A marathon is a grueling test of endurance and a true testament to a high level of fitness. Training for a run just over 26 miles long is not a simple task, and there are many ways to go awry during the process, whether in the act of preparation or in the act of running in the actual event.
Practicing a Long Run Frequently
When preparing for a marathon run, it might sound tempting to take on a long run often, even as much as once a week. The thought process is that by practicing a lengthy run often, the marathon itself won’t be such a daunting task. The main problem with this approach is that a marathon run is unlike other runs and is typically done at a slower pace. The fatigue that comes from major distance running is almost guaranteed to hinder the quality of workouts over the next several days, so it’s better to train normally and consistently in preparation for the big run.
Using Sports Drinks Incorrectly
Don’t wait until exhaustion sets in before consuming a sports drink. Don’t view them as last resort energy providers, but rather as a method of maintaining energy throughout the run so exhaustion never has to set in to begin with. Drink before the race begins, and then continue doing so periodically throughout the event, roughly every two miles or so. Practice this pattern of drinking before the actual race takes place, as it’s important to have a system down pat before taking on such a daunting run.
Pushing Too Hard Near Race Time
A marathon requires a fully rested body, and it’s impossible to accomplish that if the training process peaked right before the race. When running a distance of approximately 20 miles, the body needs ample time to heal; trying to push it too soon after that kind of distance is a risk that is not likely to pay off. Training for a marathon is obviously a necessity, but cut off the marathon-length practice runs at least a full month before the actual race to allow the body sufficient time to heal.
Not Going at a Steady Pace
A marathon is a long process and should be treated as such. The goal should be to maintain a steady pace throughout the entire race. Using walking or a very slow jog during times of fatigue is not a good method of improving the end time. Train to run the entire distance at a consistent pace instead.