Your First Marathon
Whether you are considering or have already decided to participate in your first marathon, there are a few things you should know.
Offered in this article are helpful practices that both first-time marathoners and veterans can use.
Mind and Body
Each waking day you will have to be mentally ready to accept the challenges that lay in front of you. The goal is to compete in a marathon, but first there is a journey. That journey takes focus, will, and determination.
Know Your Body
Don’t over exert yourself. Remember, the further the day you begin your training is from the day of the marathon the better. Having this sufficient amount of time will be greatly beneficial to you, especially for the times when you feel a possible injury coming on. It sounds cliché, but one of the best pieces of advice your doctor can give you is to “stay off of it.” If you train through pain, you are only going to delay your progress; and this means that when an injury DOES occur, you will spend more time in recovery than if you would had you taken a break.
Begin a Training Schedule
No two people that come across this article are the same; and we are by no means about to give SPECIFIC guidelines on what is best for you. We highly recommend that you work with a professional trainer who can help you develop and formulate a weekly training schedule that will best benefit you and prepare you for your marathon.
A good general goal is to be up to at least 12 miles 12 weeks before the marathon.
Running will obviously be a part of your training. But you have to remember to mix up your running sessions, because your body will start to acclimate itself. For example; if you perform the exact same workout over and over again, your body will adjust (which is what it's supposed to do) but it also means that your workout will become less effective. So be sure to mix it up from week to week, with a few slow runs, to fast runs, short runs to longer runs.
To train for a marathon you really need a well-rounded total body workout. Incorporating other types of exercises and physical activity can help you increase your endurance and lung capacity.
One key benefit to swimming is that it can help you recover from a run.
How does swimming help you recovery exactly?
Swimming helps increase lung capacity, which means you are taking in more oxygen. Oxygen travels from the lungs throughout the cells in your body, giving you energy. At the same time, blood flow is increased, and when blood is delivered to damaged areas of the body it can help repair those areas. And because you use many of the same muscles swimming as you do in running, these are muscle areas can benefit greatly.
The second benefit is increased anaerobic endurance. The more air you take in the more your lungs will expand, allowing for you to take in even more air.
Additionally swimming is a low impact physical activity with significantly reduced risk of injury.
Cycling is another way to increase anaerobic endurance. Your lower body is in constant motion, requiring the use of oxygen.
A plus and negative at the same time is that cycling does not work the same muscles as when you run, however this can help to ease the workload on your legs, while continuing to increase your endurance.
Train Your Core!
Running isn’t all your legs; it also involves muscles in the back and pelvis which are needed for stability. You need these to perform the simple act of walking or going up a set of steps. These muscles need to be strengthened to support you throughout your entire run.
Perform exercises such as sit-ups to target your abs and back workouts.
Stay On Task!
If you truly want to participate in a marathon, it’s entirely on you to make it happen. A trainer can help you along the way, but ultimately you have to be willing to push yourself.
Dig deep, and find exterior sources of motivation.