So you are running a marathon. Me too! I ran m first last year and have run multiple half marathons and shorter distances. For me Marathon Prep is in full swing and getting ready for training is an endeavor in itself.
Before you ask. Yes, you do need to train and think about you’re training. It’s more than just running the miles. It’s about your recovery, your eating, and your mindset. I would actually venture to say that these are as important as running because 99% of running is just mentally and physically making yourself doing it.
Being perfectly clear, running a marathon isn’t just about winning. Sometimes, the course wins. You won’t always have your best run. There are things that you can’t control like the weather, any ailments, travel problems, ect. So the things that we can control, we need to.
Shoes/ Good Socks
Shoes are the most important piece of equipment a runner has. Spend time finding the right pair for the right terrain that you will be running on. Remember that shoes normally last for about 400-500 miles so it is important to not have to get a new pair right before race day (You never want to run in new shoes). There are some great socks out there for running too so that your toes dont get…gooey. I would highly recommend Balega they aren’t the cheapest but they are well worth it.
Calendar/ Schedule/ Training Journal
Besides for your shoes, this is at the top of the list. actually, it might be more important on some levels. Before you even begin about marathon training you need to find a plan and start a training journal. Keeping track of your miles, your speed, the type of run (Hills, intervals, Negative splits, ect) everything down to the weather you’re running in can help you prepare for race day. Spend some time finding a plan that is right for you. I actually follow a 20-week plan from a book called Another Mother Runner because it provides high mileage weeks and low mileage Weeks.
Any Gels or Snacks You Want To Try
Nothing New on race day is something that we hear all the time…yet the course is packed with energy drinks, gels, and other things. you want to be able to try your gels and what not before your race. Note in your training journal how they make you feel, how long it takes for them to kick in and if they give you any digestive issues.
Or other tracking devices. A lot of people just use Strava or RunKeeper but if you are training for 26.2 I really would recommend getting an actual wearable. It makes tracking your miles, your route and your pace a million times easier and is far more specific than the free apps.
For Long runs, I really do find that I need these. when you get to runs that are over 2 hours it can get a bit mundane. Podcasts and playlists are great ways to kill time. Sometimes I like playlists but honestly, they can actually amp you up a bit too much. Sometimes an audiobook or a podcast is a great alternative so you’re pace doesn’t falter when “I’m a Survivor” starts blasting. Wireless headphones have gotten much cheaper over the years. Make sure you find one that has a good battery life (Over 4 hours). I use Jay Bird Which are great. they have an extended listening function that is great for long runs.
A Fully Stocked Fridge
For a long time we thought that if you buried the furnace hot enough, you could eat whatever you want. But we have found that that’s not true at all. You are going to get hungry. So damn hungry and you are going to be tired and not want to cook. Hitting up a delivery service for a pizza is going to sound great. But what you put in your body is going to make a difference. Make sure that your fridge and pantry is stocked with natural, real food, whole grains and quick bites that will keep you on track. Remember that most people running a marathon actually gain weight. This might be a nice time to get one of those Meal plans that you’ve been thinking about trying to keep a sort of base going on. Sun Basket and Hungry Root are going to be the two that I’m alternating trying every other week so I have some base meals (Reviews to Come).
A Big Old Bottle of Ibprophen
Just do it. Go to BJ’s or Costco and get the industrial bottle the beginning of the season.
Heating Pad/ Ice Packs/ Muscle Rub, Epison Salt, Foam roller….ect
Strickly speaking, there should be at least one rest day per week in your training plan. This is your recovery day. I normally swim or go for a walk or something but I also use it as a self care day after my longest run of the week. These goodies are pperfect for that though honestly there is nothing wrong with using them every single day if you feel like you need it.
The hardest part of marathon training isn’t the actual training itself, its making yourself do the training. It can be hard! most tof all when your race is 20 weeks out. Heck even when you get about half way through and you’re like “I guess I’m fine.” Your’re not fine. You have to keep going. Surround yourself with ppowerful and inspiring messages. I can not turn on my instagram without seeing a running post or tag. It inspires me and reminds me that I’m getting out the door one wa or another. Podcasts, insta, twitter, even tumblr has some great get fit sites. Make sure that every time you open up social media you are inspired.
A Support System
Not just that but make sure that you tell as many people as you can what you are doing. Sound annoying? Maybe but the more people that know you are doing it the more people you are accountable to. Come race day you dont want to have people asking you why you gave up. Weren’t you doing that race? Accountability is a powerful tool and running groups, family and friends all want you to succeed.