26.2 miles or 42.195 km - a marathon should not be feared but respected! The marathon is a test of endurance, and to prepare, just like any other test you need to teach yourself, both your mind and your body. The smarter you prepare the easier your marathon will feel on race day. With marathon season well underway and Run For Love just under three months away it is time to take on check training. Here are 6 training tips to help you get the most from training.
Mix up your training. To allow you to keep working on your cardiovascular fitness without pounding the pavements it is important to incorporate alternative training into your plan. Working on your core and body strength will help you keep your form when it gets tough. Make sure to include strength and conditioning sessions and low impact training session such as swimming, cycling or cross training.
The Long Run. Do these at conversational pace. This will help build your confidence and will let your body adjust. Don’t worry about distance or pace to begin with, it’s about getting used to the time on your feet. The idea of the long run is to get your body and muscles to effectively use your body’s fat supplies for fuel, instead of relying on only glycogen (as this will run out after 90-minutes or so of running).
Speed Work. The name is enough to put anyone off! Include some speed work in your weekly runs. Mixing it up with intervals and tempo runs will not only help keep training interesting but speed work will help teach your body as well as your brain to sustain when the going gets tough. It is easy to add intervals to your run - just pick a set of trees and get some short sprints in, it’s a great way to improve aerobic capacity. Tempo Runs are longer than interval reps, usually between 3-8 miles, at 70% effort.
Taper. To allow your body to prepare for the big day it is vital to taper your training roughly around three weeks before race day. This will give you the chance to feel fresh and ready to run your best on race day. If this makes you feel restless or has a negative effect on your training, it is fine to carry on but reduce the intensity and include more Low Intensity Steady State cardio (LISS).
Fuel Correctly. Fueling for a marathon can be tricky and varies for everyone but it is key to fuel your performance. Stick to a well-balanced diet, with regular meals. In general, you should eat a main meal 3 hours before training, a great breakfast option is a bowl of porridge with banana and almond butter. For an energy boost before training, opt for a TRIBE Blaze Trails bar 45 mins before exercise - 25g high-quality quick release energy from natural unrefined sources. After exercise ensure to take on some protein and carbohydrates within an hour after exercise. This could be a TRIBE 10 Recovery bar followed by a balanced meal of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Check out some great recipes here.
Rest and Recovery. Rest days are just as important to adhere to as training days. They let your muscles recover and help prevent injury. If you find it hard to do nothing, include some yoga, pilates or swimming. This also includes getting that all important sleep – don’t underestimate the importance of shut eye for optimal training performance.
All the up and downs are a test both mentally and physically but if you train and prepare you can achieve your personal goals!