Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment. It’s not just a physical challenge – but also a mental one. 42 kilometers is a long way to run. But what should you know before you accept the ultimate marathon challenge?
We’ve got the lowdown on 42 things you need to know before you run that 42k.
Let’s start from the top!
1. Run it By Your Doctor
If you’ve never run a marathon before, consider getting a health check-up. Do this before you sign up for a race. A marathon is a huge undertaking. You want to cover all your bases. For example, if you have a serious heart condition, running a marathon might not be the best fitness goal. In fact, it could seriously jeopardize your health. But there are a variety of options out there! So, if you can’t run a marathon, don’t give up. Keep trying. You’ll find an activity that works for you and your life – it just might not be running a marathon (and that’s okay!).
2. Sign Up for a Marathon Race
You’re in great health and shape. You’re ready to start training! But first, you need to sign up for a marathon race. Once you sign up, you’re committed. You have a date. You can now make a plan. Plus, this is the first actionable step toward actually running a whole 42 kilometers. And remember, the first step is always the hardest. Go for it – sign up.
3. Tell Your Friends and Family
Start telling people you’ve signed up. It holds you accountable. It means you have to follow through. If you want to go all out, consider posting on social media. It works wonders for accountability. It can also help you keep track of your training plan.
4. Consider a Running Buddy
Again, this one comes down to accountability. You can train together. You can even run the actual race together. Ask a friend or a family member to join you on your journey. Keep each other motivated. You’ve got this!
5. Buy Long-Distance Running Shoes
If you don’t already have running shoes, buy them. Make sure they are appropriate for running long distances. The right shoes make a huge difference. The wrong shoes can lead to injuries and pain. In turn, you might not be ready to run on race day. And don’t try out new shoes on race day. Doing so is setting yourself up for injuries – not to mention uncomfortable and painful blisters.
6. Find Comfy Socks
The last thing you want is a sock falling down your foot during your race. Purchase running socks. There are so many varieties out there. Consider testing a few different ones during training. Find your favorite type or brand – and wear it come race day.
7. Prepare for Long Runs to Take Up Half of Your Sundays
A marathon is 42 kilometers – 42.195 if we’re being nitty gritty. It’s far. It takes hours to run that distance. The average person takes 4-5 hours to run a full marathon. So, get ready to dedicate most of your Sundays to training. Soon, you’ll be running for more than a couple of hours at a time.
8. Train, Train, Train!
Come up with a game plan. How will you train? How many times a week will you run? Map it out. Bonus: There are a lot of existing marathon training plans out there. If you are unsure how to train, look them up. Another thing to consider here is cross-training. Running 5x a week may do more harm than good. Throw in spinning or cardio work on the stairmaster or elliptical. It will pump up your cardio, without the risk of overtraining.
9. Ramp Up Your Mileage Slowly
Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t do too much, too soon. Again, you’ll risk injury and major setbacks. Slowly increase your mileage and duration. And only do this when you’re ready.
10. Read Up About Past Marathons
What can you expect? What is a good goal for you? How do people feel before, during, and after? Do your research – especially if you’ve never run a marathon before. You might find out tips and tricks you didn’t know you needed.