|Photography: Ashley Rae Photography|
Leggings: Athleta c/o / Top: Athleta c/o
If you have been following my blog for a while then you have probably caught on that I am an avid runner. Running has become one of the greatest outlets for me whenever I am stressed, and always challenges me physically and mentally. I have been wanting to do a marathon post for a loooooooong time, and am so happy to share with you my tips and tricks in becoming a marathon runner.
Let's dive right in!
1. Mental Preparation
I listed this as the first tip because it's honestly the most important. If you are going to commit to buying your marathon bib, you need to commit to the time and work that is going to go into training your body for race day. Before diving into training ask yourself these questions.
Are you ready to commit the time into training?
Is your life at a point where you can juggle training?
Can you hold yourself accountable with your runs?
Do you truly believe you can go the distance?
Is your body up for the challenge?
If you said yes to all those questions then Congrats you are ready!
"Your body can stand almost anything. It's your mind you have to convince."
2. Training Schedule
Just like anything in life you need a plan to go from point A to point B. For the next couple months you are going to live and breath your training schedule. Most training schedules consist of a low mileage run during the week followed by a long run on the weekend. Consistency is going to be key during your training, and will help you stay motivated.
Something that personally works for me is that when I am training for a marathon I will do my runs at the same time everyday. I do this so I mentally commit to my runs, and plan my life around my training.
Another thing I like to do is print off two schedules that I can post on my fridge, and another in my planner. Each day I complete my run I mark it off, and add the time I did my run in. I like to do this because I have two visuals everyday mentally prepping me for the run of the day.
Life does at times get in the way, and you may miss a day or two of running. Don't be alarmed at this point. It's normal. The day you don't want to miss is the long distance run each week. The long runs are going to be key in building that physical and mental endurance that will get you through race day.
The marathon plan that has worked for me for years is the one from Hal Higdon's site here. I've modified the schedule slightly so it fits what days of the week I can do my long runs.
3. Warm Up / Cool Down
The concept of warming up, and calling down are going to be the cornerstone of preventing injury. When you are finally ready to hit the trail for the day try speed walking for 5-10 minutes. This is going to warm up your body, and prevent injury during your training. After you have accomplished your mileage for the day cool your body down by walking for 5 minutes. This will also allow your heart rate to drop at a steady pace.
After you get done running, go through a series of stretches while the body is warm. A common misconception about running is stretch before you run. Stretching before your muscles are warm can lead to injury. For more about stretching click here to view a post I did.
4. Running Gear
I can't begin to tell you how changing my running gear has improved my performance. To me the most important is your shoes. Not every shoe is right for every person because everyone varies in pronation and needed support. My first pair of actual running shoes was Brooks, and I have become loyal to the brand since that day.
Before going out and buying what you read on blogs as "the best running shoe" make sure you go into a running store, and try them on. When you go into a running store an associate will have you run on a treadmill, and video record your feet. They do this to check how you run, and which shoe will accommodate that. Your associate will also tell you that your shoe needs to be a half size larger. During a long run your feet will start to swell, and going up half a size will prevent you feet from blistering and causing discomfort.
Besides your running shoes being key in running your first marathon, your accessories and apparel play a huge part as well. You want to find clothes that breath easily, wick sweat, and don't cause chaffing. You also want to dress as if its 10 degrees warmer outside since your body will warm up quickly during a run.
If you are an outdoor runner, investing in a running belt will be a great way to hold your water and small valuables. Click here to find some great deals on a belt.
It's not rocket science that when you eat better then your body will preform better. Your new training diet is NOT about losing weight. Yes you will see change in your body, but the focus is to eat food that can be utilized as fuel to energize your body. This subtopic of the post could seriously go on forever, but I am going to simplify it for time sake.
We derive our energy from the 3 macronutrients:
Carbohydrates: The first and main source your body will use for energy.
Fats: Source of energy. Your body can't burn fat fast enough for it to be the sole energy provider.
Proteins: Body recovery for after a run. The protein you intake will help repair the muscles.
In a nut shell, each meal should consist of eating a well balanced diet such as lean proteins, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. You want to avoid eating processed foods, caffeinated beverages, fast food, and empty calories.
Learning how to pace your runs will play a huge roll in maintaining momentum. Running your first marathon is all about energy management, and teaching your body to have a certain stamina to ensure a strong finish.
Hope this basic guide gave you the tools you need to go out, and run your first marathon!