As a sport, running is performed competitively and has rules formed by international organizations and millions of participants worldwide. As do other athletes, runners know that “Nothing succeeds like success,” an observation credited to Confucius and later attributed to Sir Arthur Helps (1898). Often runners who decide to enter competitions involving long-distance runs have competed successfully in shorter competitions. As they improved, increasing their speed and endurance, gaining confidence in their abilities, these runners have decided that they can succeed at longer races.
Beginning Marathon Training
Training for long-distance runs does not mean that runners must always go the full distance in practice. They can cover part of the distance, especially at first. The duration of a training run for a marathon may be from an hour to two hours. If the runner decides to increase the time and distance of a practice run, he or she conditions both the body and mind. Runners wishing to enter a marathon should work toward running most or all of the distance in the middle of each training week. Such a long run will increase stamina and endurance. Cross-training exercise for the legs using weights is also recommended as it will strengthen the quadriceps by building muscle tissue.
Tips for Long-Distance Running
The following tips will help you prepare for long-distance running.
Getting the Mind Ready
Mental preparedness plays a significant role in doing anything challenging. Runners should remove any fear of the distance from the mind. They can visualize the route and picture themselves running well and finishing the marathon. Being positive about finishing furthers the accomplishment of this goal significantly.
Fueling the Body Properly
During training for the marathon, a person’s body must make adjustments. A runner should be careful to allow time to adapt to what happens and stay away from processed foods by eating nutrient-dense foods. Under the stress of long runs, a person’s body cannot tolerate foods that do not digest easily. Focusing upon hydration and proper nutrition with carbohydrates is essential. If a runner is struggling to perfect the “long-run” meal, using 7-10 g of carbs per kg of body weight is suggested as a daily guideline.
Running the Race
A marathon is more about finishing than winning the race. Because it is easy to strain oneself and overtrain, it is better to arrive rested and healthy, but a little undertrained and finish the marathon than not to finish. Post-run recovery will also be easier.