June 28, 2013

10 Tips for Successfully Training for a Marathon

You did it! Congratulations. You went online and registered for the race.

You got this!
Training is all about being methodical, organized, and following the guidelines and packet. Once your routine is established, you'll be well on your way to creating a memory -- and an accomplishment -- that you'll carry with you for the rest of your life.

Whether it's a marathon or a half marathon, consider the following preparation tips to keep you on track:

1. Choose a reputable race organization.
Check out their online reputation and what other runners have to say about the support, information, route, race day organization, parking, and volunteer effort.

2. Attain a training packet.
Check in with the marathon organization, or find one that best fits you. This is really important. As the old adage goes: If you fail to plan, you’re planning on failing. Don’t let that be daunting; a training plan is as important as having the right training shoes.

Good reminders for the marathoner -- and for everyone else, as well!

3. Go for a good sneaker fitting.
This is no jog to the park! This is the big time, and your shoes need to fit the occasion.
4. Train outside as often as you can.

You’ll be outside on race day, and the varying weather, inclines, declines, and air will help you to prepare.

5. Cross train.
Mix up your runs with some swimming, yoga, and Pilates. It's fine to cross train with some other machines at the gym, too, but be kind to your body. You’re really pushing yourself to your limits, and the benefits of low-impact activities listed here will have your body saying, "ahhh..." and you'll need that.

6. Track your success.
Journal your daily routine, and watch your numbers, times, and emotions change. You'll be glad you did.

7. Check in with your doctor.
Is it time for an extra calcium supplement? Your bones are going to be taking a bit of a hit for a few months; if nothing else, be sure to drink some extra milk or to eat some slices of fresh Parmesan cheese.

Early morning jogs are the best. This is your time.

8. Train in the morning.
For all sorts of reasons, this is a great suggestion. The race will start early in the morning, but by banking some miles before it gets too hot, you'll also be avoiding a lot of pollution and smog that settles in by mid-morning. Get outta bed and go!

9. Consider investing in a good training watch and heart monitor.
It's fascinating to watch your numbers change as you get into even better shape, and these numbers will also help you to make sure you're not in any danger zones, either. It's a win-win.

10. Team up!
You'll enjoy this process if you train with someone else -- or even a great group. You don't have to do every run together unless you want to, but knowing that you have someone to check in with will really help to motivate you on the days that you might not feel like going the distance.

At any age, setting this goal is such a great accomplishment, and it's also a great example to set for those who love you the most. Congratulations on your decision to meet this goal! Good luck!

Valerie J. Wilson is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about business, education, and health and wellness.

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