Whether you’re trying to prove a point or you’re genuinely interested in testing your limits, a marathon is challenging to tackle, even as a regular runner.
But you probably already know this, and you might have tried once or twice before reading these lines. Failure in training or running a marathon is not something to be ashamed of. You should learn from it and continue trying until you reach your goal.
You can’t take marathon training lightly, as many difficulties can appear. To give you an idea of how to approach it, here are some expert tips on the most challenging parts you will encounter and how to overcome these.
Marathons are all about running but also about resistance and perseverance when your mind tells you it’s time to give up.
Running such long distances isn’t just about your legs but the entire body. So, while you train for distance, also work your core and trunk muscles. Marathon running is possible only when the whole body works perfectly to propel you forward. This is why you must ensure all your muscles are trained and well-developed for enduring physical activity.
Ultimately, it’s about learning to maintain good form, where all your muscles are seamlessly engaged in the activity.
The Time Issue
It takes months of relentless training to prepare for such a long run, and it’s easy to give up as the big day approaches. If you really want to do this, you need plenty of discipline and a bit of creativity. For instance, we know wet and cold weather can hamper our efforts. So mix it up by going to the gym or hiring a treadmill.
This way, you’ll have no excuses to miss practice day.
We don’t know precisely why muscle cramps occur, but they are more likely to show up on runners who don’t have enough training to support a marathon performance.
According to Mayo Clinic, cramps usually show up when a particular muscle or group of muscles get tired, and the communication between the brain and the muscles is temporarily defective. To avoid this situation, you must invest enough time in your training routine before the marathon and ensure appropriate execution.
If you train enough before the marathon, your muscles will be well-adjusted for the required effort. If you follow the correct pace that fits your training level, the execution will not overload your muscles. Remember, this is not a sprint; you don’t have to come in first!
Running for such a long distance requires honesty (knowing your limits and power), discipline in training and execution, and patience. Patience is essential after the first 10 miles when the euphoria usually wears off and you start battling your mind.
While the human body can develop the resistance and force required for a marathon, it’s not something it will take lightly. During the training period, you’ll get muscle strain and overuse injuries, with beginners being the most exposed to these problems.
Mix your running with core strength training to avoid getting injured too often. Focus on lower body strength to allow your joints, connective tissues, and muscles to get used to the idea of a sustained physical effort. Be consistent, as muscles tend to relax only after a few days without training.
Remember: if you get injured during training, don’t stress the injury until it’s completely healed. If you have to miss the marathon for this, it’s OK. There will be other marathons to run, but your legs may not recover from a severe injury!
Do you feel like you want to lie down and die every time you finish a long run?
While this may be normal in the first rounds, as your body gets used to the idea, you shouldn’t experience such power outages. You need to sustainably push your body to the limit to build resistance slowly. If you continue to feel poorly at the end of training, you may need to review and correct your running technique.
Another cause for power outages is poor nutrition – your training must be supported by high-quality proteins and carbs that will help your muscles get stronger. You can also use energy drinks during your runs for a boost.
At the end of the day, marathon running is an endurance exercise that can take more than one attempt. If you’re consistent with training and keep mentally strong, it’s undoubtedly achievable if you’re willing to do the work.