Doing your first marathon or half marathon is a great way to challenge yourself. You might be trying to get healthier, fulfil a new year’s resolution, support a friend who is participating, raise money for a charity or simply want to test your limits. Either way, preparation is vital.
Whether you’re running a half marathon (21.1km) or a full one (42.195km), running a marathon for the first time is a significant effort that requires training. The first thing is to know your limits. These distances put you at a much higher risk for injury than any casual jog. One of the most common causes of injury is building weekly mileage too soon, too quickly.
You should get used to running 5 to 10 km regularly to prepare physically and mentally, especially in the case of a full marathon. You should also pick the right kind of event. Marathons range from quiet, low-key fun runs to spectator-line urban races with a much more competitive spirit.
Key Elements to Marathon Training
The most important aspects of first marathon training are:
- Base mileage – building your weekly mileage over time by running three to five times every week.
- Practising long distance – going on gradually longer runs every 7 to 10 days to help your body adjust to longer distances. For example, running 10 km the first weekend, 12 km the following weekend, etc.
- Speed work – practising tempo runs and intervals with heart rate training to increase your cardio capacity.
- Rest – ensuring you get adequate rest and recovery time to prevent injuries and burnout.
Finding the Right Training Plan
You need to find the right training plan to get you from your current fitness level to being able to run the half or full marathon. Consult a professional or do some research to find something suitable for you. Your training plan should take into account your experience and background, helping you build up your cardiovascular fitness and get you to the starting line motivated and in excellent shape. Avoid plans that include significant increases in frequency or mileage. It must be feasible for you.
Get a Running Buddy
One of the best ways to motivate yourself and prepare for your first marathon is to get a running partner. When you are training and preparing on your own, it’s easy to get carried away making excuses for avoiding sticking to your training plan. The accountability a running buddy gives you can make a huge difference in how well prepared you are, physically and mentally.
Get the Right Equipment
Ensure you have the right pair of shoes for the marathon. Choose shoes that are comfortable, light and flexible. Visit your local running or sporting store to try on different pairs. Specialised stores that provide advice and let you try out the shoes are best. You should also get high quality socks and other clothing that will ensure you are comfortable for the duration of the event.
Running Health Services in Melbourne
Pinnacle Health Group provides a range of services including physiotherapy, massage, clinical Pilates, yoga and more in multiple locations in Melbourne. If you’re injured or need health advice, book an appointment from one of our centrally based health clinics or join a wellness class near you.