Got a place in next year’s London Marathon or another marathon? Congratulations! Are you slightly scared? Unsure of what training plan to go for? Choosing running shoes scares you? Don’t know what to expect over the next 5/6 months?
Here are 6 tips which touch upon what you should be doing to help you get to the start line, and some things to expect from the training. The points I’ve made are from my own experiences & experiences from clients.
1. Buy the right running shoes for you, not your outfit
It is easy to go into a running shop and buy a pair of running shoes that would go best with your running clothing, get the pair your friend says works for them, or be stingy and become a Bargain Hunter and buy what is on offer! In reality, the running shoes that you invest in will play a huge part in the success of your training plan & getting you to the start line. Ask yourself the following while buying running shoes…Do they support my foot posture? Do they compliment my running style?
Then ask the staff at the Sports Shop the same questions. Get your Gait analysed from an experienced sales assistant or sports injury professional, so that you know for sure that the running shoes you buy will suit you. And make sure they are comfortable. If not, try another pair. Try several so you can compare the feel of the fabric, comfort and support from different shoes. Remember that running shoes will last 300-500 miles, so you will probably buy 2 pairs over the course of your training.
2. Less of the hare, more of the tortoise.
This refers to the longer runs in your training plan & the marathon rather than the shorter runs. Don’t go into every long run trying to get a PB, beat your friend’s time or run to squeeze it in between your lifestyle. Make sure that you complete every run in training, rather than running fast at the start and you can barely catch your breathe at the end. It is easy to get caught up in the running bug and try to push yourself every time, or push yourself because you was ill or trying to back into the training as quick as possible after an injury. Squeezing your runs in between social and work commitments puts added pressure on you and your body, which moves me nicely onto my next point…
3. Know exactly when your runs are according to your lifestyle
Depending on the training plan you have decided to do, make sure you know what you are doing and when. Take note of when your short and long runs are according to any social events, work or family commitments. As mentioned previously, squeezing runs in the time you have left before or in between social and work commitments, can put added pressure on you and possibly have a negative effect on your performance.
Remember that you have to allow time to cool down, stretch, shower, eat, hydrate and recover from the run itself. If you squeeze in the runs, you will probably want to run at a faster pace to get the run done quicker, as you may feel you aren’t fit enough to do the marathon if you don’t do the distance. So make plans for the runs, prepare your food and make sure you bring all the kit with you.
4. Be careful when choosing Training Plans
From both personal experience and from hearing what past clients have said, training plans can be your best friend or worst enemy. Training plans can be very useful with regards to giving you structure for every week, and slowly building up your mileage over the 4-6 months plan. It can be hard to know what to do at the start for a complete beginner. On the other hand, they can put pressure on you. They don’t consider your weekly schedule, so sometimes fitting in 3 x 7 mile runs during the week with a 18-20 miler run at the weekend isn’t feasible for some people, for some it may be perfect.
My advice for Training Plans is to use them, but don’t be afraid to change days around to suit you. Do try and do 3-4 runs a week, but if you can’t fit a 9 miler in, maybe 30-60 mins in the gym is easier for you. Always go for a Training plan which suits your fitness. Don’t think that if you do the 1st 4 weeks of a beginner’s plan well, you can progress to the intermediate plan. It doesn’t work like that for marathon plans.
5. Eat clean & take control of your diet
Fuel your body and muscles with good quality food and drink, expect to perform well. Fuel your body with processed foods and alcohol, expect to feel awful and find every run harder than the last. We all know the importance of healthy eating, and it can be hard to know what to eat. But if you take control of what you eat, by taking the time to make it yourself you eliminate any possibility of eating something that your body doesn’t need. You will be able recover quicker from intense and/or long runs if you eat clean rather than chicken nuggets, 3 pints of lager or a bottle of wine.
6. Get into Race Mode
It can be very daunting on Marathon day where you are rushing to get all of your kit together the night before to jump into in the morning. You stay awake because of the adrenaline, over think and worry about the race. In the morning you rush when you don’t need to, eat quickly and pack all of your things together, and go through your check list 5 times. Then you have a go at the Cab driver or friend who is giving you a lift to put their foot down to beat the traffic to get to the location on time…and then you have so much time to prepare yourself and another chance to get worried! Mayhem. But if you run a race during your training such as a 5km or 10km, you give yourself the opportunity to get into rhythm of preparing for a race, but something that is smaller. You get the opportunity to prepare yourself for a race and have that running buzz before the start where you see so many runners in the same situation as you. It will help calm your nerves before marathon day.
I will be posting more in the near future with regards to what I’d be doing for marathons next year. I have decided to take a year out from long distance running, originally I wanted to run Brighton Marathon, Race to the Stones (60 miles in one day) & and trail marathon. But I can’t commit to all 3 events as I want to push my career, so something has to give. And after all, doing one of the longest running events in the UK before I’m 30 isn’t too bad!
I have had a few requests for a Runners Workshop, if you want to know more about this then visit this link…https://hoss-sportstherapy.co.uk/runners-workshop/