Marathon Training Program:
Getting Started – Training Basics
There are many topics pertaining to the fundamentals of marathon training. These will be highlighted throughout the sub-topical pages of this web site. Listed below are the most important considerations of which you need to become aware when you make the decision to begin training for your marathon. Runners take your mark, set? train!
Read and learn as much as you can about marathon training. In addition to the large number of books on the topic, monthly magazines such as Runner’s World frequently feature articles about marathon training and racing. Search the web for credible sites addressing the marathon. Check out the Running Links section of this site for a list of great web sites that features a variety of running and marathon-related topics. Additionally, ask others who have previously run marathons for their advice. Join a running club or an organization that promotes marathon training and racing. With so much information and training philosophies available for you to consider, assimilate all the data and find a reputable program that you feel both comfortable with and that meets your needs/goals. Above all, stick with ONE program. Don’t haphazardly adopt several training plans and jump from one to the other. If possible, find a coach and follow his or her training plan. Finally, it is very important to consult with your coach on a regular basis so that your training program can be modified when necessary due to injury and/or fatigue. See Personal Training for information relating the coaching services we provide.
Purchase a new pair of running shoes from a
specialty running store that employs staff knowledgeable about matching
the right shoe with your biomechanical needs (e.g., foot type, foot
stride, and foot strike pattern). See Choosing the Right Shoes
section for more information. Use Cool-max or other synthetic blends
apparel (e.g., socks, singled, shorts, etc.) that wick away perspiration
and enhance your comfort level while running.
If you don’t already do so, keep a training log. Use a notebook,
calendar, running log, etc. to record at a minimum, the following
information: miles run, total time run, and shoe model worn. Records can
also be kept on resting heart-rate, weather conditions, running route,
your perceived exertion level, and much more.
The central reasons for keeping a log are three-fold. First, the log
provides a history of your running, crucial to finding the possible
cause of a running injury. Second, reviewing a running log can help
determine the training methods that have been the most effective in the
past regarding your best race performances. Finally, keeping a log is
highly motivating, as few runners like to leave too many black spaces!
However, do not become compulsive about your running just to “fill in
the blanks” or to reach a specific weekly mileage total. I recommend
also keeping a shoe mileage chart. By keeping a cumulative mileage total
for each pair of the shoes you own, it is easy to determine when it’s
time to purchase a new pair.
The topic of nutrition
will be discussed in greater detail in several sections of this site.
For now, remember that regardless of the outside temperature, runners
must be well hydrated not only to avoid heat complications but also to
run effectively. For runs of up to 60 minutes or less, water is the
drink of choice. It is also important to emphasize healthy foods in your
diet while at the same time, limit fried and high fat foods. There is
much debate now regarding the proper mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and
fats. My recommendation is to focus on including ample carbohydrate
sources in your diet, aiming for approximately 65 percent of total daily
calories coming from that area.
Supplemental Fitness Activities
Without a doubt, to run a marathon successfully, one must log the
necessary miles leading up to the event. This is a concept known as
sports specificity. It is also important to include some cross-training activities along with a regular stretching and weight training
program to both reduce the risk of injury during this period and to
facilitate total body conditioning. Cross-training is particularly
important for runners who are just beginning to build a mileage base and
need to strengthen the opposing muscle groups to reduce their chances
of incurring an overuse injury during the mileage buildup stage.
Courtesy of marathontraining.com