Coming hot on the heels of an incredibly successful summer of sport, dominated by the Olympic and Paralympic games, more people than ever before are expected to take up a new sport over the next 12 months.
Marathon running has been steadily growing in popularity in recent years; with figures in the USA showing over 500,000 people had finished their races in 2011. It seems that people aren’t shirking the endurance challenge that marathon running presents.
But that doesn’t mean it’s getting any easier. With marathon running, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. With that in mind, here are a handful of top tips to make your marathon experience a success.
#1 – Find the right footwear
Make sure you find the right pair of running shoes before you begin your marathon. If you find a pair you like in your training period – double up and get another set. Good running shoes last anywhere between 300 – 500 miles, but they lose their cushioning much sooner. With so much pressure being placed on your feet during the run, stress fractures aren’t uncommon if you don’t have the right gear. Get something that works, something that fits and something that will keep you comfy.
#2 – Don’t plan with a partner
While running your first marathon with a partner is great for moral support and no doubt gives you someone to share the experience with, it may not be the most efficient way forward. You’ll have naturally different fitness levels, run at varying paces and need to take breaks at distinctive times. You shouldn’t have to rely on someone else to make your marathon experience happen, do it for yourself.
#3 – Stay committed to the cause
In the run up to a marathon race, most runners will follow the course set by their training for 4 weeks and then quickly lose interest. As the intensity of your regime increases, you’ll find the nights out on the town with your friends more and more tempting. Don’t lose sight of your end goal, if marathon running was easy – your friends would be doing it too.
#4 – Get your diet right
You’ll need to make sure that your consumption is right both in the run up to, and on the day of, the race. Have a big lunch the day before your marathon, full of energy, but go light on dinner the night before. This will give your body time to assimilate the nutrients. On race day, stay hydrated! You need to optimise muscle function while running, so ensure your fluid intake is what it should be! Stop and drink.
#5 – Believe in yourself
Above anything else, you need to have belief and desire. Whether you consider yourself an athlete or not before the race, you’ll feel like one if you run with the right attitude. Running will make you feel good and once that happens, it becomes more than a long, hard slog. If you need an extra bit of motivation, load up your music player with whatever it takes to get your legs pumping and to push you the extra mile!
This article on the toughest marathons in the world was written by marathon-running Barrie, who works for Watchco.com – suppliers of men’s sports watches to help you keep a track of your time.