Running a marathon is a really big goal. Marathons are one of the toughest tests of your mental and physical abilities. In fact, just the thought of preparing for a marathon can be daunting. How do you go about conquering 26.2 miles?
I ran my first marathon by myself. I trained alone for most of it and didn’t have the benefit of a coach. I used a training plan I found on the internet and just went for it. I wish I had had something to help me organize my plans and keep track of my progress. It would also have been helpful to have something I could share with my running friends who were curious about my progress. Here’s what I learned from my experience.
- Set smaller goals so you can accurately assess how you are progressing. This also keeps you from becoming overwhelmed by the prospect of running such a long distance. Begin by looking at how many weeks you have until race day. You need to allow plenty of time to safely build up your distance. Then, you need to break down each week into workouts. How much speed work do you want to do? What about hills? You need to include easy runs and rest days. And of course, the long run has to be included as well!
- Don’t overestimate your abilities. If you are a slower runner, don’t try to increase your speed on every run while you are training. Focus on increasing your stamina instead. If you are already a fast runner, slow down on your easy days. If every run is the same speed and length, you will only tire yourself out. Focus on a variety of workouts while slowly upping your weekly mileage.
- Take one run at a time. A bad run doesn’t mean you’ll have a bad race. Take time to record and assess how each run goes. If you feel terrible after a run, then you need to change something. Take an extra rest day. Foam roll and stretch. If you feel awesome and things are going well, then take note! Hold onto that awesome feeling for when the inevitable bad run happens.
Using the goals in Achieve On can make marathon training easier and more fun. Breaking down your goals into smaller weekly goals of mileage and different types of runs will make it easier to focus on each step. Click here to check out a sample of a marathon goal page. You can use this as an idea to start your own goal!
You can also invite your friends and family to track your workouts with you. (This will also help explain why you’re always tired and never able to stay up late on the weekends anymore!) Running a marathon is a huge achievement and you should enjoy the process. By letting Achieve On do the work of tracking your progress, you can focus on each run and get the most out of the experience.