Top Tips For Marathon Success
There’s more to running a marathon than logging the miles. Here are our secret tips for marathon success.
Train Mind As Well As Muscle
The importance of training your brain and emotions can’t be overlooked. Spend time during your marathon training to work on a healthy, positive mindset. This unseen strength will not only keep you going through tough training but will help you set realistic goals and deal with the outcome, whether you smash your marathon PB or fall well short of your goals. Remember why you run: for fun, for health, because you love it. And remember that it’s all just one part of your rich, wonderful life.
Even if your marathon is going to be pancake flat, don’t neglect hill training. Hillier routes, hill reps and even hill walking will all help build muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness and mental fortitude – all key for marathon success.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking marathon training only demands long, one-pace training runs. For a successful marathon race day, include one or two intervals sessions (track sessions, fartlek, hill reps, intervals on the road, or short races) a week during training, to keep your pace high and give you the ability to kick up the speed if you need to.
Don’t neglect your water intake, but make sure you’re using an electrolyte supplement (we’ve reviewed a few on the site) to replace essential minerals including potassium and magnesium. All are crucial not only to your training, and your performance on marathon race day, but to your recovery too.
Learn To Pace Yourself
Plenty of training, and shorter races in the build-up to your marathon, will help you develop the ability to pace yourself. Pacing is critical to making it through a marathon successfully. Don’t shoot off from the startline, no matter how excited (or nervous) you feel, how motivating your running playlist is, or how competitive you feel towards the woman with the great legs next to you. Run your own race and stick to your own plan.
What’s Your Goal?
Talking of plans… once you’ve come up with (a realistic) marathon goal pace, break it down into “splits”. Every 5kms is common, although you might want to also identify the half-way (13.1 mile) split, too. On race day, write the splits clearly on a wrist band (some people even write them on their arm!) so you can keep an eye on your targets throughout the race.