Marathon Training 101
Know YourselfIf you're not a morning person and you feel sluggish and unmotivated at 6 a.m., don't run at 6 a.m. Train at Noon or in the evening instead. With the heat and humidity of the Indiana summer, I once did a 20-mile training run at 11 pm. If you live at the bottom of a hill and your runs are physically taxing, then drive to the top and run down using gravity to your advantage. Train on easier routes, scenic routes, and downhill routes and use anything to keep you interested and engaged in running. Changes in scenery will keep you motivated.
Don’t Be Afraid to WalkWalking is not a bad thing. If you are out for a three-miler in the blazing hot sun and you feel a cramp coming on, slow it down to a walk. Walking allows you to catch your breath and reset your bearings. It can even be good to cycle walking into your training runs in the beginning. When you are further along in training, you will want to dial down your walking and increase your running consistency. If it's a choice between not running at all and walking some during your run, then go ahead and walk.
Consider Partner or Group TrainingIf you are a social person, run with a group or a partner that you can talk to for overall morale and support. You'll find that running with someone tends to give you a little push, and in the beginning we need all the help we can get as we log our training miles.
Ignore Your Time in the BeginningLeave your watch at home, and in the beginning of your marathon training, don’t time your runs. Just run to get the feel for it. Work on your stride, your form and your breathing. Run without the pressure of having to beat some arbitrary time.
Set Milestones and Reward Yourself
The last thing anyone wants is to make a marathon seem completely out of reach. As we start running, it is important to take baby steps toward the goal. Going from the couch to completing a 26.2-mile marathon can be daunting, and milestones are a way to break up your marathon training into more manageable pieces. We need to reward our individual milestones with small incentives. My reward comes in the form of food, typically chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, but it can be anything used as a carrot to motivate you.
Over the course of your marathon training, these milestones become more running-based as you accomplish things like running five miles for the first time in your life, or 10 miles or 20 miles. If it takes a little longer to get to the end goal, that’s just fine because you are a runner and you can accomplish anything!
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