How to Prepare for a Marathon

How to Prepare for a Marathon | Dr. Ali Ghahary

If you’ve ever ran a marathon, are preparing to run a marathon, or know someone who has, then you know just how much time and effort goes into the process. It also requires lots of discipline. For some, wanting to run a marathon is nothing more than a personal goal they want to set and ultimately achieve; while others also choose to partake in marathons in effort to raise money for different charitable causes. Whatever the reason, it can be a great (and very healthy) thing to want to accomplish, but there are also certain things you need to do to ensure you’re properly prepared before getting out there.

First, if a marathon isn’t something you’ve ever participated in before, then it’s probably not a good idea to jump right into a one that goes a far distance. In fact, before you even sign up for a marathon, it’s recommended that you first focus on increasing your running mileage and do this for at least 6 months minimum. Once you’ve built up your running mileage, you can move onto the main training process.

How hard you need to train depends on your level in terms of whether or not you’ve participated in marathons before, as well as your overall fitness level, but for those who are just starting out, you need to start slow and also work on building up your stamina. Because marathon runners will train vigorously just about every day, those who are new to it should instead focus on alternating both easier and harder days of physical activity. For example, the harder day of exercise could be spent running up hills (or using exercise equipment such as a treadmill with an incline), while the easier day could be spent doing less strenuous activity. As with most types of exercise, it’s also a good idea to warm up before a workout and cool down afterwards. Warming up can prepare your muscles for exertion, as well as help your heart and lungs prepare as well. Warm ups can include stretching or light walking. When it comes to cooling down, this helps your body recover more easily and also prepares it for the next workout session – whether it’s running a marathon or simply going for a short walk. A cooldown can help get your heart and lungs back to normal rates, and can consist of light walking, jogging, or even stretching.

As you’re training for your marathon, you also need to make sure you’re staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Drinking water is important regardless of what you’re doing, as it has many benefits, but it’s especially crucial during the training process. In many cases, people will wait until they’re thirsty to take a drink, but at this stage you’re already hydrated, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Signs of dehydration include fatigue, dizziness, and confusion…just to name a few. Food is also important during the training process. Things like energy and protein bars, as well as fruit, are all great for giving your energy levels a boost. You’ll want to have some of these foods on hand during marathon day, too.

Lastly, having proper footwear during both the training process as well as the marathon itself is also really important. You should avoid wearing old shoes, as they can potentially result in injury. The shoes you wear should be designed for running, and they should be firm but not too tight, as well as have enough cushioning in them so that you are comfortable for the duration of your marathon. Not having the proper shoes can cause all sorts of foot problems later on.