If running a marathon were easy, everyone would do it, so when tackling such a huge feat you may as well prepare to ease the pain. Conditioning your body to withstand distance is a great start, but before you start clocking up the km's, there are steps you can take to ensure your body is up to the challenge.
MH recently caught up with Head Coach of Sydney's Nike Run Club, Matty Abel, to get some tips on preparing for your big race, both in training and on the day.
Nutrition is a huge factor when it comes to training and competing in any sport, and as Matty explains, it's crucial to test a variety of snacks and product before your race. You will want to be aware of what gels, supplements, and foods make you feel great, and the ones that irritate your stomach. Experiment with the timing of your snacks based on a nutritionist's advice, and figure out what delivers you the greatest burst of energy when you need it. This should be as much a part of your training program as actual running.
One of the most upsetting parts of training is your body giving up. Don't let this happen and give yourself the best chance to perform at your peak by loosening your joints, warming the muscles, and preparing the synapses needed to hit the track. Sitting at a desk all day is one of the greatest inhibitors of hip mobility especially, so follow Matty's drills to get loose:
- Start with a light jog
- Short distance high knees
- Butt kicks
- A Skips
- Little Sprints no more than 20 metres
- Hip Stretches
- Hamstring Stretches
Strong legs equal an increase in force being applied to the ground. An increase in force equals greater distance for each stride. Essentially, if you have strong legs, you can get further in less steps. The maths seems simple! It all adds up to your overall running economy, ensuring you can go the distance whilst working the most efficient way possible. To strengthen your legs, mix in some of these Matty-prescribed body weight and gym based movements that will target your marathon muscles:
- Walking Lunges
- Squats (body weight, back squat, and front squat)
- Step Ups (body weight and weighted)
- Core Exercises
Stay tuned to Men's Health for more tips from Matty as you work towards your 42km milestone, or join him in person at Sydney's Nike Run Club.