There are many reasons why people compete in marathons. It is a test of physical strength, determination, and it is an opportunity to support a charitable organization. However, if this is your first marathon, then there are several things that you need to be aware of to not only ensure that you enjoy your experience, but you do so safely.
Timing is Essential When it Comes to Marathon Training
It is recommended that 26 weeks is devoted to training, especially if this is your first marathon. Training will ensure that your muscles are conditioned for extended movement, can help improve endurance, and will mentally prepare you for a 26.2-mile marathon.
This is your first marathon – there will most likely be an issue leading up to the event. There are so many life events that can hinder training, especially if you have less than 26 weeks to do so. Traveling, sickness, and your job, can all hinder training progress. Extended training will help you accommodate if there are any hiccups during training.
Don’t Ever Run With a Full Stomach
It is recommended that you do not eat for about two hours before a marathon. If you do not wait long enough, the food will not be properly digested, and you may be a vomiting spectacle – or worse.
Do Not Endure Pain and Injury
Marathon running is largely automatic, with the same movement and same muscle group being engaged throughout the event. If something hurts while you are running for two days straight, then you should take a two-day rest. Depending on your physical fitness, it may be appropriate to take 4 to 5 days to ensure that aching muscles are properly acclimated.
Crazy Glucose Levels are not Your Friend
Glucose is your body’s go-to energy source. But the wrong sports drink at the wrong time can cause nausea and a sugar crash that can negatively affect your running. The best practice is to consume drinks that can replace some – not all – of the energy that is lost during the marathon as your body can only process so much glucose.
Happy Feet Make all the Difference When it Comes to a Marathon
Poorly made running shoes will only cause plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and poor form. After identifying if you have flat, high, or neutral arches, make sure to try on several pairs of shoes. Compared to street shoes, most running shoes would need to go up half a size.
Make Sure That You Pick the Right Marathon for Yourself
Outside of picking and choosing a marathon that is most important to you, you also need to be cognizant of any budget constraints and the time of year that the marathon will take place in. Costs can differ tremendously, but it’s usually best to attend a local marathon to shave off traveling costs. Fall races tend to be most popular, as temperatures will be cool and comfortable for longer runs.