If you’re looking to run a marathon, you may be looking for a challenge to push yourself beyond your current limits. It’s all about discipline: staying on track with a training program, no matter what else is going on in life, to be fit enough to run a race.
But you may be motivated by something else. Perhaps you’re running to raise funds for charity, lose weight, or want to attend a special marathon event with friends. Whatever your reasons for running, you need ways to help yourself stay motivated and achieve your goals.
Here are 5 places to start while training.
Your body cannot possibly keep up with the rigors of marathon training and running without the correct fuel. This means eating right, drinking lots of water, and taking appropriate supplements.
Many runners like to take pre-workout and caffeine supplements to get them pumped up for training runs. You may wonder why pre-workout itches, but don’t worry; the right supplements can help. Here are some common choices:
Protein – for endurance
Electrolytes – to replace salts, vitamins, and minerals that the body loses
Vitamin B12 – for sustained energy
Magnesium – to prevent cramps
Probiotics – to support good gut health, digestion, and adequate food absorption
If you’re serious about taking supplements, it’s best to discuss the matter with your coach or a nutritionist to identify the best plan for you.
When starting, people are often tempted to push hard and do more than they can handle. This is not a good option and can quickly lead to burnout or even injury. The pressure will make you feel demotivated. You’ll also be doing more harm than good when pushing your body to achieve distances it’s not ready for yet.
It is better to be aware of your limits and talk to your coach and doctor about how best to build yourself up to the longer distances.
Trying to build your weekly mileage too soon and too quickly is one of the most common injury causes. Work towards being able to run 20 to 30 miles every week for as long as a year before entering and training for actual marathons.
Yes, that’s a real commitment. But you can do it, and your body will be in much better shape than if you push for too much too soon.
Don’t wait until the last minute to try and get fit enough for a race. Depending on the marathon’s distance, you should be training for eight months to a year beforehand. This way, your body will be well-conditioned and better able to cope with the task.
It’s also best to run some shorter races to get a feel for what you are doing and how to manage your strength and energy. Do a few 5 and 10Ks, then build up to a half marathon before attempting a full marathon.
Many people feel guilty about taking days off. Don’t let your inner A-type plague you on this. Rest and recovery are just as important as putting the mileage in. Rest gives your body time to recoup and heal many common issues, so you’ll bounce back even stronger.
You can do some low-impact cross training like yoga, pilates, and swimming if you feel restless on your days off from running.
By eating well, taking the correct supplements, building up your mileage carefully, and getting plenty of rest days, you’ll surely reach your running goals. Just remember, it’s called a marathon, not sprint running, for a reason. There are no quick fixes. You have to put in the work consistently over time to get the results you’re looking for.