The preparation process for a marathon is crucial for your performance and for minimising risk of injury. Here are some key tips for you:
1. Start Slowly
It is important for everybody to start slow. Beginning with walks/jogs are ideal to improve fitness. Once you are able to jog comfortably for 30 minutes you are ready to progress.
2. Set Goals
By setting both short and long term goals you will make the process more exciting, and you will certainly progress with less risk of injury through over-training.
Eg. Run 1 mile without stopping/Run 40 minutes at the same pace.
Each goal you reach will prepare you for your next challenge, progressing you towards your optimal performance.
3. Increase Mileage Slowly
Increasing your mileage slowly will prepare your muscles for the entire process, reducing risk of over-training and injury. Many running injuries are caused by overuse – this is how we prevent it.
4. Warm Up
It is really important that both your cardiovascular and skeletal muscular systems are prepared for the demands of your training session. A pre-training warm up is critical for injury prevention.
The demand that marathon training puts on our muscles is incredible. This means that muscles are prone to tightening, stiffening and spasm, most likely in the legs. This increases risk of muscle pulls and strains, which we definitely want to avoid. In order to do so it is important for all runners to stretch daily.
6. Resistance Training
A lot of marathon runners may think that running is the only type of training they need to do. Think again – resistance training is really important too. Resistance training aims at strengthening the muscles, which improves running performance. It also improves muscle activation which enables stability. This will improve your running technique and your performance. It has been recommended that resistance training takes place 1-2 times per week.
7. Specific Core Muscle Strengthening
Resistance training is not the only type of strengthening that a runner requires. The little muscles that we forget about, that control our posture and pelvic stability, must be strengthened too. By improving posture and pelvic stability you improve your running technique. These muscles require a basic but very specific strengthening program and is absolutely vital for injury prevention and marathon success.
8. The Right Footwear
Using the right footwear throughout the entire process is a must. Having the right footwear for your type of foot and your particular running gait will help to prevent injury and make your training more comfortable.
9. Keep Hydrated
One must not forget the amount of fluid that is lost through perspiration during workouts. Intense training regimens like that when preparing for a marathon means that perspiration increases and more fluids are lost. Dehydration will lead to dizziness, nausea, fatigue and weakness, and thus reduce performance.
10. Protein Intake
Our muscles need fuel in order to perform. Protein does not only provide this fuel to our hard working muscles, it also helps to repair muscle damage that may be caused by intense training. Eat lean protein daily.
11. Sports Massage
Along with your stretching program, it may be necessary for you to treat yourself to a sports massage. This will help to drain toxin build up in the muscles and therefore reduce injury risk and improve performance.
12. Seek Professional Guidance
If you feel a slight niggle, pain or discomfort don’t ignore it. Seeking professional advice at this early stage is essential. A little niggle may turn into a marathon threatening problem, so make sure you get it seen to straight away.
If you have any questions or require injury or technical assessment you can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.