The first marathon is always a unique experience, possibly for everyone regardless of one’s history of running. Jogging, running or even walking more than 26 miles can be nerve-wracking. For many amateur drivers, a distance like that can be a challenge even with the sedans that have auto transmission. While deciding to run a marathon was certainly one of the hardest and trickiest that I have had to make, what has truly changed me is the training for my first marathon.
Many people say that deciding to run a marathon is itself a daunting task. Preparing for the same is a different ballgame altogether. Before the training for the marathon, I had thought that it would take a great deal of perseverance, strength and endurance to prepare for the showdown. But what I actually learnt during the marathon training (read more here) is that patience is equally important. I’ve been running a few half marathons before and that was never very difficult to finish but a full marathon is a complete different story!
Holding your breath and sprinting through a hundred yards or a hundred meters is relatively doable, albeit the speed at which you race or struggle will vary. Regulating your breath for 26 miles and more is a challenge that not many can prepare for, unless one has generous quantum of patience in oneself.
‘There is no end in sight!’ – This is the absolute truth about any marathon, and more so for the first one. Much before the day you get down to the track and traverse the route, there is no end in sight even for the training.
Diets, strength training, endurance, posture correction, breathing techniques, flexing exercises, hydration challenges, protein intake, containing salt consumption and shunting all traces of sugar, proper sleep cycle and periods of intermittent rest in a grueling schedule – all were integral to the marathon training. You can read a lot more on this site. You would certainly need the best intentions in mind, else you are going to falter at every stage and you would give up much before you get close to the weekend prior to the day of the marathon.
What helped me a lot is using a heart rate monitor. I already had one for my half marathon trainings and I kept using it for the full marathon of course. I have a heart rate monitor with a gps tracker so I can see how far I’m running and afterwards can see how I was running. What kind of average speed I did during each mile. There are lot more features for runners on my gps watch (more about GPS watches here) which are really great to get a better idea how you’re running and how to increase the average speed and endurance. Manufacturers like Garmin Forerunner, Nike+ Sportwatch and Timex Ironman have a lot of experience and offer great watches with gps.
A normal human being living an ordinary life would have severe muscle fatigue and would faint before he or she can run 26 miles, regardless of time. And here you have a program where you have to complete the distance, as early as you can, which is if you wish to finish at a certain position and not be a compensatory finisher.
Many experts recommend running a half marathon prior to trying out the full marathon. This is a wise strategy since more than half of those running a full marathon don’t complete the course. It is always better to phase your progress. No one sprints 200 meters to begin with. One always progresses from 100 meters track events to the longer distances and eventually goes up to 800 meters. The same approach applies to swimming and all athletic sports.
If you get the hang of running marathons, and enjoying swimming and biking as well, then you might want to consider trying your first triathlon ;) Of course that requires complete different trainings next to the run training since you need to perform with swimming and riding a road bike for long distances. You need a proper (triathlon) road bike, bike shoes, tri-shorts, swimming goggle and preferably a waterproof distance tracker.
Before you start your training for your first marathon, prepare your mind, be decisive, clear your head, detoxify your body if needed, harbor perseverance, patience and invest in preparedness. There is no other way and go Extreme!