Preparing for a marathon calls for a smart training schedule, an individually devised running strategy, and a balanced nutrition plan. Foreverfit gathers tips from experienced runners. 

Running a marathon is no easy feat. Preparation must begin months before the event, in the form of a hard core training regime. Marathons test you physical capabilities  and call for a sustained level of motivation, focus, and mental strength.

A well-balanced training schedule combined with a smart running strategy and balanced nutrition plan is the formula for success, say ace runners.

#1 Slow and steady to begin with

The key lies in starting preparations well in advance. Aspiring runners start their base runs at least a year before getting into the marathon mode. Concentrate on running 3 to 5 times a week to build your base, and one long run per week. Begin with shorter 5k, 10k targets to prepare your body and mind for a real marathon.

As IRONMAN Abhishek Mishra suggests, “As a beginner aiming to run a full 42 km, you need a minimum of 6 to 8 months of training to finish and go through it injury-free.” According to ultra-marathoner Anupriya Kapur, “It takes at least 4 to 5 half marathons before you can go for a full run.”

# 2 Build strength
Warm ups, functional movements, and stretches are training essentials for any runner. While most of the focus should be on strengthening your lower body, core building is also paramount. Concentrate on speed work with intervals and tempo runs to build your cardio capacity.

“The initial training phase should focus on increasing muscle strength and endurance. Once good endurance is achieved then focus can shift to speed and form,” advises Abhishek. While regular training is a must, it is important not to over train, since this may lead to muscle strain and injury.

#3 Keep the nutrition high

It is important to maintain a nutritious diet throughout the training phase. A high-protein diet is ideal for a runner, as it helps to speedup recovery and builds good muscle. Include leafy greens and fresh fruits along with healthy carbohydrate sources in your pre-run meal.

Anupriya’s personal favourites include bananas, dates, and peanut butter sandwich. High-protein post-run foods include almonds, eggs, avocadoes, and walnuts that add about 200 to 300 calories. “Women runners also need a good supply of iron and calcium,” adds Anupriya.

While proper sleep and rest are crucial for a good recovery, it is also fundamentally important to maintain adequate hydration during a run. Abhishek warns rookie runners to stay away from processed foods, refined sugar products, smoking, and alcohol.

#4 Choose the right attire

Investing in good-quality running shoes makes all the difference. A good pair should offer the best support for your soles, along with ample room for instep movement while running. Running clothes must also be light and suited to the climate.  “The clothes you wear must be comfortable,” says Anupriya. “A cotton t-shirt and a pair of running shorts is good to go, unless you like fancy high tech gear.”  A sports bra is an essential part of a woman runners kit.