6 Essential Tips for Running a Marathon
After months of intensive training and anticipation, the big marathon day has finally arrived. But before you make your way to the start line, double-check that you are completely prepared. For the best long-distance run, review the following checklist of marathon essentials.
1. Stay Motivated
At times, reaching the finish line may seem impossible. Mental strength is as important as physical strength; stay positive for maximum endurance. Another great incentive, besides running to meet self-goals, is to do a race for charity – feeling good and doing good for the less fortunate is exceptionally rewarding.
2. Stay Hydrated
Start hydrating the day before the race. Don’t wake up thirsty and then find yourself without enough time to fully hydrate.
Also, most marathons will have plenty of water and aid stations with disposable cups to hydrate participants. However, if you don’t want to depend on these stops, carry your own fuel belt/hydration pack, or a handheld bottle with a strap for easy transport.
Whatever option you choose, remember to practice it well before the actual race so it does not affect your running. For example, if you plan to rely on water and aid stations, go on practice runs with water-filled paper cups on your path so you know how you can drink from them – without losing valuable time or momentum. With a hydration pack or fuel belt, wear it on rehearsal runs to recognize potential chafing issues. You will also be more accustomed to the water weight.
3. Stay Energized
During the race, you will need plenty of fuel to stay energized throughout the entire course. The body depletes stored carbohydrates while running, and within time – depending on how fast or how vigorously you are running – you will need to replenish these lost carbs. Available in an array of flavors such as chocolate, raspberry and even margarita, sports gels and energy chews are an effective quick fix.
These supplements will also give you electrolytes lost via body sweat, and some have a caffeinated energy boost as well. Give these energy boosts a try prior to the race, so you are sure your body can handle the taste and their ensuing effects, helping you avoid any nasty surprises.
Keep your collection of sports gels and energy supplements accessible with a lightweight endurance waist pack. The pack can also carry your keys and any other small necessities.
4. Prevent Chafing
Chafing occurs when opposite skin surfaces run against each other, or when clothes create painful friction against the skin. The prospect of chafing emphasizes the importance of wearing proper running clothes and shoes, though some runners might just have very sensitive skin.
Take further measures to prevent chafing, such as Sport Shield skin care to minimize friction from causing irritation, chafing and blisters on pressure points. Suggested application spots include the inside of thighs, over nipples and on feet and underarms. NipEAZE is a discreet product specifically for male and female runners who experience nipple chafing.
5. Dress Right
The right running attire will significantly improve your comfort and subsequently, your performance. Unfortunately, everyday gym wear is not adequate for a marathon run. Look for clothing and shoes specially designed for running, such as winter running gear and a focused sports bra that guarantees extra chafe-resistant relief.
With long distance running, wearing the correct pair of socks complements the correct pair of running shoes. Never wear cotton, which retains moisture and makes for a breeding ground of blisters. Instead, go for a pair that wicks moisture away from the foot. Wool running socks and synthetic blend running socks (like spandex and nylon) are better choices, albeit more expensive.
As for the top option, a popular sock choice – worn during and after the race – is a pair of CEP Running Compression Socks. These pricier socks provide advanced stitching technology and medical compression and protection to your feet, Achilles’ heel, calves and shins. The product includes a 30-day comfort guarantee and a 6-month compression guarantee.
6. Treat Yourself
If you need immediate post-run relief to relieve aching muscles or simply cannot afford a trip to the spa, a foam roller is a runner’s blessing. Perform a relieving self-massage to soothe, stretch and loosen any tender tendons with a foam roller. This compact tool shortens recovery time and increases flexibility.
Accomplishing a marathon is far from easy, but can be achieved. Do it the right way with the aforementioned runner tips for optimal results. Afterwards, heartily celebrate before you start to prepare for the next big race.