Written by Elise Franks | Brigham Young University Exercise and Wellness
Running a marathon or half-marathon for the first time can be a daunting task—especially when you start researching the plethora of training techniques that are out there. But if you just keep these 5 easy keys in mind, you will be on your way to success!
The most important thing is to set a schedule and stick to it. A typical training schedule requires about 16 weeks, so start training early so that you will have the appropriate time to accomplish everything you want to. Half marathons and marathons alike require months of training if they are to be approached in a safe manner. You won’t produce any results without putting in the appropriate effort, and you need a plan for how you will put that effort in. It may even help to get a friend or relative on board who will help hold you accountable to that schedule!
According to Active.com, gratitude, humility, faith, and patience are just a few traits that will help keep you on the path to a successful marathon/half-marathon. A positive attitude is key. View trials that may arise as moments of growth instead of moments of hardship. View training as time for self-improvement instead of moments of exhaustion. If you keep a positive attitude, the whole marathon/half-marathon experience will be so much more enjoyable.
Don’t push yourself harder or further than you are able. There are plenty of training schedules offered, and it is important to find one or create your own that starts at a point that you are able to handle without injury. It is also important to remember that running is not the only form of exercise you should be doing to prepare for your race. Marathon Training Academy emphasizes, “Even elite runners take the time to incorporate cross training into their schedules.”
What you’re wearing really can affect how you perform. Wear shoes that you are comfortable in and that you have experience running in. Make sure you’re not just throwing on any old t-shirt and shorts—you need breathable fabric and clothes that won’t irritate your skin when you start sweating and moving.
Marathonguide.com emphasizes that “marathon runners and athletes in general should eat a diet high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat.” Whole grains are the best source for carbohydrates, while vegetables and fruits are also a healthy, easy option to attain the level of carbs needed. Nuts, beans, fish, and lean meat are the healthiest option when it comes to foods high in protein. Last but not least, water is crucial!
If this is your first marathon/half-marathon, it’s important to remember that the real success is in the completion of the race! That is where the triumph is found—being active, in-shape, and keeping your body moving.