Marathon's - Your Final Preparation
Training for a marathon is probably one of the hardest challenges anyone will voluntarily undertake in their lifetime. The impact that marathon training has on your lifestyle is massive. From the amount of physical time needed to train to the increased levels of fatigue in the early stages and even the change in your eating habits, you will be faced with making sacrifices at every turn. If you want to get to the start line in good shape and give it your best shot you will most lightly have been following a plan for the past few months where you will have received advice and tips like the ones listed below.
- Keep a training log.
- Run three to four days a week
- Increase weekly mileage by no more than 10%.
- Rest, and recover. Two days a week for rest and recovery.
- Alternate a hard day with an easy day or a day off.
- Monitor your resting heart rate
- Consider cross-training one or two days a week.
- Include a “cut back” week.
- When in doubt, always listen to your body.
The list above is all very relevant and is excellent advice. However, there are a couple of other top tips that I would like to add to the list for your consideration.
In my experience, most people tend to over train for the marathon. In other words, they do too much mileage, especially in the last 6 weeks of the traditional marathon plan. This can lead to fatigue, illness or injury.
So here are my top 3 training tips for the best way to arrive at the start line of the Dublin Marathon fresh and fit:
- Focus on improving your VO2 Max
Your VO2 Max is the optimum rate at which your heart, lungs, and muscles can all effectively use oxygen during exercise. It is used as a way of measuring a person's individual aerobic capacity.
The best way to improve your VO2 Max is to perform High-Intensity Interval Training Sessions. Many studies on HIIT training have successfully proven that the HIIT training method allows you to surpass your anaerobic threshold. This type of overload training causes your muscles including your heart and lungs to become stronger.
The key to training this way is that it requires far less time for a session and you will also be putting less mileage up on your body and joints.
Usually, runners become obsessed with lots of big mileage in the weeks leading up to the marathon but by adding just 1 HIIT session about every 5 days you will dramatically increase the efficiency and endurance capability of your lungs, heart and muscles. This will improve your fitness and put you in a much better place to run a marathon.
- Do weight sessions for your legs
Maintaining leg strength through lifting weights is key to training successfully for a marathon. You will need extra leg strength to get you over “the wall” and through the last 6 miles of every marathon race. Adding a weight session into your weekly training schedule at this stage will help you get through the marathon stronger and faster.
- Eat every 40 to 50 minutes during training runs and on race day.
You should always use training sessions to get used to the way you will perform during the actual marathon. I would advise you to stay away from the energy gels and move towards a protein source.
Make sure to take small bights and chew the food very well. I would also recommend you drink a small amount of water with every mouthful of food to help you avoid cramping and fatigue. Obviously you will need more water than food but it is important to eat and drink before you feel the need.
Keeping a steady supply of energy to your muscles is essential to peak performance and by eating and drinking small amounts regularly you will be able to fuel the body for optimum physical effort.