Marathon season is now upon us, and with your date finally aproaching you’ll probably be well into your training schedule by now. You’ve put in the hours, dedicated your time to your final goal, and these last crucial weeks are where you can raise the fitness bar from good to great and make sure you’re ready for the challenge.
Here are some top tips on how you can optimise your training in the final four weeks leading up to your marathon…
Time to recover
Your fitness level is where it should be and you’re confident you have what it takes to go the distance. The key now is to rest. According to running coach Brian Torrance the most important aspect of your final four weeks of training is allowing your body to recover from the intensive schedule, in preparation for the big day. Don’t push yourself too much physically, you’re going to need all the energy you have for the marathon. Torrance encourages runners to reflect on how much they have achieved so far and to take confidence from how far you’ve already come.
Focus on intensity
While long distances may be out of the question, you should continue to build intensity in the lead up to the race. Without over-tiring the muscles, intensity training improves blood flow and increases blood volume which results in more fuel and oxygen reaching the muscles and to the skin for cooling. Intensity also stimulates recovery and engages the central nervous system, readying it for the marathon. Remember – increasing the intensity of your work out has the power to boost your fitness level in the final few weeks of training.
Have a “dress rehearsal”
Three to four weeks before the marathon itself, you should take a run between 18-22 miles, which will help you prepare both physically and mentally for the marathon. Reduce the distance you run significantly in the few weeks before the race, so you keep those essential energy reserves.
Don’t forget the good cause
Just remember that you’re going to achieve something amazing. Don’t forget to dedicate your run to a worthy charity – so that in addition to reaching your goal, you can benefit those who could really use your help. If you haven’t started fundraising yet, get your skates on. Set up a JustGiving page and share it with your friends, you’ll be amazed how much money you can raise for the charity of your choice by doing something that you love.
Get yourself mentally prepared by using visualising techniques. Not long to go….you can do it!
Catherine Halsey writes on a broad range of health and fitness topics including running.