So you've decided to run for a marathon. Great! Now what? You might be wondering what marathon training is really like—so we enlisted the help of ASICS FrontRunners to share their secrets.
1. Training will change your body
Everything from the waist down will be sore: your legs, your feet, your knees. This soreness only means that your body is getting stronger. You can minimise soreness by wearing shoes that suit your needs. (It should be noted that if the pain does not subside after further training, you can consider taking it easy until it does, or consult your doctor to see if a larger issue is affecting your body).
2. Budget your time
You are going to have to build up to running longer distances. Finding time to do that may seem overwhelming, but it can be done! With helpful tools like the ASICS training plans, you can build a marathon training plan for beginners. Once you have that marathon training schedule, all you have to do is stick to it.
3. Training will test your mind
ASICS FrontRunner Agnieszka Kucharczyk says: "Running is a mental sport. You're only as good as your training, and your training is only as good as your thinking." Your marathon training plan is not just training your body. It's also training your mind to think "I can do it," instead of "I want to stop."
4. Training can be social and fun
FrontRunner Elisa Adorni believes that you should "share the passion for running with a group of friends." Friends can hold you accountable to your training plan and make training more fun. Having a hard time getting friends to run with you? Consider starting a makeshift running club. All you need is a name, a meeting place, and some fun post-run promises (like going out to breakfast or lunch). Bonus points if you set up a Facebook group and custom hashtag for the club.
5. Pay attention to your diet
Don't be afraid to eat a lot of carbs—your body needs plenty of them to run those long distances. Just be sure to avoid processed carbs, like white bread, white pasta, and white rice, because they won't provide your body with any essential vitamins or amino acids.
6. Adjust your expectations
Set reasonable expectations. Just because you can run a 5k in 24 minutes doesn't mean you'll be able to maintain that pace through an entire marathon. When you're thinking about how to train for a marathon, FrontRunner Sarah Booker suggests: "Start slow. Even slower than that. The speed will come. Work on distance."
7. Taper off closer to race day
In the two weeks leading up to the marathon, you will want to train a little easier, so that your body can recover and be at peak strength by the time you actually run the race. Think of this time as transitional: you’ve conquered your max-distance training days, but you’re not quite running the marathon yet. Two weeks out from race day, you should reduce your running to about two-thirds of your longest training days. Keep your runs slower while reserving time for a mid-week marathon-goal pace run.
8. Train for your race course
Is the course all flat? Are there a lot of hills? Somewhere in between? It helps to know these details so that you can account for them during your training. If you're going to face a big hill, practising running downhill is as important as learning how to run uphill. Be prepared.
9. Be patient and avoid stress
In the midst of your training, be sure you set aside time to care for yourself. FrontRunner Solly Malatsi says: "Be patient with your progress." Try not to get frustrated with yourself if you can't maintain a faster pace. That's stress you don't need.
10. Enjoy the process
When it comes to staying motivated, follow advice from FrontRunner Brendan Lombard: "Don't think too much about the outcome and always take time to enjoy the process. Running is a great metaphor for life. It can teach you lessons if you're willing to learn."
Remember—you can do this. Good luck!