There is no doubt, being a marathon runner is a physical and mental challenge. It is a test of time management, relationships, health and happiness.
Training for a marathon is also one of the most rewarding personal journeys you can take. A first time marathon runner, or a seasoned marathon runner – every training journey is different, and so are the rewards.
Kim Ingleby is an award winning mind & body coach, with 8 marathons under her belt!
Kim says that when she is coaching marathon runners, there is always a huge fear. It is the big training miles, getting injured or ill, and not making the finish line that scares people. Having coached 100’s of people to complete their first marathon, and completed 10 wild marathons around the World herself. She’s brought together her best advice to help you manage the big marathon training miles. These can be adapted to any fitness goal too.
Here are her tips to help you have the best ‘peak’ miles in your marathon training (or any goal you may have in mind). If you create some time to write down, reflect and action the points, you will gain even more.
- Even if it is your worst training session, you will have done your best possible on the day. Write down the top 3 things that you want to improve. Next to them plan of action on how to improve them. Write down what you are going to do, how it will make you feel and how you will gain from it. Be specific, clear and accountable. (Often our hardest training sessions come through other factors. Poor sleep, lack of recovery, lack of good food, pacing too fast, and rarely through the actual training sessions. Check in on these areas each week.)
Find the Positive
- However good or challenging the training session was, I want you to write down 3 positives from the session. However small, find them, write them down and how they made you feel. Remember this and share with your family and support team.
- Always make time for stretching, foam roller, functional strength exercises and core. They are the key to strengthen and lengthen the muscles, reduce the risk of injury and increase stability. If you can plan in a sports therapy treatment every 2-3 weeks during peak training miles this will enhance you performance and recovery even more, and keep your muscles in great condition whatever your ability.
You can take specific supplements, like Omega 3 and BCAA’s. You can use Whey Protein for recovery too, something which endurance athletes often miss out or get confused with. It all depends on your end goal, but the key to lean, efficient, energised bodies is quality training, nutrition, sleep and positive stress levels.
- Be mindful of your nutrition and the levels of energy you are burning. For a week write down everything you are eating, and also your energy levels, mood, hunger and sleep. Once this is in balance your performance, recovery and energy should improve, keep it simple with lots of little changes every week.
- Whatever your race and motivational goals are, make sure they give you some ‘fire’ in your belly, something that excites you, makes you a little bit nervous, motivates, inspires and kicks you to edge of your boundaries.
She is advising you to write down all the reasons why you want to complete the marathon. Write down why it really matters to you. Then create some mantras to keep your focus when you have a tough week. A bad week is totally normal when marathon training by the way, it’s a tough goal, mentally and physically so don’t be too hard on yourself). Get positive support & knowledge around you to make it happen to your best.
- Keep in mind that you have chosen to do your goal, so make sure you keep it fun. If you are aiming to complete your first ever race, beat your PB or win a gold medal, if you enjoy it you will be more motivated, focused and in the moment. This will help you to better use your energy, gain better results and have more fun.
Friends & Family
- Keep it in balance, even if the goal is taking a lot of time, make sure you make time to have fun outside of the goal, with friends and family.Yet also communicate to them what you have to do for the peak training which will consume some of your potentially ‘free’ time! This will keep expectations clear for everyone, and help you be motivated, allow you a time out to rest and relax. This is key for balance, perspective & support, whatever your outcome (and helps you cope if you get injured) and for the journey to the finish line…. And beyond.
We really hope these top tips help you to embrace the peak training to become a better marathon runner. It really is about taking the time mentally, as well as physically to prepare you. And not only the big training sessions, but life, work and family priorities around them. Once these are in check, things will flow. Still, one of those long runs will definitely be a challenge. But if you keep the fire and fun in mind, you CAN do it.
Don’t Forget To Stay Hydrated
- Pre-hydrate: Drink 500ml about two hours before your run so you’ll start off properly hydrated.