Running a marathon is not only a physically taxing endeavor but also a long and challenging mind game. You need to go through a lot of preparation and sacrifices before you can get to the starting line.
But as what any marathon finisher will tell you, you don’t have to be a professional runner to run and finish a marathon; all you need is a lot of determination, hard work and consistency throughout your training.
That said, here are five of the best marathon tips you can follow to improve your skills on the road:
- Develop the Right Mindset, Attitude and Commitment
A marathon is not a joke – it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. If you are not fully committed to it, then chances are you will easily give up once you get a taste of the pain and sacrifices that come with the preparation and training.
- Set Attainable Goals
It is important to know your own capability and how hard you can push yourself. Never set a goal that you cannot achieve. For example, you should not aim to finish in under 5 hours if right now you have only completed a half marathon with a time of 3 hours. One must understand that running a marathon is an extreme sport – it is a very challenging activity in so many levels and many are not even able to get to the finish line.
Judge your own performance by your past race results. From there you will know how long you can push and improve yourself in the next race. Also, your improvement should be based on your recent training and workouts.
- Prioritize Your Workouts
Workouts are the training ground to prepare your mind and body for the big day. If you are not consistent in working out, then it would be unwise to join the race. Intense workouts will train your body to gain speed and endurance for the marathon. Without proper training, it would be impossible to finish a 42km run. You may be able to but you risk injury or harm to your body.
There are plenty of workouts that can help you increase your stamina, endurance, speed, and strength for the marathon race. Most runners believe a long, hard run is the best workout especially if you are preparing for a marathon.
- Follow Your Gut Feel
How? Since a marathon is an extreme sport, sometimes your brain cannot comprehend what lies ahead. Long-time runners recommend that you should pay attention to your running pace on the first 21 kilometers, and after you have passed it then you can run by gut feel.
A marathon is not only a technical sport; you also need to use your instincts and experience to race smartly. Do not run slower in the last miles, do not run fast at the start.
- Study Your Route
Most of the time, a marathon route is not flat. In some areas you need to go uphill and that is when your energy, endurance and speed are tested. You need to learn to distribute your energy properly throughout these obstacles; you should know when to exert more effort and when to relax a little especially when running uphill and downhill.
Studying the route in advance can give you an advantage because you would already know what to expect. For example, the Boston Marathon has quite a challenging route because the first 21 kilometers is a downhill run while the second half is uphill which makes it very difficult since the second half will consume half of your energy and yet you still need to expand and push yourself when running uphill.
Consider all these tips when preparing for your marathon. Most importantly, savor the experience and learn as much as you can from it. Joining a marathon in itself is already an achievement since you have worked so hard to prepare for it. Be proud of yourself, especially if you are doing it for a cause.
Stay focused on your goals, meet new friends, support others and have fun!