5 Ways To Make Marathon Training A Success
As marathon season approaches, those of you running Spring marathons will be doing your longest runs. Here’s how to get the most from these final weeks.
Your training programme up until now will have been dictated by a number of things: your initial fitness levels, your injury background and health and of course your personal goals for the marathon. Do you just want to get round? Are you after a PB? Do you want a course record or to be in the top 10 female finishers? Every single runner on that marathon start line has a different reason for being there. What’s yours?
Avoid Injury In The Final Weeks Of Marathon Training
The biggest single risk factor for injury during marathon training is too much volume. Over-training (or “under-recovering”) leaves you open to excessive fatigue and niggles which will impact your enjoyment of the race itself. Make sure your training load from now until race day is appropriate to your goals. Look at your mileage, the pace and frequency of your running sessions, and your recovery strategies.
Look After Your Joint Health
Did you have any joint or tendon trouble before you started training? Did any occur during your marathon training? Paying attention to niggles is easier said than done. You’re focused on your marathon, you want to run, you want to give it your all and you don’t want to let down supporters and sponsors. Try to look at any injuries with a cool head. If you’ve been suffering with shin splints, sore knees or any foot injuries, get it looked at now, and heed the advice of the physiotherapist.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Of course, it’s best to not get injured at all. There’s plenty you can do to minimise the chances of picking up niggles and aches in these final few weeks of marathon training:
– Check your trainers for wear and tear. If they need replacing, do it now, so you can get some miles in the new shoes before race day
– Go to a running shop with specialist staff who can assess your gait and footfall. Tell them you’re running a marathon and they will make sure your shoes give the right amount of cushioning and support
– Don’t neglect stretching and mobility. It can be the last thing you want to do when you’re tired and sore from marathon training, but the more flexible you are, the better your running technique will be. You’ll have the ability to stay lighter on your feet, even in the final miles when your limbs feel heavy.
– Choose your running surfaces: in these final few weeks, don’t tempt fate. Stick to soft surfaces when you can, don’t run anywhere with underfoot hazards, and don’t take any risks.
Recovery doesn’t have to be about lying around doing nothing (although that has its benefits too). If you feel twitchy about “doing nothing”, then think about recovery as a proactive part of your marathon training. Try adding in these techniques to help you recover from training. These exercises will keep you flexible and strengthen your core, helping your body stay in healthy alignment when you run:
– light strength training
– foam rolling
– trigger point massage
– specific flexibility sessions
– gentle cycling or swimming
The hard work is done. Your body now needs to recover so you can stand on that start line strong, fresh and focused. Get some early nights in the final few weeks of marathon training. Try to see them as treats rather than enforced rest. Your body deserve this.