How To Prepare For Your First Marathon | Stephen Coleclough
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How To Prepare For Your First Marathon

How To Prepare For Your First Marathon

Signing up to run a marathon seems like a great idea when you do it but shortly afterwards, a slight sense of panic might set in.

You start to worry about not being able to finish or picking up an injury.

But the fact is, the best way to run your first marathon is to prepare for it properly and here are some tips to help you do just that.

Get the right training plan

Without a doubt, the most important part of the process is getting the right training plan in place.

Every runner of every level will tell you that the right training plan is key to their success, from Olympic athletes to casual fun runners.

Don’t fall into the trap of taking up a training plan created by someone else – make sure your plan is all about you.

The aim of a training plan is to slowly build yourself up to reach the level that you will need for the race day.

This means preparing yourself physically and mentally for the marathon and needs some time to complete.

If you rush your plan or don’t leave yourself enough time, there is a chance that you will injure yourself or not complete the marathon.

Food planning

Preparing for a marathon is about more than just running miles to build yourself up.

Alongside your running plan, you also need to have a food plan to help your body meet the needs you are placing on it.

Eat too much and you will need to stop during the run for the bathroom while eating too little and you won’t have the energy you need.

Pre-running meals should take place around three to four hours before the run if you are running for 60 minutes or more.

Go for high-carb, low fibre meals.

Alternatively, if you are running in the morning, eat around 50 grams of carbs around one hour before your workout.

During the run, make sure you keep your blood sugar and energy levels up when you are running for an hour of more.

Most experts say to consume around 30-60 grams of carbs per hour of exercise, spread out over a time span that works for you.

Sports drinks are a useful tactic to include alongside energy gels or chews.

After the run, make sure you mix carbs and protein in the 30-60 minute window after the run.

This helps your body recover from the exertions and to repair the microscopic damage to tissues that exercise creates.

For sub-1 hour runs, look at a small snack but something bigger if you ran for an hour or more.

Staying motivated

Alongside a training plan and a food schedule, you also need to find ways to keep yourself motivated.

The idea of a marathon can be exciting but the day to day preparation can become a little boring.

Find a strategy that helps you stay motivated and use it – a mantra, visualisation or reframing negative thoughts are all ideas that people use.

Also, have a training partner if possible as you can spur each other on to your goals.

Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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