If you are about to start training for a marathon, there’s a lot to consider! Finding a marathon training plan that best suits your goals, and current level of running fitness, is of course vitally important. However, so is how you go about putting the plan into practice over coming weeks and months.
Here are a number fo simple tips I want to share with you, to help you get to marathon day as prepared as possible.
1. Don’t neglect injury prevention routines
You need to run the mileage, for sure, but marathon training is also all about looking after your body! Far to many would-be marathon runners get injured during their training plan, and never even make it to the start line. Most of this time, this is entirely avoidable.
Making time to work on strength and mobility, to offset the demands that running mile after mile places on your body, will help keep you injury-free. This 16 week beginners marathon programme provides a good example of how I like to combine these strength and mobility workouts with the running workouts.
2. Avoid junk miles
Marathon training isn’t just about going out and mindlessly running mile after mile. Yes mileage is important, and if you’re specifically running a high mileage marathon programme then the extra miles you’re running in the weekly aren’t ‘junk’.
I worry, however, when I see runners going out and racking-up the mies with no real focus. Each and every session should have a purpose. If your midweek 4 miles, for example, doesn’t appear to fulfil a specific function in your programme, perhaps you might be better-off promoting recovery.
We are of course all different, and running different programmes. My point here is to say that if you’re feeling run-down, or are nursing the early signs of an injury like runners knee you might be best to swap that un-focused midweek 4 miles for an extra rest day, or some cross-training.
3. Don’t your “easy” runs too fast
Pacing is such an important skill for us all to work on. When it comes to marathon training, one of the biggest areas of fitness you are looking to develop across the course of your programme is your aerobic endurance - your stamina.
If you are training to heart rate, you should be looking to run your long easy runs in zone 2. For those of us not training to heart rate, you should be aiming to keep your long runs capped at a “conversational” pace. At no point should you be out of breath.
Those of us who find ourselves running our long runs too fast, will not only be missing some of the potential aerobic benefits to be had when running slowly, they’ll also be increasing risk of injury.
Now you know, you can avoid that common pitfall.
The video above details a number of bonus marathon training tips!
Best of luck :)