It takes a little more than 42kms to reach the finish line of a marathon race. Nerves and determination do not suffice and the best of athletes will tell you that if one is not prepared physically with the adequate training, nutrition and apparel, the experience might reveal itself a complete mishap. Each marathoner has his own rituals and goes along a definite pattern of things to prepare for a marathon.
Here below, a few Compressport Pro Athletes share with you what they do and what they do not do when they prepare for their respective races. These do’s and don`ts can be your handy guide in your own preparation.
FREDERIK VAN LIERDE
DO integrate one interval session once every 2 weeks at race pace. Build up from a 4 x 1km to a 4 x 2km. You can play with distances and intervals so that it doesn’t get too boring.
DO make sure you set up a recovery training after a interval training. Speed work requires extra energy, which stresses the muscles and joints a lot more. It is necessary to make sure you´re properly recovered from this before tackling the next big running session.
DO respect the weeks in your plan! Harder weeks and easy weeks. Your coach has given you a plan for a reason, so make sure you stick to it. There will be times when you feel like you could be doing more and pushing harder, but have patience and stick to the plan!
(1st Ironman 70.3 — 3rd Ironman Asia Pacific)
DO lead into a full Ironman/marathon
I like to have at least 3 weeks where my long run (once a week) is 30-32km or 2hrs 15min. This will be done on Sunday morning after a long ride with brick run Saturday.
DO these long runs fasted and not consume any calories until the last 10km (if any at all). The pace of this run will just be easy/steady and run on tired legs with little fuel to teach my body to tap into my own fat stores for fuel and mimic the back end of the marathon.
DO plan recovery after each marathon or Ironman training. I will regularly sleep in or put on after sessions my Compressport recovery tights as well as eat well especially immediately after long and/or hard sessions.
(1st – Ironman Switzerland 2018)
DON’T try to run monster workouts which lead to tiredness and niggles and force you to recover for many days. It is a lot more important to keep up the consistency, which usually means running little and often instead of running long and only once a week or so.
DON’T over-pace your training sessions even though keeping your HR at your goal zone would force you to walk in the beginning of your training. Building the base by going slow is the key to becoming a fast and endure runner.
DON’T get too serious and forget to have fun! Marathon training can be very demanding both physically and mentally so it is hugely important to enjoy the process as much as possible. The beauty of the nature, the running buddies and the healthy tasty snacks after your workout are some good ways to make your training more enjoyable.
DON’T feel like you have to run the entire marathon distance in training. Once you have done a few marathons it is nice to do some over distance runs past the marathon distance but when you still working up to the marathon distance it is not necessary to run the entire 42K or 26.2 miles but running around 38K would be great.
DON’T feel like you need to have everything worked out about the course. If you have done the work and put in the training you can handle almost any course. It is helpful to know what you are up against but you don’t need to see every turn, hill and aid station. If you are able to see the course terrific but it is not imperative. I would say for trail marathons it is nice to know the elevation profile and maybe have that and where the aid stations are handy so you can plan fueling, what you will need to carry, etc. but again, you can get it done with solid training and continuing to eat and drink.
DON’T worry if you have a few bad workouts during your marathon training. Everyone has bad workouts or days when things are not going great. It is ok, you will be fine and if you are consistent and dedicated you will see improvements. Running is a very pure sport if you do the work and put the time in you will start to see the results.
DON’T compare yourself to others.
I know it is tempting to check Strava, Polar, Garmin, Suunto, Apple, etc. but the best thing I could say is that everyone reacts differently to the stresses of a marathon and needs to train in a unique way and what works for someone else might not work for you. That is what is so cool about marathon training is that it is an experiment of one and you can change various inputs and see how they affect the results.
Running a marathon is a tough challenge but remains a lifetime-experience if achieved with and in the best conditions. Highs and lows will form part of your off-track preparation and on-the track participation. But if you make yours the above tips and tricks and equip yourself with the most innovative equipment you sure will achieve progress and more, before you take on your next race.