1) Follow a Training Program that is specific to you & your body
– Do not get carried away by the miles that people around you are running. Your first and foremost goal should be just to have fun. Do NOT put a number in your head for an expectation of time you wish to finish it in. Simply explore your running ability with an open mind without any pressure in your head.
– Listen to your body. If you are tired, rest. If a workout feels hard, it is hard. Do not procrastinate in your training.
2) Run only 3-4 days a week
– Include one long run, two shorter runs, one each for speed & strength and an optional easy recovery run day.
– For speed runs, focus on getting slightly faster every week with minor increments of time and distance.
– For strength runs, include some hill/ inclined runs every week.
– Easy long runs are only meant to survive the distance. These are meant to be slow and comfortable pace.
– As per my experience, it is very tempting to go faster if we are feeling better, but it can equally be a cause of an injury or overtraining.
– Running slow is the key to longer success while training for marathons instead of getting carried away with the pace.
3) Start SLOW, finish STRONG.
When you start a race, the adrenaline in your body is pumping. Whether it is your 1st marathon or the 10th, you get caught up in the race day excitement. Try to start 30-40 seconds slower than your actual pace, at least for the first kilometre. Stick to your plan sincerely and listen to your body for the first half of the race. Do NOT push to an extent that the second half of the race starts looking like a challenge. Try getting better or faster in the second half of the race.
4) Stretching & Strength training
– Do NOT ever skip on Warm-up exercises before the runs & Cool-down stretching after the runs.
– Strength Training on your non-running days helps in a major way. It is very important for injury prevention & goes a long way to help with the speed, endurance & stamina.
5) Have faith in your self – Trust your training on race day.
– It’s easy to stop half way through your long runs but remember why are you doing it and foresee yourself standing strong at the finish line.
– Do not let your thoughts and doubts overpower your dedication
– For your race day, use the same kind of nutrition & gear that you have been using throughout your training. Do not try anything new on the race day.
– Good sleep and Nutrition throughout your training are the key to be standing strong at the start & finish line of the marathon.