Do you want to run your first marathon and do you start running with full enthusiasm? But be careful – so that you can reach the 42,195 kilometers successfully and without pain, you should pay attention to a few important things. In this blog post you will find 5 tips on how you can properly prepare yourself as a beginner for a marathon!
Run a marathon – you should meet these requirements
There is much more to a marathon run than the famous 42.195 kilometers on day X.
The most important thing in preparing for a marathon is first and foremost patience and diligence in training!
The cardiovascular system and the muscles of a healthy person can get used to the steadily increasing stress of running training relatively quickly, but the passive musculoskeletal system (bones, cartilage, tendons) cannot.
Further requirements that you have to meet before you consider participating in a marathon are:
- You should be absolutely healthy
- normal weight, no overweight
- at least 1-2 years of running experience
- Enough time for regular training lasting several hours, lots of sleep and personal hygiene
5 tips on how to optimally prepare for a marathon
Tip 1 – The right training equipment
Before you start marathon training, you should think about the right marathon equipment. More precisely, to the right sportswear and the necessary training accessories.
The heart of this is of course the running shoe. Feet are as individual as the fingerprint, so everyone has to find the right marathon shoes for themselves. Basically, however, always “break in” the shoe at least 2 months in advance and never start with new running shoes !
For the top, running shorts, as well as underwear and headgear there is special functional clothing that is tight-fitting, but at the same time breathable and water-permeable. It makes sense to invest a little more money here, as high-quality functional clothing quickly wicks away sweat and keeps the body dry and cool.
So-called sports watches or smartwatches are particularly popular for running training. So you always have your training data clearly on your wrist and your progress can also be tracked very well. Sports watches are also the perfect training accessory for pulse monitoring and as a music source for Bluetooth headphones.
I can recommend the Fitbit Versa 2 Smartwatch or the Vantage M sports watch from Polar.
A running belt is also practical. It serves as a bum bag for storing smartphones, drinking bottles, salt tablets and / or gels. Don’t forget a sweatband and sunscreen when it’s hot!
Tip 2 – The right marathon training plan
In preparation for a marathon, the long and slow endurance run is the most important training tool in the area of basic endurance.
If you meet the marathon requirements mentioned above, you should start intensively with the marathon training at least 4 months before day X. It’s best to divide the 4 months into 4 × 4 weeks, your training plan could look like this:
In the first two weeks you start with 2 runs per week for 30-40 minutes each. In weeks 3 and 4 you add a third running workout. You try to increase the 40 minutes per workout by 10 minutes until you have reached 80 minutes.
By week 5 at the latest, you should be able to run for 80 minutes at a time. Once you get there, you focus less on time – now distance becomes more important. Start with 15 kilometers and increase the distance every 1-2 training units by 1 kilometer. This should definitely make you 20 kilometers in week 8.
From week 9 you can add another training unit, i.e. a maximum of 4 running training units per week. Try to increase the distance to 25 kilometers regularly over the next 4 weeks. You can also integrate interval training while running. That means, for example, you run for 5 minutes quickly and immediately afterwards for 2 minutes at a walking pace. Repeat 6 times per training session.
The day of the competition is coming into view. In week 13 or 14 you can try to run 35 kilometers once. Then you reduce the training. The last two weeks before the marathon you should only complete light training units and focus on the full regeneration of your body. 3 days before day X you can go running for another hour to activate your body. Then it’s time to rest until the marathon!
Tip 3 – Recovery, sleep and regeneration
A very important topic is regeneration in the right marathon preparation! If you train a lot, you have to give your body just as much rest and pay attention to its regeneration. This includes a healthy and balanced diet , as well as at least 8 hours of sleep a day .
Here you will find tips for a healthy diet . For a better sleep, this blog post can help .
If you train hard but do not pay attention to enough regeneration, you run the risk of catching an injury quickly very quickly. Such joint, cartilage or ligament pain can then very quickly lead to the training being stopped and to a forced break for weeks.
The success of a marathon runner doesn’t depend on much Training, but is a total package consisting of a healthy diet, properly dosed training and enough restful sleep!
Tip 4 – How to avoid sore parts of the body
Everyone has their own sensitive areas of skin on their body that chafe quickly during running training. Here it helps these areas with Vaseline or special sports ointments before training .
If you get irritated skin areas despite applying cream, you can get special sports plasters for these areas. wounds that are already open can also be masked with plasters or a bandage.
Also tight-fitting functional clothing made of synthetic fibers, reduces the risk of chafed skin. Women should always wear a sports bra here.
Tip 5 – Additional strength training?
Many endurance athletes ask themselves whether they should also integrate muscle training in the area of equipment and / or dumbbell training into their training plan?
My opinion on this is very clearly yes , because the advantages are obvious: Muscular leg and trunk muscles support not only the entire musculoskeletal system and ensures efficient progress while running, it also protects the joints from injuries and overload.
So if you can find the necessary time, I recommend doing weight training with a focus on the leg muscles at least 1-2 times a week when preparing for the marathon.
TIP: 5 more reasons why you should definitely train your leg muscles with weights, you can find out in this blog post !
Running a marathon for the first time is a great achievement, especially as a beginner. Proper preparation for the marathon run is crucial in order to achieve this goal and not experience disappointment.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to start running SLOWLY. Many beginners find this very difficult, but it is extremely important! Full of motivation, training is usually too long and too frequent at the beginning. The overloading then quickly results in pain in the joints, ligaments and tendons.
So if you approach the marathon preparation with your head and wits and you follow the above tips , then nothing will stand in the way of your great sense of achievement!