Hi everyone! Today’s post comes to you from Delphine Winter, an avid runner with a passion for marathons. Below she will be discussing a handful of tried and true ways to help you prepare for a marathon, as well as some of her favorite products and training guides to make the process that much smoother. If you’re interested in training for your first marathon or are looking for ways to improve your running, keep reading…
My name is Delphine, and I am a 3-time Boston Qualifying marathon runner here to chat about my tips and tricks on how to train for a marathon! Ever since I can remember, running has been such an important activity in my life. It has not only brought me so much joy and pride over the last several years, but it has also brought my family closer together (my dad is an avid runner); and for that, I am so grateful for this sport.
The number one thing to remember is that you determine your success. Whether you want to P.R. or just finish a race, you’re going to feel like you just conquered an amazing accomplishment. If you’re considering running a marathon, half marathon, or even just a 5k, I hope you’ll find my advice useful and actually put it to the test! So, keep scrolling to help determine why you’re running, and how to successfully cross that finish line…
A Real Runner’s Guide to Marathon Training
1. Adjust your diet.
This is extremely important in preparing for marathon training for several reasons. One, being that without a good diet, your energy levels will be extremely low, which will cause you to sleep in or want to cut your mileage. The next reason is that when you begin running longer mileage, your body is literally being shaken up, which results in unfortunate situations… (i.e. making pit stops in the woods), and that ultimately interrupts your training. Take it from me, adjusting your diet to whole foods and limiting the excessive processed foods that you ingest is worth it.
2. Start adding mileage.
I believe you are a runner the moment you put on your running shoes, whether it is for 1 mile or 20 miles. But in order to be successful at either finishing a marathon or racing at your highest potential, it’s important to begin adding mileage before entering your 18-week training program. If you’re only running 10-15 miles a week right now, and your program starts in 1 month, try raising that to 20 miles a week, then to 30 miles a week. This will allow you to feel more comfortable when training with a group of people, and it will allow you to raise your mileage at a faster pace.
3. Train with a group.
Going back to my last statement about training with a group of people… because this is KEY. Here in Chico where I live, I have joined the Fleet Feet Training programs, which are absolutely essential to be successful in the marathon world. Running alongside people who understand your pain and how difficult marathon running is, is going to save you from complaining to your significant other, your best friend, or your mom. Trust me, they already think we’re crazy enough for doing this, so they don’t want to hear about how tired you are; that’s just reality. Another reason why training with a group is super beneficial is that you are held accountable for missing practices. Over the last few programs I have learned to be self-motivating, but that came with a lot of practice and dedication. Eventually you will be able to train on your own, but for your first marathon, find a group, stick to the workouts, and get it done!
4. Find a nutrition system that works.
We all have different bodies, right? That means, if a GU gel works for Karen, it won’t necessarily work for you. Take training to the next level by trying different nutrition habits on your long runs. This will prevent stomachaches and will help avoid any crashes that come with something so high in sugar. I love the Tailwind Nutrition drink, which is full of electrolytes, and the glucose gummies, which help with my caloric intake during a race. This ultimately turns into energy, which enables you to get over the “wall” hump after mile 20. It has been an uphill battle with nutrition, but I finally found a system that works for me and my body.
5. Handheld or belt water bottle?
This may not seem like a big deal but depending on the time of the year that you are training in, this can affect your race tremendously. Handheld water bottles are exactly what they sound like. These water bottles have an adjustable strap to help them stay on your hand during a run. Belt bottles on the other hand strap around your waist and can hold multiple bottles. Be aware that you might have to keep adjusting your water bottle to find a comfortable way of carrying it. Be sure to lock down you preferred source of hydration or else you might get stuck adjusting during a race, resulting in loss of mental preparedness. I personally prefer the handheld, because it’s comfortable in my hand and it allows me to drink at a steady pace.
6. Why are you running?
Lastly, I am going to ask the cliché question of “Why are you running?” In order to be a successful runner, whether you’re doing a 5k or a marathon, you have to have a purpose. I hear too often that “running seems so boring” and “what do you think about?” and “what do you do to avoid boredom?” My answer to all of these is that I love running. I love how it empowers me to be stronger, how it allows me to stay fit, and how it ultimately allows me to be more social within my community!
I am so grateful to have been able to share my tips and tricks on how to begin your marathon journey. Your next step is to find a training schedule that works for you, and you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing your goals. Runner’s World has some amazing marathon training schedules that I recommend looking through. Good luck everyone!