Everybody should try to run a marathon, but with this type of race, simply participating is not enough. Of course, only the fittest can think about actually winning the marathon, but finishing your first one will prove to be an extremely rewarding experience. Without further ado, here’s how to get ready to run and finish your first marathon.
Take it slowly
You aren’t competing against anyone during the preparations, so take things slowly in order to avoid any unwanted consequences or injuries. Start small – make sure that your initial training sessions are characterized by a little push and a lot of focus on technique. Gradually, you will increase your tempo and distance, but for now, you need to take control of your physical and spiritual being. Although you’ll have to beat your body into submission, your mind will take a different kind of persuasion – instead of thinking about the set distance that you need to cover, focus on the moment – on where you are, rather than on where you’re going. Once you’ve obtained control in this department, you can begin increasing the mileage gradually.
Focus on your technique
We’ve already mentioned just how important focusing on your technique is, but without explaining what to actually focus on. Of course, you won’t be able to do too much when it comes to your actual running technique – this part is pretty much set in stone. However, learning how to breathe properly is vital for progress. The first and foremost rule of breathing while running is this: do not let your pace dictate your breathing, or the other way around – learn how to channel communication between the two. The easiest way to achieve this is by running at different tempos and concentrating on stable breathing – we could suggest running to a metronome, but using your favorite tunes (as long as the tracks don’t go through tempo changes individually) is an excellent exercise – both for learning how to focus past the distractions and for practicing your breathing technique. We suggest you come up with the right BPM for your running playlist.
Marathon running is definitely not something you can prepare for without proper equipment by your side – for one, quality running shoes will not only help you perform better, but will dampen the damaging effects of concrete on your knees, which is every runner’s worst nightmare.
Additionally, opting for quality gym clothes always beats running in your old shirt. In addition to being more efficient in soaking in all the sweat and making sure that the cold wind isn’t drafting all over your body, specifically-designed slim-fit clothing will make you feel more prepared.
Run with other people
Running a marathon distance by yourself and with a bunch of people around you is in no way the same thing, both in literal and subconscious terms. For one, as a lone runner, you get to move around wherever you want, as long as you don’t end up on a busy street or hit a wall, but during an actual marathon, you’ll be surrounded by a bunch of people and you’ll have to learn how to deal with them.
Secondly, speaking in psychological terms, being surrounded by other people will not only make you feel nervous and/or anxious, but also confuse you in terms of your tempo, which can take up a lot of your energy.
This is why finding a running pack or calling up a couple of your buddies to run by your side is so important – it will prepare you for the real deal.
Getting ready for your first marathon is in no way about winning (you simply won’t), but it is very much about finishing, rather than merely participating. Focus on slow, yet thorough progress, on your breathing technique and on equipping yourself properly for training sessions. Oh, and don’t forget to try out running side-by-side with other people!