When training for a marathon, everyone will have different aims and objectives, but hope to arrive at the start line in the best physical and psychological condition possible.
I have treated a large number of people who have “broken down”, often very close to a race. There are some basic principles that are worth thinking about.
Most training shoes require replacement after approximately 500 miles. Wear one pair in whilst one is wearing out. Have your running/foot pattern properly assessed so that you buy a pair that is suitable for you. Many shops will “advise” you, but a proper running shop is recommended. Video gait analysis is the best way of looking at your running pattern and this is undertaken at the County Clinic.
Identify a realistic training regime based on your current level of fitness and aspirations. Many are available on running websites. Follow the plan. Rest is as important as the running and is needed for the body to recover.
Food and water
It is important to stay hydrated. Drink when you feel thirsty, many runners overdrink which can cause serious medical problems. Weigh yourself after a run and replace the weight loss with fluid. There is no good evidence that “sotonic sports drinks” are required. Recovery after training is aided by eating carbohydrate food – energy bars, energy gels, fruit, bagels and sugary snacks are all good options.
Small problems should correct themselves after a few days of rest. If they do not, with increasing training demands, the problem will probably get worse preventing you training or even competing. Seek professional help early. Physiotherapists are ideally suited to identify and correct many of the problems encountered. If there is an area that is consistently becoming sore after running then it is the early warning of a potential issue. These are probably easily solved biomechanical issues of tightness and weakness. An early visit to the physiotherapist will help sort this out before it becomes a problem. This weakness and tightness is prevalent in even the most season runner. When you are new to running you cannot expect your body to be perfectly tuned. Tweaks and a service will be necessary!
Warm up and cool down
After training warm down. Stretch each muscle group 2-4 times with 20 second holds. Stretching should not be forced. Contrast hot and cold showers may help relieve post exercise pain and stiffness.
There are many websites and magazines packed full of advice and tips. There will be a running club close to you with members happy to pass on their experiences.