You are training or have decided to train for a marathon. It will be hard work, but standing behind the starting line, running your race, and grabbing that medal will be one hell of an accomplishment.
At Strong Supplies, we are all about encouraging you towards your goals. So here are five essentials you will need for your big day.
1. Get a training schedule that builds up slowly
It is recommended that your marathon training is at least three months. There are a lot of training plans that you can find online. You need to make sure that there is a gradual increase in intensity and volume. It is the best way to prevent injuries or to get demotivated (yes, motivation will be important).
Be sure to take enough rest. A dedicated sporter and taking enough rest, it doesn't always go well together, we get it. However, taking enough rest will be one of the most important things during your preparation. Your body will need time to recover from the training you have done.
The last two weeks before the marathon, you need to seriously scale down your training volume. This way, you will be fresh on marathon-day.
2. Prepare yourself mentally
Somewhere along the way, you will doubt yourself. "Can I do this?", "Am I well prepared?", "What if I need to stop?".
Be calm en have faith in yourself. If you have a good training schedule that you follow and you don't have any major injuries, you will be fine.
3. Test your sports nutrition before your marathon
There's a golden rule when you are training for a specific event: never test new stuff on the big day. Make sure you have tried everything: shoes, clothes, and sports nutrition. The last one is probably the most important.
During your marathon, you will need to eat enough to keep your energy level high. Some choose an energy bar, others prefer a liquid energy gel. Whatever you decide to use, test it enough during your long runs. Some people don't respond well to gels and get a bad stomach ache, which you really want to avoid on marathon day. (Want to know more about energy gels? Read it here)
When you test your food during a long training session, you will know what works for you. Also, make sure you know when you need to take food. Some people eat every 5K, but it is really up to you and how you feel.
4. Be prepared for race day
Prepare everything that you can in advance. You don't need the extra stress on the day of the marathon.
Start with your gear. Choose the running shoes that you have tested well. Pick out clothes that are comfortable and that look good. You want to look good on the big day. Don't make the mistake to buy new clothes that you have never worn before. It might just be a shirt that itches or pants that aren't comfortable.
Read the instructions of the marathon well. Know where and when you need to be. A bigger marathon can have a time slot depending on your selected pace. So make sure you know in which heat you start.
5. Enjoy your marathon
It may seem stupid, but it really isn't.
You have worked really hard for this day. You are ready. When you are standing in your starting block, don't forget to look around and be proud of yourself. You are here, you have already won.
Look around during the race. Try to mute your earphones when there's a crowd along the road. It is truly one of the best things you will experience: people that you don't know who will cheer for you and encourage you to keep going.
When it gets hard along the way - trust us, it will - think about all those hours of work you have put into this. It was your perseverance and motivation that brought you here. Be proud, every step of the way. And if that doesn't work for you, think about all the food you will have when you get to that finish line. That might do the trick.