Our lovely friends Hannah and Emily, aka Twice The Health, are avid runners. They've pulled together their top tips to help you prepare for your first marathon. Over to TTH...
So, you’ve signed up to your first marathon? Guess what? The hardest bit is done!
It’s a big, bold move to agree to run 26.2 miles. No one (we hope) forced you into this, it’s a decision you’ve made, and a brave one at that, and in case no one has told you already… we’re damn proud!
You’ve signed the dotted line, you’ve told all your friends, work colleagues and family members. So, what’s next? It’s time to start thinking about ‘how’ you’re going to get through it, and we don’t just mean the race day. That’s the easy bit. What lies ahead is months (again, we hope) of training, if like us you live in the UK some very wet runs, and some sessions that just don’t go to plan. It’s all part of the accomplishment, and it’s one feeling we promise won’t be beaten.
In 2015 we too ran our first marathon, London to be exact, so it’s time for us to throw it back and think about what we would have wanted to know before stepping up to that (slightly soggy) startline. Every marathon journey is different, some go really really well, and others throw up every challenge under the sun. All we can do is draw experience from ours, but we hope these five tips help you get the feet moving and the miles mounding!
Yes, perhaps easier said than done when the feat of 42.2 kilometres lies ahead, but let’s just take a breath here. What exactly do you think panicking is going to do? It’s not going to make you faster, it’s not going to grow your legs and it’s certainly not going to make the whole process any easier.
This training game is a long one, and there will be times where you will begin to question why oh why you signed up to such a feat. So relax, run, refuel , repeat!
And before you say it, no we don’t just mean a plan to run every single day. In fact, if anything we’d stray as far from that as possible, especially if you’re a new runner. If you don’t already run regularly, suddenly adding twenty km to your weekly agenda is going to do nothing for the mind and body. Not only is it likely to result in injury, it’s also going to do nothing for your confidence. Think about mapping out your your mileage with a slow steady increase. On top of this think about incorporating 1 or 2 strength sessions into your week. If you’re unsure on this Runners World have a great ‘strength training for beginners guide’. Finally, cross training is cool too. Exercises such as cycling and swimming are great low impact alternatives, which can help reduce injury whilst still keeping you working towards your goal.
Yes, we realise we’ve just reeled off a load of things you should do, but not given you any real indication on how exactly you should set about doing it. What we suggest is:
2 or 3 runs a week (1 longer and 1 or 2 shorter/interval/speed sessions)
1 or 2 strength sessions (these should involve compound movements, single leg movements and dynamic work to support your running, not hinder it)
1 cross training session (cycling or swimming)
1 or 2 rest days (you will definitely want two as you get closer to bigger distances)
These are just our suggestions, they are by no means gospel, but hopefully they help you begin to map out a plan.
No matter how close to your heart they sit, having pulled you through your first 5k, do not pull out your old trainers from the back of the wardrobe and expect them to perform. Said set of shoes need to be the shoes that you want to wear on the big day, they need to be able to hold up against the hundreds of miles that you will most likely rack up during the weeks of training. We would highly recommend going to visit a gait analysis specialist.
They'll pop you on a treadmill, and assess you run as part of a ‘try before you buy’. Paired with some professional advice, this is bound to set you up right to have you striding strong during the upcoming months. Believe it or not, even we opt for difference when it comes to shoes. We turn to the team at Profeet to analyse us from hip down to ensure the Cinderella slipper chosen is the perfect piece to the marathon puzzle.
A small garment (or not if you're Bridget Jones) that is often overlooked but can end up playing the role of a real pain in the arse (literally) if not given adequate thought. Some people swear by going commando for running, but we couldn't disagree more! You want a fabric that is moisture wicking, soft and smooth. Ladies: you don't want anything with a lace trim, no matter how pretty it seems it will soon turn to razor blades…trust us. We put our trust in Runderwear, and they’ve never let us down to date...
We wish everyone looked back on their marathon experience fondly, but sadly so many don’t. Many say they thought the race itself was incredible but the training was hard and, yep you guessed it: lonely. The training will always be hard, but it doesn't have to be lonely. Finding that one friend to share the experience with can be game changing, and don’t worry, matching outfits are not (totally) essential. If said buddy search fails look out for a local run club...we’ve heard the Twice The Health one is pretty great! On a more serious note, we will be running weekly run clubs in the lead up to marathon season with increasing distances, so keep your eyes peeled on our profile for the details. See you on the asphalt!
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