There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who spend a portion of every single year getting ready to compete in some sort of marathon. If you've never run in a marathon, you might think we're crazy to drive ourselves so hard to succeed, day in and day out. In fact, some runners I know play up how hard marathoning is, so they can get just a bit more respect from their peers and perhaps keep more people from competing against them. I, on the other hand, love to share my marathon-training tips. The more people who get out there and run, the better! So in the spirit of sharing, these are some ideas you can use to get ready for your own big race.For starters, it pays to invest in two or three really good pairs of running shoes.
You'll be using them a lot as you train, and if you scrimp on quality, you'll pay a high price in the end. Running puts a severe amount of stress on your ankles and knees, and good shoes are designed to distribute that stress evenly throughout your body. Poor shoes tend to flatten out under the pressure, or even worse, they chafe your delicate toes and ankles, making you feel as bad as though you've run an entire day barefoot. I suggest three pairs so you can alternate the shoes you wear each day. This helps them to last a bit longer.
When it comes to training, I suggest ramping up slowly. I work out hard one day, and then rest the next, returning to a hard workout the following day. Each time I have a hard workout coming up, I try to add a bit more challenge. Perhaps I go a bit further, or perhaps I try to run a bit faster. The key word here is "bit." I never ramp up so fast that it involves hurting myself or pushing myself too hard. I want to stay healthy enough to compete, after all, and that's not something I can do if I'm pushing myself too hard and causing injuries as a result.
Finally, I suggest that people really pay attention to nutrition while in training. There's no question that running burns up energy, and eating sugary and salty diets are just not going to give you the sort of competitive edge you'll need to do well on race day. I try to eat quite a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables while I'm in training, and I also load up on carbohydrates before a big workout date. Then, I have the energy I need to do my best.
About the Author: Mark Zajdek
lives in Baltimore and is currently in training for the 5k Race for Chesapeake Bay. In addition to running, Mark Zajdek also enjoys cycling.
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