One of the most physically demanding and mentally challenging sports in the world is marathon running. It requires an incredible amount of physical and mental strength and great dedication with a never-say-die spirit.
Here are a few challenges of training that you must meet head-on if you want to make a mark in running marathons.
- Long runs – Marathon is all about long runs and hence it is natural that your training regime should be largely based on this aspect. This will not be a daily routine but about twice a week say, Saturdays and Sundays. Start with 5 miles per day and then gradually increase it by two to three miles every week till you reach 20 miles per week. This way, you will be physically and mentally ready to run the distance targeted for the week. You also avoid the risk of injuries if you gradually increase the distance.
The main purpose of the long runs is to spend lots of time on your feet and gradually build up your stamina and endurance levels. It will also enable your body to burn fat as fuel and build strength, both physical and mental for a marathon. Over a period of time, you will find that you are increasingly feeling comfortable with these long runs.
- Injuries and illnesses – Every marathon runner and those training to be one are prone to injuries. This is because of the vigorous training that has to be taken up. There are some common running injuries that cannot be avoided and is considered to be a part of training. In fact, most trainers include time for recovery from injuries in the overall training schedules. However, most types of injuries are not debilitating in nature and heal quickly. They can be avoided by wearing proper sports gear and devoting adequate time to warming up and cooling down before and after training respectively.
- Being motivated – Training for marathon means staying extended periods on the road running alone. It is a long process and many potential marathoners find it difficult to maintain high motivation levels. There are certain ways to keep motivated. Write down your goals and evaluate every week how you are measuring up. Or you can read about the greats of marathon running and know about their training schedules and what kept them motivated.
- Tapering off – This tapering off period is as crucial as your training regimen over the past several weeks or months. It is important that you taper off your regular schedule over the last couple of weeks before race day by reducing your mileage. This is to give your body the much desired rest as well as to stay mentally fresh for the marathon run. Do not run the day before the marathon even though some runners prefer to do a 20 minutes or so slow run just to keep the muscles loose and stay fit.
Before marathon day, it is always advisable to stick to tried and tested food and not try anything new. Arrive at the venue of the marathon on race day well in time to get mental tuned with the prevailing atmosphere at starting point.