Tuesday, April 8, 2014

10 Tips to Training for a Marathon

Training for a marathon is almost always an imperfect process. This time around, I expect Boston to be an interesting 26.2 for me with my emotions, my love for the sport, and my appreciation for the supporters along the route running high. So being prepared mentally and physically is even more important.
I trained for the 2013 Boston Marathon without a true schedule, simply creating a training outline for myself from a page I ripped out of “Runner’s World” magazine. It was great and I loved my Yasso 800’s (created by the running guru himself Bart Yasso), but I didn't have a set schedule, group, or coach. For the 2013 NYC marathon, I chose the NYRR Virtual Training program. It was easy to sign up for, making a $45 commitment that allowed me to choose what day I wanted my long run, what day I wanted “off”, my goal race time, and how intensely I wanted to train. Plus, I GOT A COACH!! Yes, even though it is a virtual program, I have a live coach I can email back and forth with! And that is such a thrill because until last fall, I hadn't had a coach since 1996.
So here, from my experiences both running with and without a coach, are my 10 tips to successfully train for a marathon.
 10 Tips to Training for a Marathon
  1. Set a Goal and Commit. Make your goal to run the race public and it will help you commit to keeping it. To make it even more attainable, set smaller goals along the way to reinforce your commitment and give yourself some progress markers. For example, sign up for shorter races such as a 10k and a half marathon, and use them to practice pacing and running the second half faster than the first. 
  2. goals
    Set goals! It will help to get you to the start and across the finish
  3. Use a Training Plan. No matter how many races you have or haven't run, there’s a training plan out there that will help you run smarter and faster. Do some research and pick one to help you train. As I said, I love the NYRR Virtual Training Program. I was introduced to it when I decided to run the 2013 NYC Marathon, and it made a huge difference knowing what I should be focusing on and when. Mentally figuring out what to do to train is exhausting, so when you use a program and it tells you what to, it alleviates that stress and allows you to train smarter and with confidence. For me, it takes the thought out of it. I wake up, and I already know what I’m supposed to be doing that day. It’s like a mental sherpa.
To get the other eight tips and read the rest of this post, check out my Babble blog Semi-Chlorinated Life.