When Eliud Kipchoge broke the World Marathon Record, he did it using Nike’s Zoom Vaporfly 4% running shoe. Some may attribute his world record time to his shoes, which as the name suggests, provides a 4% improvement in running economy over previous Nike running shoes.
However, preparing for a marathon and succeeding has much more to do with your mind and body than with the equipment you use. Equipment should merely serve as a means to an end rather than as the focal point for any sport. In other words, your success shouldn’t hinge on your running shoes.
That’s why in this article, you’ll be learning about how you can train for a marathon like a champ. You may not finish in first (or second) place but, as we’ll see, you’ll find that success is about achieving your personal goals.
Train for a Marathon
Stretching comes first. You’ve probably heard that stretching is important before performing just about any physical activity. But does stretching really make a difference?
The reality is that stretching before your marathon can make the difference between finishing the marathon or not. Stretching is especially crucial as it can help you improve your personal best times and help avoid an undesirable running injury.
Common running injuries include lower back strain, runner’s knee, stress fractures, lower leg injuries, shin splints, ankle sprain, hamstring strain, calf strain, and Achilles tendinitis, among others. With such a staggering amount of potential running injuries, it’s good to know which stretches to focus on.
Kneeling Hip and Quad Stretches are beneficial as they help prevent hip and quad injuries. These stretches are great for warming up your entire lower body.
Standing Calf Stretches are especially crucial to any runner. Calves should be focused on when warming up as poor calf stretching can lead to soreness and injury.
Iliotibial Band Stretches are overlooked and are a largely unknown stretch group. Your iliotibial band (ITB) runs on the outside of your thigh between your hip and shin. New runners are especially prone to this injury.
While there are many more stretches that you can do before running, make sure to focus on these stretches in particular. Stretching routines can be found for free online and YouTube also has video tutorials on how to perform stretches. The Stretching Institue is a great place to start if you’re for information on running stretches.
Planning is Key
Planning is the key, however, if you’d like to reach your goal of finishing within a certain time. A personal trainer can help you keep accountability while working with your needs and meeting your fitness level at wherever stage it may be. Online training programs can also help you build a structure or plan to stick to while training.
Pacing yourself and maintaining your conditioning are crucial for finishing strong. Run a test mile or a 5k to gauge where your mile times are at. You’ll get a good sense of where you are at and you’ll be able to have a clearer view of where you’d like to be at when the marathon comes around.
If it’s the last minute or you missed significant training time due to injury, illness, or other unforeseen events, then postponing may be an option. Otherwise, admit to yourself that your goal time will be hard to achieve and focus on your comfort during the marathon.
Just Do It
Nike’s famous tagline is what it is for a reason. Step outside your comfort zone and push your limits. You’ll be glad you did once you train for a marathon and cross the finish line.