Running a marathon is not just the dream of top athletes but us common folk as well. Completing a 42 or 21-kilometer race is a real challenge that is considered as the ultimate test of athleticism. Part of the magic are the preparations, both mental and physical for getting across the finish line.
Few people, including professional runners, can afford to simply get up one day and decide to run a marathon. Namely, they need to train for the event and know exactly what to expect on race day.
Covering the distance
Needless to say, the heart and soul of a marathon is the distance you need to run. However, training for a marathon doesn’t involve covering the same distance within a single day. You need to start preparing early, some 4 months prior to the marathon so you could run shorter distances over the course of the entire week.
If you manage to clear your schedule, no more than 5 hours of running per week is necessary. This amounts to an hour of running a day which is acceptable for most people, even businessmen. The pace should be an easy one so you can take a call and chat while on the go. Furthermore, once you start increasing the distance as the big day approached, do this gradually.
Your childhood experience of a marathon probably comes down to runners vehemently picking up a water bottle and then hurling them on the street. This scene might seem overdramatic but proper hydration is the key to completing a marathon.
Basically, there are two places you can get water from your open bottle or at an aid station. The latter is manned by volunteers who provide runners with an endless supply of H2O. However, while you train there will be no such caravanserai stations so you’ll need to bring our own bottle. In order to stay eco-friendly, choose to carry reusable bottles made from recyclable materials.
Apparel that you feel comfortable in
One of the biggest lures of running a marathon is its simplicity. Unlike other sports, you needn’t get any expensive or elaborate gear, as a water bottle, your desire to run, and a good pair of running shoes is basically everything you need to start the race.
Modern runners wear all kinds of additional gizmos and pieces of clothing that help them run faster but comfortability should be the ultimate goal when shopping for running apparel. For instance, try to find the best shoes for a marathon here so you wouldn’t end up with blisters the following day.
Hydration during the marathon is essential but also in the days leading to the event. Drink extra fluid in the evening before the race and then again in the morning. The meals you eat before the race should be light, like oatmeal, muesli or fruit bars.
Try to use the bathroom before you leave the house before a potty break during the marathon itself could cost you precious time. Also, arrive as early as possible to register, get your starting number, and finish all the other formalities so you could focus on the race itself.
If the weather before the start of the race extremely cold, wear a jacket that you can take off just before you head to the start line. Never wear extra clothes that can contribute to heat stroke that can prove fatal. Finally, ask some friends to come and support you along the sideline. After you have run tens of kilometers, a familiar face cheering you on is just the boost you need.
Training for a marathon is not that hard and it does require superhuman strength. The whole point of running several times a week is to prepare your body for the ultimate test of athleticism that you are about to take.