In today’s society, marathons have become something of a daily insignificance. Somebody tells you that they ran a marathon over the weekend and it’s no big deal. You briefly congratulate them before getting back to whatever you were doing.
But biologically speaking, marathons aren’t trivial at all. In fact, completing one is perhaps the most difficult thing you can put your body through.
Making mistakes during your training can have a tremendous impact on your overall performance. With that said, here are some of the mistakes you should avoid.
Mistake #1: Failing to Build a “Base”
When it comes to marathon training, building a strong foundation is essential. If you just set out from your door and try to run 26 miles, you’ll quickly run into trouble. Even if you have the cardiovascular fitness to do it, you need to spend a few months adapting your body to the challenge. Your knees and shins, for instance, need to get used to your feet slamming on the ground, over and over again.
Building a base is something that takes a lot of time, so you should set aside at least three months to do it. You don’t need to do anything particularly spectacular. Just make sure that you include plenty of movement in your daily routine. Over time, all the tissues in your body will strengthen.
Mistake #2: Failing to Research Your Marathon Destination
No two marathons are the same. For instance, the Dubai Marathon offers a totally different environment from the Stockholm equivalent. So, before you take part in a race, it is a good idea to research the course first.
Many marathon organizers have websites for their events. For instance, if you’re racing in Utah, you can read an overview of the Salt Lake City Marathon online before you start. This way, you can find out things like whether organizers provide water and the dress rules. You can also get a better sense of the type of environment you’ll need to train for. Is it city, country, beach, or a little bit of each?
Mistake #3: Failing to Burn Fat
Before you run a marathon, you’ll want to burn away as much excess fat as possible. That’s not to say that you have to be ultra-lean. But carrying around extra pounds for 26 miles is never a lot of fun. You just need enough fat to sustain you for the duration of the course – no more.
Mistake #4: You Avoid Speed Training
Novices often begin training for marathons believing that all they need to do is increase how far they run in each training session. But the body doesn’t work like that. It needs novelty and challenge to push it to the next level.
That’s where speed training comes in. Doing high-intensity circuits fires different muscle fibers and puts extra stress on your heart and lungs. This process helps to foster enhanced adaptation in the long run.
Mistake #5: You Don’t Know How to Fuel Yourself
Completing a full marathon will likely take you three hours or more. That means you’ll probably burn upwards of 3,000 calories per event – more than a day’s energy.
It’s critical, therefore, to practice fueling. This means taking on enough energy and water to sustain you for the entire race.