Marathon Training Tips

Whether it's your first marathon or you're just dabbling in the idea of running for your own fitness, I'm sharing 10 marathon week training tips to guide you to the finish line! 

  • Download a training plan… Personally, I’ve always used the Nike+ Run App, it keeps you on track, adjusts as you progress through your training, connects you to community through the Nike Run Club, holds you accountable and keeps you on track, which can often be the hardest part. Regardless, be it an app or printed program, get on a running schedule, there’s a reason they’re out there. 
  • Cross Train… This is one of the most under-rated and overlooked aspects of marathon training, but it’s critical to your safety & success. Cross training will not only improve your performance on race day, but will protect you from injury. Make sure you’re working on your core, legs, and your entire posterior chain. The more muscles you engage during your runs, the easier your runs will become- train smarter, not harder. Also recommended: visit a running specialist and see what areas need work. Corrective exercises, might feel tedious, but if you’re not using the proper muscles or movement patterns, you literally won’t be capable of functioning at your full potential. Read more about Glute & Core exercises here.
  • Recover… I encourage all of my clients to incorporate massage therapy into their training. Often times, they feel like it should be a treat that needs to be earned, but that’s where we get it wrong. Recovery, be it sleep, self-myofascial release (foam rolling), or massage therapy is a necessary luxury, and your body will respond accordingly. Personally, this week I’ll be seeing my chiropractor for one last adjustment, spending extra time on a foam roller, and if possible adding in a massage early in the week to work out any tight spots.
  • Slow it down…. The week prior, begin to taper off. No need to show off or prove anything this week, you’ve trained for months, and now it’s maintenance mode. Keep moving, keep cross training, but nothing crazy. The last thing you want to do is stumble upon an injury or burn out in those final days. Reserve your energy for when it counts.
  • Fuel up… ALL WEEK! Your nutrition this week is critical to setting you up for success. Stay well fueled & hydrated throughout the week. The idea of “carbo-loading” the night before is all wrong. Yes, you’ll need more carbs for race day, trust me, you’ll burn through your full storage supply, but rather than overloading the night before, begin incorporating more carbs into each of your meals this week. Think quality carbs, not fat, and remember it’s not about eating more, but about increasing the percentage of carbs in your daily caloric intake. Have some pasta the night before, but if you’ve done well fueling up throughout the week, there’s no need to eat the whole lasagna. 
  • Collect yourself… A marathon is not only a physical battle, but an emotional and mental battle as well. Typically, my mental hurdle arrives around mile 17, here things start to feel harder, my energy is dropping, and the finish line feels far away. Around mile 20-22, I start to hit my emotional hurdle. Suddenly, those witty signs, don’t seem so funny, and if you’re being cute telling me to ‘Suck It Up, Buttercup” I want nothing more than to see you get out here and “Suck It Up”. Beware, these moments will come, you might feel angry, you might want to cry, everyone’s different, just shake it off and remember why you’re here. Keeping your own library of motivational mantras will help as well. My favorite: ”Push your limits & you will have none.”
  • Dress the part… Race day temperatures can vary, so set aside a couple options just in case. Most importantly, make sure you’re running shoes are worn in. One of the biggest rookie mistakes you can make is running on a new pair of shoes- talk about blisters, ouch! Personally, I don’t pack water on race day (there’s plenty of water stops along the way), but I will have a waist band for energy gels/gummies. Often, these aren’t offered until later into the race, and you may need them a few miles before or after that option becomes available. Also, don’t be afraid to pull out the vaseline or anti-chaffing stick, there’s no shame in being cautious.  
  • Rise & shine… This is where you need to know your body, it’s going to be a long day, so you want to get started on the right foot. For some, this might mean waking up even earlier than most, some runners prefer to get a warm-up mile in before the race (that’s not me). Regardless, when it comes to breakfast, avoid runny food selections, no smoothies, yogurt, or eggs as they don’t tend to sit well. Oatmeal is my go-to race day breakfast, I might add some chia seeds, or peanut butter for added fuel. If you’re in a rush, try to grab a banana with peanut butter or protein bar. And fun fact, there are two Clif Bar flavors that offer an added boost of caffeine– look for Cool Mint & Toffee Crunch. 
  • After party… Completing a marathon is huge achievement, so make sure to plan a celebration for afterwards. For many, this might be as simple as ordering takeout and resting for the remainder of the day, but If you have friends or family coming to cheer you on, plan ahead and make dinner reservations early. 
  • Finally, have fun!… Remember this is a celebration! You’ve logged countless miles training for this, you’ve already won & believe it or not, today is the easy part!

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