What you need to know before running a marathon
Running a marathon is a major accomplishment that requires hard work, dedication, and determination. It’s a challenging experience that can test you both mentally and physically, but the feeling of crossing the finish line is unlike anything else.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the good parts, the bad parts, and need-to-know information about running a marathon. Let’s get started!
The Bad Parts
Okay lets first talk about the elephant in the room, so we are done with this negative side. Nonetheless, it is important to think twice about training for a marathon since it is a huge commitment.
- Risk of injury: Running a marathon is a physically demanding activity, and the risk of injury is always present. Common injuries include stress fractures, muscle strains, and tendinitis. Therefore it is really important to listen to your body throughout the whole preparation and don’t ignore signals.
- Exhaustion: Running 26.2 miles is a grueling task that can leave you feeling exhausted both physically and mentally. You NEED to prepare well for this. If not, you are only going to torture yourself…
- Time commitment: Training for a marathon can be a significant time commitment, requiring you to dedicate several hours per week to running and cross-training. Be sure that your personal environment is okay with this (girl-boyfriend, family, kids, …)
- Mental fatigue: The mental challenge of running a marathon can be just as difficult as the physical challenge, and it’s common to experience mental fatigue during the trainings/ race. Communicate well with your close environment when you are experiencing this to avoid unnecessary arguments.
The Good parts
Now we have tackled all the ‘bad stuff’ that is related to running a marathon, lets look at the bright side of running one:
- Sense of accomplishment: Finishing a marathon is an incredible achievement that you can be proud of for the rest of your life. Did you know that only 0.01% of the global population has ever ran a marathon?
- Improved physical health: Training for a marathon can lead to weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, and increased endurance. Although running a marathon is not that healthy (I mean, the first man who ever ran this distance died afterwards…) training for one really does improve your overall health if you do it in a responsable way and you respect the signals of your body.
- Mental toughness: The discipline required to train for and complete a marathon can translate into other areas of your life, improving your mental fortitude and resilience. It also has helped me to learn to really dedicate myself to a particular goal and to improve my time management. If you do not handle your time well whilst training for a marathon, you will be in a runners burnout before you even get to the tough trianing weeks.
- Community: The running community is incredibly supportive and encouraging, and the experience of running a marathon can bring people together. At this point, I have ran 4 marathons and after every marathon I started chatting with other finishers or I received congratulations from random strangers. It really is an amazing experience.
So how do you get started then exactly? Lets break it down for you.
- Training: A proper training plan is essential for preparing your body and mind for the marathon. Be sure to gradually increase your mileage and incorporate cross-training and rest days into your plan.
- Hydration and nutrition: Proper hydration and nutrition are key to success during a marathon. Be sure to fuel your body with a balanced diet and stay hydrated before, during, and after the race. Also start testing gels, bars, carb mixes etc on time so you know what works for you and what doesn’t.
- Make a raceplan: It’s important to start the race at a sustainable pace, as going out too fast can lead to exhaustion and injury. Plan where you are going to eat, drink and really try to stick to that. Not only will it help you to fuel, it will also help you mentally since you will have some points to focus on.
- Mental preparation: Running a marathon requires mental toughness and a positive attitude. Visualizing success, breaking the race down into smaller sections (such as fuelling stations), and having supports can all help you stay mentally strong during the race.
- Don’t compare yourself: running a marathon is a HUGE achievement so don’t focus too much on your time (especially if it’s your first marathon).
In conclusion, running a marathon is a challenging but rewarding experience that requires hard work, dedication, and preparation. Understanding the good parts, the bad parts, and need-to-know information about running a marathon can help you better prepare for the experience and achieve your goals. If you feel like you could use some help with your marathon preparation, I am happy to do so.
Feel free to contact me so I can give you some more information or we can schedule an online meeting to discuss the possibilities of an online coaching traject.