Completing a marathon is a momentous achievement that will very likely leave you proud of your fitness levels and abilities. However, you should never head into your first run unprepared.
We have set out this guide so that you can set the time you feel comfortable with on your first marathon, without any trouble along the way.
Know your target time
It is always nice to have a dream, but to run a marathon in 02:03:23 if you’re a man – Wilson Kipsang’s world record time – and 02:15:25 if you’re a woman – the time Paula Radcliffe set in London in 2003 – are both very unrealistic targets.
Take a few moments to work out the fastest time you think you’ll be able to complete a marathon without causing yourself stress or physical harm. You should consider how much you exercise currently and whether you’re accustomed to running for miles or just for sprints when determining your target.
Start your training early
You are setting yourself up for a fall if you think you can just train a few weeks before running your first marathon.
The training sessions should begin a few months prior to the big day and see you running for gradually increasing distances up to five days a week.
Don’t feel that you need to jog for 20 miles straight on your first day of training either. Instead, start with something like a ten-mile run and then increase the distance by around ten per cent every week. That way, your body should begin to easily adjust to the rigorous exercise.
Remember to rest
While plenty of training is important when preparing for your first marathon, resting is just as vital. This is because your muscles will need time to recover from all the stress that you are putting on them by running for miles at a time.
Plan out your fitness regime and make sure you mark at least two days of rest per week. On these days, you should avoid doing any workouts – this includes everything from sit-ups and press-ups, to competing in another sport.
Your body will feel all the better for it.
Buy adequate clothing
Do you find that your current jogging shirt and shorts chafe against your body after you have been running for a few miles? Just imagine having to carry that pain for the best part of 20 miles; that target time you set yourself earlier will quickly fly out of the window.
Shop for specialist marathon clothing to keep yourself as comfortable as possible as you rack up the miles, such as the huge range at ActivInstinct. Their triathlon shortsare particularly appealing, as they are constructed using state-of-the-art material technology that help you to maintain peak performance from the start line all the way through to the finish.
Remember to pack some warm clothing too. This will prevent your muscles from becoming cold and stiff before the marathon and ensure you fly off the start line with the best possible chance of achieving your targets.
Thanks for reading and good luck!