Preparing for a Marathon

You’re over the couch to 5k, this isn’t your first 26.2 miles you’ve ran and you have your next marathons lined up in your calendar. Does this sound familiar? Being an experienced runner you will already have a seasonal training schedule in place and should be running frequently and comfortably during the week. After a year of no sporting events, Covid-19 has made us want to push ourselves further and achieve our goals as virtual races just aren’t the same as the real thing.

How do I prepare for a marathon?

  1. Revise your course – Mimicking the course you will be running on the day will prepare you in terms of distance. You will also need to think about the course, is it flat or inclined? A flat course seems less challenging to some but its lack of incline means you’ll be using the same muscles the whole race which you’ll have to prep for.
  2. Diet plan – Training for a marathon is more than just putting in the hours of physical work. Food fuels your body which will ultimately fuel your race. Let’s be real here, you won’t be on your best performance if you’re on a diet of fizzy drinks and donuts in the race up to your big day. A healthy diet for marathoners should be well-balanced and contain amounts of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. “Macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fats all provide calories that can be burned for energy” states Abbot. The below meal plan sample from Abbot looks like:
  • Breakfast: Eggs, whole wheat toast, half an avocado and a whole banana.
  • Morning snack: Apple with peanut butter
  • Lunch: Quinoa bowl with black beans, chicken, assorted vegetables, salsa and cheese.
  • Pre-run snack: Greek yoghurt with berries and low-fat granola.
  • Pre-run dinner: Salmon, brown rice, broccoli with butter.
  • Bedtime snack: Milk, whole-grain cereal and berries.

Top Trespass Tip – We would recommend smoothies to control sweet cravings. Smoothies provide you with the proteins and nutrients you need, starting your day off right!

3. All the gear (and yes, you’ll have an idea!) – Have a look down to see if you need to update your running trainers. As we all know, running in old-worn trainers is dangerous and could cause extreme injury. We would recommend purchasing a new pair during your training, making sure you add some miles on and break them in. A dress rehearsal is not only for theatre performances, putting on your marathon outfit and trainers before the big day will boost your confidence and condition your body in preparation.

4. Just run – Long runs that are timed are important to get you used to being back on your feet for hours. However, don’t push yourself too far. Run just enough to feel strong and determined, better that than to overtrain and injure yourself. Don’t be greedy!

People often ask, what’s the average time to run a marathon? According to the Healthline “across the board, most people finish a marathon in 4 to 5 hours, with an average mile time of 9 to 11.5 minutes. A finishing time that’s under 4 hours is a real accomplishment for everyone other than elite runners, who can finish in around 2 hours.”

5. Set goals – Setting goals will enable you to see your progress. Write it all down. Why are you doing the marathon, is it for yourself? Is it for charity? Is it just to conquer the 26.2 miles? Is it for the bucket list? Before you start planning your training schedule, we would advise to ask yourself – what do you want from this and then take it from there. Your set goals will impact every aspect of your journey.

6. Support – Find support from other marathoners that are going through the same thing – adding yourself to Facebook groups and advice pages is a great way to feel supported as well as meeting new friends!

Items you need to push forward:

Water bottles

Running Hydration Backpacks