It’s been a long journey to my first marathon. I trained for 6 months, following the Virgin London Marathon intermediate plan but adding much longer runs than they suggested each Sunday.
These are my top 5 training tips:
1) Use a plan and stick to it
At the start of each week, I wrote what I needed to do in my diary so there was no chance of me forgetting what I needed to do each day. If there were some runs that didn’t quite fit (for example a long run on a day I knew I’d only be running to the gym and back) I swapped them around so that I still did all the days, not necessarily in right order.
The confidence of going into a marathon knowing you have trained as much as you possibly can is invaluable
2) Cross train
As well as running, I did spin classes, weight training, yoga and even some rock climbing. 6 days of running every week left me with ankle pain, so I turned some runs into spins to give my body chance to recover. Cross training helps you to be strong all over – running is about your core and upper body strength as well as your legs.
3) Set a goal, and be realistic
For my first marathon, I said I’d be happy with any time under 5 hours. I could translate this into a mile pace and relate that to my training. As long as I was achieving that pace in my long runs, I knew I’d be okay. If I’d set an unachievable goal I would have hated my training and started the marathon ready to fail.
4) Do high miles if you want to
Most marathon training plans only take you to about 18 miles. Because I was so scared, I did a 22.2 mile run as my longest training run, about a month before. I needed to do it build my confidence, so it was right for me.
5) Approach your training holistically
I didn’t just run for my marathon training. I changed my whole diet, slept more and boozed less. The 2 weeks before the marathon, I ate cleanly and had no booze at all. Changing my diet has led to long term benefits, both the husband and I are sleeping better and have more energy.
Training for a marathon can give you good habits that carry on into your future life. My training plan gave me focus and strength during a very tough year, and I loved the training as much (if not more) than the marathon itself.
What are your top training tips?