Mistake: You don’t enter an event before your marathon
Training regularly is all well and good, but what do you do when you don’t seem to improve or progress? The answer: enter a race prior to your marathon event. If you don’t enter a race before your big day you’ll struggle to push yourself and your sessions will lack focus.
Mistake: You over-train
Running a marathon is a daunting prospect and understandably you want to prepare as much as possible, yet do not over-train or you will injure or exhaust yourself. For the majority of people, the most you can realistically do is five to six training sessions per week. However, you still need to make sure you include one full rest day in your week, plus you must ensure that the quality of your sessions remains high.
Mistake: You don’t run for a reason
Although running for the love of running is great, sometimes it can be really helpful to have a reason to run. During the second half of your marathon race the challenge is just as much about your mental attitude as it is your physical abilities. Running for a charity that means something to you is sometimes the best way to stay focused and boost your motivation when the going gets tough come race day.
Mistake: You skip interval training
Want to get faster? Then make sure you fit in some decent interval sessions. Running steadily is great for your endurance, but it doesn’t help you to run faster. Interval training on the other hand will speed you up. Here are some good interval training sessions.
Mistake: You ignore the 10 per cent rule
The 10 per cent rule is in place so that you do not push yourself too hard, too soon. To stick to the 10 per cent rule you should not increase the distance of your previous long run by more than 10 per cent each time you head out. If you ignore the 10 per cent rule you’ll risk injuring yourself, which may mean you don’t even make it to the start line.
Mistake: You don’t refuel post-run
What you do after your marathon training session is just as important as what you do during your session. Within fifteen minutes of finishing your run drink a glucose-replacement drink. This will make sure you hydrate and top up your glucose levels. Then, within two hours of your run you should eat a meal that includes protein and carbohydrates. Make sure you drink several glasses of water as well.
Mistake: You don’t adjust your shoes
Running is not a glamorous sport and if you’re in any doubt about this ask any serious runner to remove their shoes and take a look at their black or non-existent toenails. ‘Runner’s toe’ is a normal complaint that most long-distance runners experience, but it’s not a necessity. ‘Runner’s toe’ occurs when your feet heat up on a long run. This heat causes your feet to expand and the space within your shoe to reduce. As a result your toe hits the inside of your shoe, which damages the nail. Buying correctly fitting running shoes will help you avoid this discomfort. You should also adjust your running shoe during your run to give your expanding feet more room.
Mistake: You stretch your muscles before they are warmed up
Stretching can seem like a complex business, but if you want to work on your flexibility you should not stretch before your muscles are fully warmed up. This is because muscles that have not been warmed up are inelastic and therefore stretching them will result in an injury. Instead wait until your muscles are relaxed and fit in a flexibility session after your run when your muscles will be warmed up. Ideally you can do your flexibility stretches during your cool-down.
Mistake: You exercise during your taper
Tapering is an important and essential part of any marathon training plan and if you don’t want to end up lagging in your race come marathon day you need to stick to the taper set out in your training plan. So, not only should you not run to excess, you should not do any other form of exercise for long periods. A little cycling or some walking may be okay, but remember the taper period is an opportunity for your body to recover and prepare for your marathon.
Mistake: You pick the wrong training plan
There are hundreds of training plans on offer, but which one is for you? Do a little bit of research into who the training plan has been created for and pick a plan that matches your ability. If you do not, you will find the plan does not prepare you for the race. Marathon training plans are typically 16 weeks long, but a lead-in period can be useful if you are not an experienced runner.
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