Maximize your Marathon Training

February 9th, 2015

runners

Are you or someone you know training for a marathon?

With the Boston Marathon just around the corner we're getting a lot of questions about the best way to train for the big event. Given our own experience with running, marathon training and fitness, in general, here are our marathon training tips!

Cross-train. Engage in an exercise other than running on your "rest" or "off" days. A total body work out such a Pilates, yoga, or rowing is best. You're using all the muscles and more as you do with running, but in a different way and this will increase your chances of preventing burn-out or muscle over-use.

Warm up with a ten minute walk before you begin your run and end with a cool down. Gentle whole body stretching after your run with a focus on feet, ankles, legs, and hips is key.

Eat well. Nutritional needs vary from one person to the next, but in general, eat fresh, whole foods (limit processed foods), good fat (such as avocados and fish oils), quality protein (grass fed- meats or raw nuts), and reduce or eliminate your intake of alcoholic beverages.

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Drink enough water. Again, each person's needs are unique, so take the time to figure out what the right level is for you. A good indicator of proper hydration is urine color; it should be light yellow. Remember that vitamin supplements and certain medications can darken urine.

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Get enough rest. It's during sleep that your muscles are repairing themselves so be sure to make sleep just as important as your diet and exercise.

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Restore with massage and baths. That was my favorite part of marathon training- the weekly massages and frequent post run soaks in the tub. Both assist with overall rejuvenation. I added therapeutic salts to the bathwater. I love the salts from Saltworks.

Treat injuries right away. Therapy will depend on the severity of the injury, but whatever it is don't let pride get in the way of admitting some part of your body is in pain and needs attention. Pain is a signal to stop doing whatever created the discomfort and allow for healing. Injuries make your body more vulnerable and susceptible to greater damage and they decrease your strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Be flexible in your overall approach. Keep your personal goals in mind when you need the extra motivation to get up and run, but know when it might be better to delay your outing for a few hours so that you can tend to something else that might need your attention. Have the mind-set of marathon training and competition serving as something that enhances your well-being. Challenge yourself just enough to grow and resist the urge to plow through extreme pain or discomfort- that way, you'll feel better and get more enjoyment out of the experience!

As always, contact us with any of your exercise, fitness, and wellness questions! And happy running!