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The highly coveted marathon is an achievement that many runners set their sights on. The event, with a distance of 26.2 miles, is regarded as one of the ultimate challenges for long distance running, and understandably, a daunting prospect for less experienced runners.
With this in mind we’ve put together our top ten tips to help you prepare for your marathon, so whether your about to run your first or your 10th marathon, read on!
Don’t worry about your time
This is particularly important to remember if it’s your first marathon. Travelling 26.2 miles by foot is an achievement – whether you’ve ran it all or had to slow down to a walk! Focus on crossing the finish line and enjoy the atmosphere of the race.
Use a training plan
For anyone planning on running a marathon, a training plan is crucial. The 26.2 mile distance is not to be underestimated, and you’ll need to get your body used to running longer distances over a number of weeks beforehand. You’ll also get a much better idea of how to pace yourself on race day.
Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to your marathon so that you’re well hydrated by the time the big day comes around. Keep drinking little and often during the race to prevent dehydration. Sports drinks with electrolytes are also great for replacing any minerals you lose through sweat.
Never underestimate the importance of the humble warm up routine! Not only will warming up effectively prevent injuries, but it can also help to prepare your muscles and help you to perform to the best of your abilities during your run.
Find your soundtrack
Even if you’re Mo Farah, a marathon is a long distance that takes time to cover. If you find yourself getting bored running longer distances, a good running playlist can help keep your runs interesting and motivated, and spur you on to run that bit faster.
Track your progress
Keeping a diary of your training can help you to track your progress. The best way to do this is by using fitness apps or trackers that can monitor your pace, heart rate and more allowing you to see in real time where you can improve your technique.
Research your course
The more you know about your course, the better you can prepare. Knowing about a steep hill 6km into the course will help you to better manage how you pace yourself, and to incorporate hills into your training.
Run for a good cause
Marathons attract a huge number of runners who are raising money for charity. If you are not doing so already, it can be a great way to keep you motivated and give you a meaningful focus for your training. You’ll be doing something great for a fantastic cause too!
In the last couple of weeks before your race it might be tempting to switch your training into overdrive, but do resist this urge! If you train too hard before your race you’ll find yourself exhausted and risk injury. Start to taper off your training before your race to perform at your best.
Competing a marathon is a huge achievement, so remember to take in the atmosphere and enjoy the moment. Whether you walk the whole course or get around in record time, you should be really proud!
Do you want more information about Marathons?
Are you looking for your next marathon? Take a look at our event listings to find the perfect UK Marathon