• Helen Phillips

10 Tricks for Confident (Marathon) Training

10 Tricks for Confident (Marathon) Training

If you're training for your first marathon, but haven't been running for long, getting out of the front door can feel daunting. Our head plays mind games. Unsure where to start, nervousness and procrastination takes hold. But don't let these doubts win. Follow these 10 Tricks for Confident (Marathon) Training.

1. Wear the right shoes

When you start out running all you really need is a well fitting pair of running shoes (get them fitted at a specialist running shop, rather than buying a cut priced trainer from a discount store). But marathon training, you're going to be clocking up quite a few miles, so will probably need another pair before race day. Rather than risking running your marathon in new shoes I recommend you invest in two pairs now and alternate them in training. That way you can be sure that your shoes will be broken in come race day. Alternating shoes also allows them to "dry out" between runs, avoiding stinky trainers clogging up your hallway!

2. Invest in the right kit

It's also a good idea to seek out 'technical' sports clothing. Technical kit makes running a much more pleasant experience, as sweat is wicked away from your body by the fibres. If you look good, you'll feel good! Don't be afraid of being 'all the gear, no idea', you'll soon be up and running!

3. Don't worry about what people think

We all start somewhere! So if you're new to running and this marathon will be your first race, don't be embarrassed to jog or shuffle along at your own pace. Good speedy runners generally respect everyone who runs, you're joining their tribe! As the pass you running in the park they're likely to be thinking "good for you for getting out" and be fully supportive of your efforts.

You're also lapping everyone on the couch. So don't be put off by anyone who 'channel surfs' for exercise!

And when the occasional 'white van man' honks his horn or shouts out a remark, my strategy is to smile, run tall and strong, and ignore them. Don't let the idiots of the world put you off. You're health, fitness and your awesome marathon goal is worth more than that!

4. Run at your own pace

The biggest mistake new runners make is trying to run too fast, to soon, and then give up for good after 5 or 10 minutes into their weekly long run!

It's much better to start wth a run (jog or shuffle) then walk strategy. Run for 5 - 10 minutes, then take a 1 minute walk break. You'll build up your fitness and confidence a lot faster this way. Check out 'Jeffing' loads of marathon runners swear by this method!

There is no shame in building up your running with a run-walk strategy. I've used this a number of times to build up my strength after coming back from injury.

5. Train with a friend

It's so easy to 'put it off 'til tomorrow' when you start out. But running with a friend you're more likely to stick to your training plans, and motivate each other as the weeks progress.

Lots of running clubs host new runners programmes and usually will have other runners marathon training through the year. Check them out. You'll be running with other beginners and making new friends.

6. Follow your plan

Training for a marathon involves much more than bashing out increasingly longer ‘average paced’ runs. Your marathon training plan has been written to gradually build strength and stamina in your body. There will be hard sessions to push and train your legs, heart, lungs and mind; long runs to build your endurance and bodys capability to burn fat as fuel and rest days and ‘recovery weeks’, where recover and rejuvenation happens. Follow the plan! Don’t be tempted to skip rest days, run long runs faster than suggested, or chicken out of intervals or hills.

7. Don’t be a slave to your plan

That said, don’t be a slave to your plan. If your body feels tired and you’re lacking in motivation it could be a sign that you’re overtraining. So take a rest day. It’s also ok to move runs around, so do Tuesdays run on a Friday, make the plan work for your week. And if you’re unfortunate and you’re sick or injured don’t be tempted to ‘make up time’. Ease yourself back into your plan and move forward.

8. Don’t ignore niggles

As runners we’re a pig headed and determined lot. Sometimes nothing will stop us running. But if you have a twinge, strange sensation or something is pulling that doesn’t seem right, don’t run through it get to a physio asap.

Marathon training is relentless and tough on your body. That’s why there are rest days and recovery easy weeks built into all good training plans. If you’re new to running your body might be ‘shocked’ by the work you’re putting it under. Niggles and injuries are common in new runners, and often stem from doing too much too soon, running with poor form or not including strength & conditioning into your programme, to build up weak muscles.

My advice is to seek professional help early, before a niggle turns into an injury.

9. Eat right for energy

Marathon training is not the time to go on a ‘crash cucumber water’ or ‘I only eat protein’ diet. You need to eat a balanced healthy diet to train effectively and to ensure your body has the right nutrients for recovery. You will need carbohydrate to power and fuel your runs, protein to help repair muscle and plenty of fruit & veg for essential nutrients and good gut healthy. Eat right for running or you risk compromising your training and performance.

10. Enjoy yourself

As the weeks go by and running becomes easier, celebrate the joy of movement and making changes to your fitness, stamina and health. Enjoy the endorphin happy high from exercise, it really is an addictive drug!

Regular exercise does so much for your body from increased fitness, improved muscle tone, improved cardiovascular function and mental health.

Smile and enjoy ... the journey will be worth it!

If you have a dream to run a marathon then download YOUR GET AHEAD MARATHON PREPARATION GUIDE for tips and tricks to get ahead with your training NOW.

Click HERE for your FREE guide.