How to prepare for marathon training

16th January 2017

Our physiotherapist Shane Carr has written a blog post with useful tips to help you prepare for marathon training:

Firstly, marathon training is tough. It’s estimated around 90% of those training for a marathon will sustain some form of injury/pathology during the preparation and training phase or the event itself. Many don’t make the start line let alone the finish the race.

So how do you best prepare for one of the hardest endurance events around?

The answer is careful planning and preparation. Having a structured plan can make the marathon training and the race itself much more enjoyable and rewarding.

So in order to address this I have compiled a top tips section to help you Prepare for marathon training:

  1. Set goals:  Firstly you have to ask yourself, what do I want to achieve with this marathon? Is it just to get round and conquer the 26.2 miles? Are you aiming for a PB? Raising money for charity? Before you can plan anything you need to know what you’re planning for. Your goals will affect every aspect of your training, especially your schedule.
  2. Pick a schedule: choosing your marathon training schedule may be one of the most important decisions in terms of injury risk and race performance. If you’re too optimistic you might face a rapid increase in mileage and an equally rapid trip to the physio! Set your bar too low and you may never reach that cherished PB. Deciding well in advance can make a huge difference. If possible work with a running coach to get an individually tailored approach. Be realistic about how much time you’ll have and make note of the initially weekly mileage because you’ll need to build your baseline up to that.
  3. Build a baseline: 2-3 months prior to your specific marathon training plan is a great timeframe to gradually build up your weekly mileage to a baseline that is close to where your marathon training will start. You’re in no rush so build up by around 10% per week with the main goal to be running comfortably. If things start to ache, drop back for a week or two.
  4. Deal with niggles: If you have a consistent niggle that doesn’t seem to want to go away but isn’t stopping you run now is the time to nip it in the bud! Marathon training has a way of turning niggles into a nightmare! See a physiotherapist, get it sorted and it’ll probably be gone before you lace up your shoes for that first marathon training run.
  5. Strengthen up: Strength and conditioning has many benefits for runners. Research suggests it can improve performance and reduce injury risk. Elite runners make S&C a big part of their programme to help the body cope with the huge training load. With a couple of months to go before training fully kicks in you have time to build up strength. You may want to go for a general approach and strengthen calf muscles, quads, glutes and hamstrings but for best results see a physio or health professional for a personalised programme.
  6. Plan your time: One of the hardest parts of marathon training can be juggling it with life in general. Demands of work, family life, relationships and other commitments don’t just stop for a bit while you go running! Most marathon runners will have heard an exasperated love one exclaim, “you’re running again?!” as you head out for another session. Now is a good time to work out how you’ll find the balance and where you might add in another run or two without impacting on everything else. Running to or from work can be great. Turn your commute into a training session. Early morning runs are useful too, you can be back before the other half wakes up! See if you can get your friends or family involved, they might be happy to run or cycle alongside you and stop you plodding the streets alone.
  7. Consider other races: having a couple of practice races prior to the big one helps you try out kit and experience a race if you haven’t before.

The key points are: gradually build up a baseline, incorporate a strengthening program into your program, think about your training schedule and deal with any injuries. Good luck!

 

Appointments with Shane can be made on:

  • Monday: 2.00 - 8.30pm
  • Tuesday & Thursday: 2.00 - 8.30pm                     
  • Wednesday & Friday: 8.00am - 2.00pm
  • Alternate Saturdays: 9.00am - 2.00pm

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