So you've signed up for your first big marathon event. Now you need to think about your training programme, here is some good advice to make sure you get your running preparation off to the right start.
1. Identify your goals but do not lock them in
If you are a distance runner beginner you may not understand your ability, your fitness level or the impact your training will have on you. This means you may not have a specific goal to aim at - other than "i just want to finish!". Put any predictions aside at the start and focus on your training plan. You will be able to reassess your goals as your training develops and you gain more experience, confidence and understanding of your running times/splits.
2. Be realistic but also commit
Ask yourself how much time can you realistically commit to your target? Being committed 100 per cent at the start is great, but you also need to remember that your training is a marathon and not a sprint. So that means you need to be committed to the whole training plan throughout and not being able to dip in and out.
Draw up a plan that works around your needs and lifestyle to ensure that for at least 12 weeks you are able to commit without too many of life's distractions getting in the way or over training and becoming tired/sore legs and being unable to fulfil certain training days that can effect confidence and motivation.
3. Share the pain
Try and find someone you can go out and run with early on and share your training plan and ambitions together. Having a running buddy is good motivation when the weather is wet and miserable and also to help maintain a good speed throughout your run.
Joining a local running club or downloading a running app and joining an online running community group are also good ways to help boost motivation and stay committed throughout your training programme.
4. Plan ahead with your events
To get the most out of your event, try planning ahead and giving yourself a thorough training plan, at the very least, you want to be training for at least 8 weeks prior to your event. 12-16 weeks is the ideal amount of time to get yourself set up right for your marathon. If you have given yourself plenty of time to prepare for your marathon, it could be good to enter a few smaller races before to build up to race day such as 5km, 10km or half marathons.
5. Watch your diet and hydration
Do some research into your diet, this is important both for performance and recovery. Eating meals high in carbohydrates will help for those long runs and plenty of protein after will help with recovery.
Staying hydrated is also hugely important, not only can this help with performance and recovery but also your general health. Staying hydrated can also help reduce the risks of injuries such as cramps. Energy drinks and gels are useful to have but try not to become dependant upon them during your training as these may be more useful for race day. Keep your focus on nutrition and drinking plenty of water.
Looking for help with your training plan?
We provide a 12 week half and full marathon training plan complete with a step by step guide to get you set up right ready for your big day! Not only will you be sent a complete guide complete with strength and conditioning exercises, nutrition support and recovery exercises, you will also be able to download our app and get exclusive daily reminders, full detailed explanations about your runs and access to join our online running community to provide you with all the support needed to get you ready in just 12 weeks!