One of the most grueling races in the world is to run a marathon. Anyone who wants to run a marathon needs proper preparation and training. It is said that when you join a marathon, you are not only competing with other marathon runners but you are competing primarily with yourself. When running a marathon, mental preparation is as important as physical conditioning. During the final kilometers of the run, sheer determination may be the only thing pushing you to finish the race.
Start Small to Run a Marathon
Keep in mind that a full marathon is a daunting 42.2 kilometers, or around 26 miles. If you have never run a marathon before, it’s advisable to start by joining short distance races such as a 5K run. After competing in a number of 5K races, you may want to join 10K runs. Be sure to train properly for these short distance races. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to run a half marathon (21 kilometers) and even a full marathon.
Running shorter distance races will allow you to gauge your level in running, as well as your endurance level. Once you are able to run shorter races easily and confidently, you can proceed to running marathons.
Physical Preparation Getting Ready For a Marathon
Running coaches advise against running a marathon unless you have been running consistently for about a year. Before joining a marathon, you should be training four to five days a week and averaging at least 25 miles per week. If you have not reached this level of running, choose a suitable training program that will bring you up to the proper level. Running a marathon without proper physical training will increase the risk of injury and/or not finishing the race.
Cross training and training can also help you complete a marathon. These workouts increase your energy and develop muscles that may be neglected if you focus on running alone.
Mental Preparation – Marathons are Long and Tough
There is a lot of mental work involved when you train for a marathon. You have to believe and know that you can do it. Training is not easy, nor is running a marathon. There are tricks you can do to mentally prepare for a marathon. You can try to imagine running effortlessly and visualize reaching the finish line. Some people find that it helps when they “talk” themselves into completing the race.
It also helps if you break the course into sections mentally. Instead of thinking of completing 42 kilometers, think of running 5 or 10 kilometers. After completing one section, think of running the next until you successfully run the full marathon.