01 Aug beginning training
5 Great Habits to Start your Marathon Training
The beginning of marathon training is exciting and daunting. Let’s talk about some initial considerations in the first few weeks that will pave the way for a smooth training season.
1. Focus on quality since the quantity is low. This doesn’t necessarily mean speed. Think more about paying attention to your posture. Keeping your abdominal muscles slightly engaged, your head high, shoulders relaxed back and arms light is key. Look at your cadence; the number of steps you take a minute. Your cadence should be quick enough that your feet are landing UNDER your body, not out in front. If you are landing on your heel stretched out in front of you, consider increasing your cadence. Also work on contracting your glute muscles when you ‘push off’ on each side especially up hill. Make sure not to power through using your calves only. They will only fatigue.
2. How do your shoes feel? Are you feeling like there is room to move around in there, is there compression or redness anywhere, do you generally feel you don’t think about your feet or is something bothering you taking up your focus? The beginning is a great time to see a therapist or health care professional focusing on running to get a better recommendation.
3. Nutrition: Start to figure out what foods fuel your running better than others. Experiment with different meals, shakes and liquids. Finding the perfect training foods is key! Remember these really are the last few weeks/month that traditional dieting to lose weight is recommended. As the training continues and mileage increases, restricting calories is not a good idea.
4. Warm up: Start working on a proper warm up, something that you can stick to and that isn’t timely…and factor in that time each and every run. Even if you only dedicate 5-10 minutes that’s all you need. A nice active warm up including some active stretches is your best bet. Try to include the major muscle groups such as the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps and glutes. If you have some injuries to keep at bay, add extra stretching before and after for these specific problems. These can be static stretches as long as you have warmed up a bit. Never stretch cold.
5. Get a good physical! Anyone training for a marathon should have a good physical by a good doctor. Preferably an EKG would be nice. Many heart problems that are catastrophic for athletes can be found in a single EKG. A stress test would be even better! Even getting routine blood tests will help determine your starting point; blood sugar, salt levels, vitamins, etc.
Happy training season!