You began by walking, progressed to jogging and now you can comfortably run 10k, and have your sights set on running a marathon. It’s really not as daunting as it first appears. All it requires is a good training programme; good nutrition and staying motivated and focused on your goal.
SAFETY AND INJURY PREVENTION
One of the most important factors when running is to ensure your physical safety and prevent running injuries. Buy a good pair of running shoes and if you feel really comfortable in them after a couple of runs, then go and buy at least one more pair. You can then alternate between pairs; that means you won’t have to break in another pair of shoes just before you run your first marathon and you will always have a dry pair to put on. Clothing must be comfortable and designed to wick away moisture from your body. Always wear a reflective running vest or a reflective belt so that you stand out in conditions of poor visibility. Ensure that you stretch before and after your run and make sure you have rest days in between training runs – this will help minimise the various injuries which runners incur.
NUTRITION AND HYDRATION
There is so much information out there on eating correctly when exercising. Most programmes emphasise that 65% of your food intake should come from good quality carbohydrates such as pasta, brown rice, potatoes, cereals and vegetables to name but a few. Protein should make up 10% of your daily food intake; for example, eat lean meat, chicken, tofu, eggs, cheese and pulses. The remaining 25% of your food should come from unsaturated fats obtained from nuts, avocados, fish, vegetable oils and seeds. Perhaps take a good multivitamin tablet, to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients you require. Stay sufficiently hydrated before, during, and after each run. Make sure you drink water or a sports drink before you start your training run. It is advisable to consume around 200ml to 250ml (6oz to 8oz) of water for every twenty minutes of running.
Keep motivated. Visualise yourself crossing that finishing line. Use affirmations to programme your mind into believing that you will complete your first marathon and enjoy every minute of it and keep all thoughts of failure out of your mind.
There are many training programmes to help you achieve your goal depending on your level of fitness. Some are intense 10 week programmes but most last anywhere from 4 months to 12 months, so the choice is yours.