Marathons are held regularly in many cities across the US. Whether you’re planning on racing in a big-day event like a Turkey Trot or holiday run for charity, or your town is holding a fair or festival where a short race is held for a prize, you need to adequately prepare to ensure you’re ready for the stress that comes with it. This means both mentally and physically preparing for race day.
Initial Tips for New Runners
If you’re completely new to running, you may need some initial advice that an experienced runner already knows. Some of the best tips for new runners include making sure you have the right pair of shoes, breathable clothing, and a warm-up plan to get you started. Wear ill-fitting shoes, clothes that dampen quickly and weigh you down, and fail to warm up before running, and you won’t make it far into the race. A warm-up can be as simple as stretching out well and taking a short walk to get your blood pumping.
Start Training Ahead of Time
You shouldn’t just show up on race day with no training under your belt. You can, of course, but it may be difficult to make it through such a long race if you have had no training whatsoever. Practice makes perfect, after all, and practicing the run ahead of time can help you get a feel for the course and type of terrain it entails and shows you where you need to go.
Warming up and running around your own neighborhood or other areas you’re familiar with can help as well as you work to build your strength and develop the form and speed to do well come race day. Just remember, you’ll need to taper off your training length in the few weeks prior to the race. You shouldn’t be pushing yourself to capacity as the big day nears because your muscles need time to recover and be ready for the event.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep deprivation has some serious effects on the mind and body. At least on the night before race day, you need to be sure you get adequate sleep so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to run. If you don’t sleep well, you’ll most likely feel too fatigued and won’t have the energy to make it through the full race. In the weeks prior, you should also be doing what you can to get enough Zzz’s every night and keep your mind and body healthy and prepared for what’s to come.
Prolonged periods of little rest can make it hard to function normally, let alone attempt to run full speed to make it through an event like a marathon. You may also struggle with mental health. If your mind isn’t in the right state, it can be easy to think negatively about how you’ll do. Think you’ll perform poorly, and you most likely will. Sleep well and think positive thoughts to put your best foot forward.
Hydration is key in ensuring you make it through your race. You need to be drinking a lot of water in the week leading up to the event. It will help keep your joints and muscles lubricated and ready to work. On the day of, you should have a healthy breakfast and drink up to 16 ounces of water an hour or two before start time. Be sure to have water ready for once it’s over as well, as you’ll need to replenish the fluids you lost to help you recover easier.
Running in a marathon, whether you’re doing it for fun or money, needs careful preparation. A long run that a marathon requires can be extremely hard on your body, particularly if you have not trained for it. With these tips in mind, you should have a far better chance at winning—or at least having a great time.