Calling All Marathoners: You MUST Read This Before Starting Your Training

Preparing for marathon training

When the airhorn blows over Dodger Stadium the morning of March 18, 2018, over 25,000 runners will take to the streets in the 33rd annual Sketchers Performance Los Angeles Marathon. Thousands of those participants will be making the attempt for the first time.

If you’re interested in counting yourself among these intrepid competitors, then the time to begin your training is now!

Completing a marathon is one of the most challenging tasks dreamt up for the purposes of human recreation. While hundreds of thousands of athletes may compete in the top 10 marathons across the U.S. and Canada, only 37% manage to make it to the finish line.

Throughout the course of your training, you’re likely to score some bumps and bruises along the way. An estimated 90% of marathon trainers will encounter an injury, induced either by trauma or stress. Training safely and effectively could help runners to avoid this fate. Read on to get the top tips our staff had for working up to that 26.2.

Step 1: Set Your Marathon Goals

For most athletes, the marathon isn’t about crossing the finish line. It’s about accomplishing a goal after months of planning and painstaking work.
Think about what your endgame might be for this marathon. Trying to beat an old personal record? Fundraising for a cause you’re passionate about?

Whatever your aims are, you’ll be more likely to reach them if you take a goal-oriented approach to your training decisions.

Step 2: Stick to a Training Schedule

A quick Google search can tell you that there is no one-size-fits-all schedule for marathon training. Some schedules ramp up quickly to help you get to that PB. Others ease you in, enabling you the safest return from an illness or injury.

Be honest with yourself about how much time you can commit to training. If you’re unsure, talk to your foot and ankle specialist. The team at UFAI has plenty of experience working with marathon runners. Give us a call. We love to help athletes accomplish their goals!

Marathon Foot and Ankle Pain

Step 3: Deal with Aches and Pains

Got a tweak in your ankle that just won’t go away? Deal with it now. You don’t want to go into marathon training with a needling pain.

Pain has a way of changing your gait, and throwing your body mechanics out of whack. Even if it seems small now, after miles and miles of pounding, that tiny molehill of a problem will become a mountain of related problems. Visit your foot and ankle specialist for a consultation in the next few weeks.

Step 4: Base Training

Dedicate the next 8-12 weeks to building your base. Base training is a concept that’s often misunderstood. It’s the period of time when you’re running your miles more slowly, working on bringing your aerobic energy system to its maximum efficiency.

Long distance runners need to train their bodies to burn fat, rather than rely on the carbohydrates they’ve recently consumed. Base training accomplishes just that: Prolonged aerobic exercise improves your muscles’ ability to transport oxygen and remove the buildup of lactate. This process increases your metabolism, teaching your body how to use energy – stored as fat – more efficiently.

Your base will differ based on the type of athlete you are, but generally you should run your miles while aiming for about 60-80% of your max heart rate. You’ll clock slower miles – for now – but your cardiovascular system will be ready to rock by the end of base season.

Step 5: Strength Training

Strength and conditioning has been shown to elevate performance and cut down on the risk of injury. Supplement your mileage each week with an integrated strength program that targets your quads, calves, glutes, and hammies.

Mud Run, Endurance Run, Marathon Running Los Angeles

Step 6: Run Other Races Before the Marathon

Try to complete another two or three shorter races in the months leading up to your marathon. Consider your smaller races test runs for trying out your gear, playlists, snacks, and energy boosters.

California is home to hundreds of races each year, from the traditional 5k and 10k fundraisers, to the more irreverent glow, color, and mud races. Be sure to register early – they can book up fast!

Step 7: Strike a Balance

Any new hobby that takes up a considerable amount of time can disrupt your work/life balance. Training for a marathon is no different. You’ll spend hundreds of hours running in the next few months – make sure your schedule works for your home, work, and family life, too!

You can try running early in the morning, while everyone else in your house is catching their last few Z’s. You might also want to invite your partner or a friend along with you on your journey. Running is a fun, healthy way to spend time together, and at the end, think of all you will have accomplished as a team!

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