Seven Key Considerations for Successful Marathon Training
It’s that time of year again. Leaves are falling, the air is getting cooler, everywhere you look things are flavored with pumpkin spice—and fall marathon season is in full swing!
As you start to fill your days with long, grinding training sessions, here are some key considerations to help you get the most out of your marathon training plan.
1. Set Your Schedule
First and foremost, your training schedule should have a well thought out structure. The bare bones of this should include several months of gradually building followed by a two week taper period. The taper period is when the amount and intensity of running you are doing is reduced slightly to get your body rested and primed for the big event. You need those last few weeks of relative rest so your body is recovered for a key performance.
The other key component of scheduling is taking into account the day to day and week to week demands of your life schedule. Most of us do not have the luxury of scheduling our lives around our training schedule.Thus, it is important to take a look at what days are the most demanding or taxing for you, and schedule your hard sessions around this. For many of us, that usually means planning one of your harder sessions for the weekend, when you can be more rested and have more time to recover from the hard effort.
2. Build the Base First
It is tempting to jump right into interval workouts or crazy long runs right off the bat. However, it is important to build a strong foundation first and foremost. Before adding intensity with workouts, you want a solid foundation of base mileage to build off of.
3. Warm Ups Aren’t Optional
We shouldn’t be going into a run cold, whether on an easy morning jog or on race day. You need to get your blood flowing and muscles warmed up prior to the run. This can involve things like a progression from slow walking drills, to quicker pace warm up movements. Exercises such as a lunge matrix can also be helpful for this.
4. Don’t Sleep on Strength
Doing regular strength exercises multiple times a week helps to improve your running efficiency.
This may mean starting with bodyweight exercises, then progressing with weights and resistance. This also makes you less likely to get injured, and as the miles start to pile up in workouts and in races, the strength you have developed with weight training will serve you well.
5. Make Time for Mobility
Similar to strength training, maintaining joint mobility and tissue flexibility helps build your resiliency as a runner. If you have stiff joints that can’t efficiently move through their full range of motion with each stride, your form will suffer. Resultantly, this increases your risk of injury. Adding key mobility exercises into your routine, that address specific areas where you are stiff, can go a long way.
6. Recover Recover Recover
Recovery is a very important aspect of all training. Rest time after a hard workout is when the real adaptation required for improvement occurs. With insufficient rest over time, not only will you be more injury prone, but you will not be able to train or perform to the best of your ability. It is important to remember that recovery means more than getting good sleep and replenishing nutrients. Easy run and full rest days between workouts both aid in recovery as well.
Additionally, Zenith Performance and Wellness offers recovery sessions, apart from physical therapy and personal training, that can help you get the most out of your recovery days. A recovery session at Zenith Performance and Wellness may consist of the use of tools such as pneumatic Normatec compression sleeves, manual and instrument assisted soft tissue work, assisted stretching, percussion and vibration devices.
7. Listen to Your Body
This piece of advice is arguably the most important part of the marathon prep process. Don’t ignore aches and pains, because it may very well be your body trying to tell you something. When pain crops up, it is best to get to the root of it and address it early before it sidelines you completely. At Zenith Wellness and Performance, we have ample experience in running related rehab, and will work with you to keep you running healthy. You can schedule online today here.