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Marathon Running Guide for Beginners

Marathon Guide For Begineers
Last Updated on July 16, 2020 by Ashwini G

While training to run a marathon, one needs to focus on cardiovascular fitness and musculoskeletal resilience (the ability of your skeleton and muscle to bounce back). Your body encounters a significant musculoskeletal resilience factor compared to cardiovascular fitness when the distance to run increases.  Put, in other words, running short miles needs your body to receive oxygen as fast as possible. However, if you wish to run all day long, you will need to bear compressive and ground reactive forces on the musculoskeletal system. A marathon takes a middle ground while challenging both these components. The marathon-running guide for beginners that we have provided below will help you find the perfect regime for your daily running routine.

How and Where to Start?

Marathons vary from peaceful, low-key events with tens of thousands of competitors on backcountry roads to spectator-lined metropolitan courses. Race a few quick runs, root for a competitor, or participate at marathons to help yourself get accustomed to the event and recognize your interests. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Visit a Physician: Marathons that go as far as 26.2 miles or more will put you at a comparatively higher risk of injury than casual everyday jogs. Therefore, you should consult with your physician before you take on any training program.
  • Give Yourself Time: The conventional wisdom recommends that aspiring marathoners maintain a running routine for as much as a year before they take on any training program. One factor which often leads to injury while you run is building weekly mileage too quickly — so don’t overlook the importance of running at least 20–30 miles regularly a week before you commit yourself to marathon training.
  • Don’t Start Big: Start with short races that cover 5K, 10K, or maybe half a marathon. Short tracks are the most efficient way to mentally and physically prepare for your first marathon. You should try building your weekly mileage with time by running nothing more than three to five times a week.

Preparing Yourself for a Marathon

Base Mileage

Training programs for marathon range anywhere between 12 and 20 weeks. Beginners who are just starting need to aim at building their weekly mileage to as much as 50 miles over four months that lead to race day. Running three-five times a week is enough. A relatively relaxed pace allows your run to complete itself at its best. You should take care to run at a leisurely pace– think in terms of anything that will enable you to have a conversation. When building your base mileage, don’t increase the weekly limit you have sent by more than 10 percent. The focus of your base training phase should be on:

  • Increasing endurance- this refers to your aerobic capacity.
  • Training your central nervous system is needed to ensure that the communication between your muscles and brain remains efficient.
  • Improving muscle strength mainly focuses on preventing injury and ensuring a smooth transition to more challenging workouts.

Increasing Distance

The next step in your training is building your long run every week. Do this once every week or a maximum of 10 days. Make sure you increase the long term by a couple of miles every week. Remember to take it down a notch to avoid overtaxing your body and preventing injuries.  Doing such runs at a slow pace will help build confidence by allowing your body to adjust to longer distances while you only burn fat for fuel. Most training plans require that you run as much as 20 miles. However, when you run a marathon, you might have to cover an extra few miles. If you train correctly, your body will attain a peak shape that you can take advantage of on the day of the marathon, along with the crowd support and adrenaline rush you are sure to get. Some other points to keep in mind:

  • No Garbage Miles: To stop the “garbage miles” from affecting your regime, the perfect weekly routine will consist of a few days devoted to weightlifting. There will also be other long-term days that will help the body heal from the intense regime while constantly developing enormous stamina.
  • Dressing Right: Review the prediction for the day’s weather, and dress accordingly. Carry the tried-and-tested gear and not anything new.
  • Choosing the Right Shoes: Naturally, if you start in the winters, you will have to be careful about what you are wearing. Pick the shoes that will give you maximum support and protection while staying comfortable at every step, particularly at long distances.
  • Training your Muscles: Working on muscle performance is essential. The right approach towards it is pushing yourself to the practice of running faster paces on an 800-meter track or even the gymnasium treadmill. This workout helps develop the body and prevents it from overwhelming itself while the athlete remains motivated to move at a heightened speed. A better way to end the long runs is by forcing yourself in the last mile to move harder so that your muscles are accustomed to completing the marathon at a higher pace.
  • Enjoy: Reflect and rest instead of racing on the day before the marathon. Spending too much time running or walking can just tire you out. On the other hand, sticking around the entire anticipation of the pre-race will increase your stress rates and leave you tired by the end of the day. However, taking a long, 20-minute run to shake off your muscles and relax your emotions may also be helpful. If you’re racing, take the opportunity to note you’ve worked well and are prepared.

Taking Proper Rest

Days of rest imply no racing. They let you heal your muscles from taxing workouts and help avoid mental exhaustion. Injury is the worst threat of all potential marathoners, and recovery is the most excellent defense against damage. If you’re waiting on your rest days to do something active, you should consider some cross-training as an option. Cross-training may include yoga, swimming, cycling, hiking, walking, weight lifting, or any other active pursuit that is not as high-impact as your everyday running. Drink many cups of water or an energizing drink in the immediate moments after you finish the race. If you can, try and move a little to help your muscles calm down. Perform gentle relaxation exercises. Eat some simple carbohydrates, regardless of whether you like it or not.

Building Aerobic Metabolism

These days long runs are almost always compared to your endurance. If you wish to increase stamina, you need to increase the distance of your long run. Long-distance running has some apparent benefits:

  • Mitochondria become denser
  • You race faster
  • You remain more energetic
  • The efficiency in running increases
  • There is an improvement in muscle strength
  • This helps you become mentally tough
  • You build a dense capillary network that delivers oxygenated blood

Follow the steps below to increase your metabolism:

  1. Speed training is an optional feature to add to your fitness schedule. It will improve your aerobic ability and make it easier for you to ride! The most popular forms of speed-work are progression runs, intervals, and tempo runs.
  2. Progression runs make for an excellent early-season exercise, where you slowly ramp up to the pace of a tempo at the end of your sprint.
  3. Intervals are a series of repetitions of similar, short runs, completed at a slightly quicker speed than usual with jogs of rest in between. For starters, you might run 4 X 1-mile repeats at a fast pace, with 5 minutes of easy jogging or even alternating walks throughout the mile.
  4. After intervals come, the longer tempo runs— generally about 4–10 miles, based on where you’re in your workout. These require you to run at a demanding yet manageable pace. This exercise style prepares both the body and the brain to take out demanding tasks for a prolonged period.
  5. The muscle is a tissue that remains metabolically active. This implies that during exercise and at rest, it can use oxygen for heat. A pound of flesh consumes around five calories or so over a 24-hour cycle, so the introduction of 4-5 pounds of muscle will increase the metabolism by about 20 calories a day.

Neuromuscular Fitness

Neuromuscular exercises help improve leg strength and neuromuscular health (your brain’s capacity to interact efficiently with your muscles). This is essential even if they are not your primary target. Some great ways to build neuromuscular strength are:

  • Running fartlek workouts once every 2-3 weeks
  • Sprinting up a hill 1-2 times in a week
  • Running strides a couple of times in a week

Hill sprints and strides are best considered “drills” instead of “workouts.” They ‘re an addition to your workout regime but not as parts of running, such as track intervals or hill repetitions. There is no need for you to do more than three hill sprints and strides a week. The “bridge” between quick, easy races and more demanding workouts is given by Fartlek preparation.  By utilizing resistance (weight) to stimulate the central nervous system, you will healthily attract loads of muscle fibers.

Muscular Training

Several muscle fibers are activated from both lifting and moving quickly – they “use more muscle,” which is more efficient in creating strength. Thus, it is evident that fast running and weight lifting are a part of your physical preparation – irrespective of whether you’re practicing for a mile run or a marathon. Here’s an easy way to get going if you’re new to strength training:

  • Start with exercises on bodyweight strength.
  • After 1-2 months, add medicine ball and resistance bands workouts.
  • You will now be able to step up like a pro with a good weight lifting plan.

After you start to lift daily, you may feel “off” when not doing it.   You will discover that you don’t heal as quickly, and feel less secure. Other things you should do:

  • Build the mileage slowly and for the long term
  • Regularly participate in hill sprints or strides.
  • Complete aerobic workout every seven to fourteen days
  • Include a fast fartlek workout between 10-14 days.

Nutrition for Marathon Running

It is easy to guess that you will need extra fuel for the miles once you start running. You’ll approximately consume an additional 100 calories for every mile you race. Not just this, the muscles would require extra protein to hold themselves up when working successfully. Here’s a short introduction to the foods you can consume as marathoners:

Glucose Drinks

These are taken in the first 15 minutes after your run is over and are best digested for muscles wanting sources of fuel. It is critical to have 15 minutes, as this is when your muscles will use them best.

Complex Carbohydrates

These deliver slow and steady energy. Complex carbs, including whole bread, whole grains, and unrefined pasta along with vegetables and potatoes, won’t cause the fast blood sugar rise and drops that leave you feeling exhausted when you complete your run.

Protein

Protein is necessary for the reconstruction of both tendons and muscles. Proteins are also critical to hormone control. The more often you exercise, and the more ground you cross, the further work will need to be undertaken to strengthen the muscles. A simple reference is that you’ll need up to 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram you weigh if you’re running long distances. If you are just looking to lose a few pounds, your nutrition should be good quality and ideally lean, such as meat, tofu, poultry, nuts, and fish. Low-fat protein should not be an issue for those runners who don’t have a weight problem.

Fats

The healthiest oils to eat are monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, and avocados. Monounsaturated fats decrease heart diseases and stroke, making them the Mediterranean Diet’s essential ingredients. The receiving of their food calories from these kinds of fats and oils is safer for an athlete than from poor choices like lard or deep-fried stuff.

Water

Consuming water is essential for every individual, but this is even truer for a runner who sweats more than an average person. A good rule to abide by is drinking as much as two liters or eight cups of water in a day. There are other fluids like sports drinks, fruit juices, and herbal teas, which can be considered healthy fluids while you need to steer clear of caffeine and alcohol, which dehydrate the body.

Marathon Preparation FAQs

What Steps Should I Follow During the Race?

  • Move on gradually. It’s quick to get stuck in the excitement of race-day, but going too soon is a significant novice mistake. As long as you feel great, there will be plenty of miles to pick up your pace.
  • Remember that at the first few help stations, the bathroom queues are the largest. If you can wait for a couple more miles without some pain, this will save you time.
  • When you have a companion who arrives to encourage you, think about the places he or she can follow along the road. It can be a big help to have a partner along the way.

Do I Need Vitamins and Minerals?

Vitamins and minerals will play a vital role in giving you the strength to complete your run. When running, you will need increased energy, which would also mean you need more vitamins and minerals. These can preferably be given by a safe, well-balanced diet of new and whole foods. Bottled supplements can never substitute a balanced, diverse menu, and can be regarded merely as an option, instead of a necessity.

How Much Cushioning Should My Shoes Provide?

How much cushioning your running shoes contribute is mostly a question of personal choice. Over the years, empirical information has embraced the advantages of running with more, or less, or no padding at all — but there is no objective better alternative. However, different kinds of running shoes have their advantages. You should want to invest in a pair of well-cushioned running shoes if you’re running high mileage and have had to suffer foot pain in the past by spending too much time on your feet.

Reaching the Finish Line

Several runners desire to complete a marathon as a part of some personal challenge. You could wish to test your limits or might want to prove that you can go the distance. Maybe a friend of yours talked you into running or losing weight. No matter why, once you have made up your mind to become a marathoner, hold on to your resolve and make sure that you go the distance!

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