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How to Train for a Marathon | REI Expert Advice

Before the Race

Before the Race
  • Hydrate well for several days leading up to your marathon. 
  • Eat a simple, high-carbohydrate breakfast several hours before the start of the race.
  • Lather up with a little Vaseline or BodyGlide in any areas vulnerable to chafing.
  • The temperature is apt to rise over the course of the race, so don't overdress.
  • If you plan to run with music, check ahead of time whether headphones are allowed on the course; not all marathons permit them.

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How to Train for a Marathon | REI Expert Advice

How to Train for a Marathon | REI Expert Advice

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/training-for-your-first-marathon.html

rei.com

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Key Ideas

Keep your motivation in sight

For many runners, the desire to do a marathon is about personal challenge. You might want to test your limits or prove that you can go the distance. Maybe you'd like to lose weight, get healthier or raise awareness for a charity.

Whatever your reason, hold on to it and remind yourself of it often during the months that lie ahead. 

Getting started

  • Be aware of your limits. Consult with your physician before embarking on any training program.
  • Start early: as an aspiring marathoners, run a consistent base mileage for at least a year before embarking on a marathon training program.
  • Start small: Running a few shorter races—5Ks, 10Ks, or even a half marathon—is an excellent way to prepare physically and mentally for a first marathon

One of the most common causes of injury...

... is building weekly mileage too soon, too fast.

So don't underestimate the importance of consistently running at least 20–30 miles a week regularly before committing to training for a marathon.

The primary elements of marathon training

  1. Base mileage. Build your weekly mileage over time, running 3-to-5 times per week.
  2. The long run. Do a long run every 7–10 days so your body can adjust gradually to long distances.
  3. Speed work. Practice intervals and tempo runs to increase your cardio capacity.
  4. Rest and recovery. Adequate rest helps prevent injuries and mental burnout.

Hydration

Nearly all marathons include water and aid stations along the way. But if you plan to carry some of your own water on race day:

  • Buy a hydration pack or belt, or carry your own water using with handheld bottles.
  • Do long runs on a short loop course, so you can stash water in one spot along the way.
  • Plot your long run route to pass water fountains.
  • Stash water bottles along your route the night or morning before your run.

Fueling

For any run over 2 hours, aim to take in about 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour.

As glycogen (primary source of energy during the marathon gets depleted over the course of your marathon, your muscles will begin to tire and feel heavy. While no amount of fuel consumption during the race can entirely replace your depleted glycogen, consuming small amounts of carbohydrates can help prevent you from hitting the dreaded wall.

Don't try anything new on race day

No new shoes, new shorts, new shirt, new hydration pack/belt or new foods.

Don't drink 3 cups of coffee if you usually have one. Your long training runs are when you should be fine-tuning your clothing, gear and fueling strategies.

Before the Race

  • Hydrate well for several days leading up to your marathon. 
  • Eat a simple, high-carbohydrate breakfast several hours before the start of the race.
  • Lather up with a little Vaseline or BodyGlide in any areas vulnerable to chafing.
  • The temperature is apt to rise over the course of the race, so don't overdress.
  • If you plan to run with music, check ahead of time whether headphones are allowed on the course; not all marathons permit them.

During the Race

  • Start slowly - starting too fast is a big rookie mistake. 
  • Don't blaze by every aid station or try to drink from a cup while running full blast.
  • Bathroom lines are longest at the first few aid stations. If you can wait another couple miles without discomfort, it may save you time.
  • Enjoy the energy of the spectators.

Race Recovery and Beyond

Race day: 
  • Drink several cups of water or sports drink. Walk a little, if you can, to let those muscles cool down. Do gentle stretching. Eat some simple carbohydrates, whether you feel like it or not.

After race day

  • Take at least a week off before resuming any kind of regular running schedule.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Eat well-balanced meals. Take care of any injuries or ailments you may have developed during the race. 

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Benefits

It is never too late to start running. Many take up this sport in their 50s and beyond. To start, you only need a good pair of running shoes and a desire.

Running is a very effective...

Types of running

  • Road Running: running on paved roads, paths, and sidewalks.
  • Treadmill Running: easier than outdoor running and can be gentler on your joints.
  • Racing. Road races can vary from 5Ks to half or full marathons or even ultramarathons. 
  • Trail Running: it takes place on hiking trails, from deserts to mountains.
  • Track Running. Track events include shorter distance races from the 50-yard dash to 400-meter sprints. 

Getting Started

  • Invest in Shoes and Gear. Visit a specialty running store to get fitted for the best shoes for you and check out gear such as running shorts, tops, or tights made of wicking fibers.
  • Stay Safe. Do a warmup before you start, like a walk or an easy jog for 5 min.
  • Follow running safety advice, such as going against traffic when running on roads. Always carry some form of identification with you.
  • Use the Run/Walk Method. Start with running for one minute, then walk for one minute. Try to increase the running intervals over time.
  • Make It Manageable. Keep a conversational pace during each workout. If you can't speak in a full sentence, slow down. Breathe through your nose to get enough oxygen.

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Ramp up slowly

If you did 3 short runs in your first week, you shouldn’t double that for week 2, even if you feel fine. 

Progress takes more time than you think, because each body system adapts ...

A beginner routine should include:

  • Most or all of your runs at a pace that feels comfortable, controlled, and conversational.
  • Exercise that is not running, if you feel that the above isn’t enough for you: Cycling and other cross-training can work your lungs and muscles without putting too much strain on your tendons and ligaments.
  • Strength training, to help everything get stronger and more adaptable.

The "too-much-too-soon" trap

It's usually not the shoes you're wearing, or your posture, but forcing yourself to accomplish too much from the very start that's causing you physical pain.

If you started running in the last few weeks or months and you get injured, you probably have nothing to blame but the fact that you’ve been doing too much, too soon.

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