If you are planning on taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon or the Liverpool Rock and Roll Marathon to raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Charity, or you have another 26.2 mile run for charity on the horizon, we have some handy marathon training tips to get you well on your way. Despite the obvious pointers, such as giving yourself a minimum of 12 weeks to train, here are Alder Hey’s top 5 marathon training tips to get you ready for your race:
- Invest in good running shoes and socks
Get yourself down to a specialist running-shoe shop and invest in the best running shoes and socks to suit your feet. Professionals will be able to advise you on the best options for you personally, based on the shape of your feet and the distances you intend on running.
- Build your fitness up slowly
It may sound obvious, but don’t overdo it – building up your fitness and stamina gradually is always the best approach for marathon runners, particularly in terms of avoiding injuries. For example, start off with a few short-distance 3-mile runs, and after a couple of weeks, when you’re used to this distance, increase it to 6 miles. When you become comfortable running 6 miles, increase it to 9 miles, and so on. As soon as you become at ease with a distance, ensure you increase it slightly in order to build up your stamina throughout your training schedule.
- Embrace the marathon diet
Do your research into the best marathon training diets; the most important thing to remember is to maintain your strength, meaning protein is key. Eat small, protein-rich meals every 3-4 hours to keep energy up and your metabolism at its peak. The night before a long race, ensure you consume a reasonable amount of carbohydrates – such as pasta – to fuel your journey. Don’t forget to drink a minimum of 2 litres of water every day, too – staying hydrated is absolutely essential when training for a marathon.
- Tackle hill training
Typically used in sprinters’ training, hill sprints are not for the faint hearted. If you are becoming complacent towards the end of your training programme and feel used to running long distances, making things slightly more difficult for yourself will only improve your stamina. Give hill training a go – short, high-speed interval sprints on an incline. Slow jogs in between each sprint give you time to catch your breath before the next one; do as many as you can manage, followed by a flat-surface run to finish.
- Sleep, stretching and ice baths
Just before you are due to run your marathon, it is vital that you do all you can to avoid injury. Get a minimum of 8 hours’ sleep every night, and brace yourself for an ice bath after every long run leading up to the event. Avoid massages in the lead up to your race, and instead make sure you stretch sufficiently every day – invest in a foam roller to help speed up muscle repair.
Do you have any marathon training tips to add to our list? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter! Alternatively, browse our upcoming events if you are interested in raising money for Alder Hey Children’s Charity.
*Disclaimer: please seek medical advice before starting any kind of intensive training or exercise plan.