Yes you do still need to run to train for a marathon. But what you do outside of running, and how you fit it in and think about it, can all add up to help you get that marathon PB (or PR for US runners!) Here are 5 ways to help you, including, including my own experiences.
1. Make your training routine.
Training takes a lot less time and effort when it’s habit. You don’t have to think or plan, you just turn up and do it like you do for other appointments.
You may need to experiment to find the best times for you. For me, it’s mornings. I just get up, put on my kit I’ve laid out the night before, do the training. Then it’s one shower, and I feel accomplished for the rest of the day.
2. Strength Train
There’s a lot of evidence that strength training helps you run more efficiently and avoid injury. I’ve certainly had fewer injury problems since I took strength training more seriously.
If you’re wondering what to do, planks, squats, lunges and back extensions 2-3 times a week go a long way for runners. These are staples for me.
3. Warm up & Cool Down
Dynamic exercises before running get your muscles ready for training. After they’ve worked hard, stretch key muscles like hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, calves, and not forgetting chest and shoulders. These are also especially good if you sit all day.
A foam roller is great for any areas that are still tight later on. A good way to fit it in is if you watch TV, try a spot of rolling instead of sitting on the sofa.
I love how this is one of the easiest ways to help your training. Yes you’ve got to schedule it in. But it’s a low effort way of repairing your muscles and recovering from training. Most of us need 6 – 9 hours. If you nod off in meetings (I have to admit, this has happened to me more than once), you probably need more!
5. Enjoy the process.
Of course we want you to get that PB. But if you only focus on the few hours running your goal marathon, and don’t enjoy your training, you will feel more disappointed if you don’t have your dream run on marathon day.
Good luck training and getting your marathon PB, I’d love to hear how you get on. Do feel free to ask me any questions. And if you need training inspiration, or would like a print to remember your marathon PB forever, have a look in the shop.