toll on your body. Make sure you give yourself 1-2 rest days a week to catch up on sleep and give your body the rest it needs from running. I am a huge fan of active rest days because I love being outside. On my active rest days, I enjoy going for easy hikes or long walks along the beach with my yellow lab.
5. Have FUN: Make marathon training fun! Long runs can take up to 2-3 hours, which is a pretty big chunk of your day, so go out there and enjoy it!
• Find a route that you like running on. I haven’t always been lucky enough to have a path next to the beach to run on. When I lived back east, I would drive 25 minutes to my favorite trail because I knew I would enjoy running on it more than running on the streets in my neighborhood.
• Make a good playlist. The night before my long run, I create a new playlist on Spotify and find music to add to it that will make me excited to run! • Run with friends! Having friends to run with makes running for 2-3 hours so much more enjoyable. Even if it’s only for half of your run, having someone else to chat with makes the miles go by so much faster! 2