What to Do Before Starting to Train for a Marathon?

What to Do Before Starting to Train for a Marathon?

Deciding to run a marathon can be a huge commitment. Usually, it takes months of training to get into shape for a marathon. This takes constant hard work and can have a toll on your body.

Not to mention, the race itself can be incredibly physically taxing.

Therefore, you have to prepare before you make that decision.

This is especially true for amateur runners. So, if you’re wondering what to do before starting to train for a marathon, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s take a look at some of the preparations you need to make Before Starting to Train for a Marathon.

What to Do Before Starting to Train for a Marathon

Physical Check-Up

The average participant can run a marathon in about four and a half hours. This makes marathons one of the most physically demanding races.

So, you need to ensure your muscles are in tip-top shape.

Before you make a major decision, like running a marathon, you have to be sure your body can handle the stress.

There’s nothing worse than starting a training program and finding out you can’t finish it.

Thus, the first thing you should do is go in for a physical check-up. Ask your doctor for a general workup.

This should include measuring your blood pressure, heart rate, and your breathing rate.

Your doctor may order a few extra tests to check your overall health. Depending on the results, the doctor should be able to tell you whether you can run the race.

After getting a clean bill of health, you’re ready to start your marathon journey.

Planning Out Your Schedule

Once you’re cleared to run a marathon from a medical point of view, it’s time to plan it from a personal one.

Marathons are an incredibly time-consuming activity. If you plan on doing well during the race, you need to devote a lot of time to getting your body into shape.

That means you need to carve time out of your schedule for your training. You also need to keep in mind that this process takes months.

Most people run about 5 miles a day, three times a week, when starting to train for a marathon.

That’s on top of a weekly full-body workout. Thus, you need to free up time during your weekly schedule to fit in these training sessions.

Planning out your schedule ahead of time can make your life much easier. It’ll also tell you if you have the time to take on a marathon or not.

Finding Out Your Weaknesses

When you run, you use all the muscles in your lower body and your core muscles. After your physical exam, you should have some sort of idea of what your body is capable of.

This includes its abilities and limitations.

With this knowledge, you can start to plan for your marathon training. Pointing out your weaknesses can help you focus your efforts.

For example, if your knees burn shortly after any activity, you may need to work the muscles around them. Likewise, if you have back problems, you should start a treatment plan in alignment with your marathon preparation.

Moreover, you can work on improving your stamina. If you can’t run long distances without breathing heavily, you can start incorporating endurance training into your plan.

However, knowing your body’s capabilities is only half the battle. Marathons are about much more than using your muscles.

It’s a race of endurance. So, not only do you need to work on your physical weaknesses, but also your mental ones.

Choose a Training Plan

What to Do Before Starting to Train for a Marathon: Personal trainer using timer while sportswoman is running on treadmill

Marathon training isn’t one-size-fits-all. Depending on your physical condition, you need to alter any program to fit your needs.

Doing this can be a little tricky. If you’re not familiar with all your muscles, you can’t know where to start.

For this reason, many people decide to hire a coach. Your coach can tell you exactly what to do to get the most out of your training sessions.

However, if you prefer not to get a coach, you can still train independently. Working out alone can give you excellent results, and your training will be more flexible.

The trick is to try a couple of training programs before you commit to one.

This will give you an idea of how to work on your body, and you can come up with a personalized routine that works for you.

Pre-Training Exercise

Even though a marathon training program can give you all the tools you need to finish a marathon, it’s not all you need.

It’s a good idea to exercise before you start your marathon training. This doesn’t have to be an intense workout.

The workout can involve stretching, weight-lifting, or even swimming.

No matter the form of exercise, it should help build up your muscles because too much running can break some muscles down.

For example, you can work on your core muscles to improve your posture. This can also allow you to work on any of your weaknesses before you start training.

However, if you do exercise before you start training, avoid working out your legs. You shouldn’t completely cut out leg day, but decrease the workout load.

As part of your training, you spend months working on your leg muscles. So, it might be a good idea to give them a rest before all the hard work starts.

Work on Your Relationship With Training

One of the biggest issues that face marathon runners is following through. Since you start training at least a few months in advance, many people burn out before race day.

They find it hard to stay motivated while working out.

That is why it’s crucial for you to work on your relationship with training beforehand.

Working out is almost always difficult in the beginning. All your muscles are sore, and it takes a while before you see any results.

To avoid demotivation, set clear and realistic goals. Take your measurements before starting, and re-take them every month or so to see how far you’ve come.

Moreover, you might also want to try a reward system. Every time you reach one of your goals, you get a treat.

Improve Your Running Form

Even though you should be resting your legs, it doesn’t mean you can’t use them. In fact, there are many other ways you can work on your legs other than exercise.

One of those ways is working on your running form.

What Is Running Form?

Woman running with white background

Running form is the position your body holds while you run. This involves your entire body from head to toe.

Depending on your muscles and health condition, this may be different for everyone.

When you’re running, you don’t only use your lower body muscles. You also use many of your upper body, like your abdominal muscles.

Abdominal muscles help you stay upright, which is crucial when you’re running. Being hunched down can slow you down significantly in a race.

Your arms also play a major role in increasing your speed. They allow you to maintain your balance and momentum.

Therefore, having excellent form can help you perform much better during a race.

How to Improve Running Form Before Starting to Train for a Marathon

There are a few different techniques you can try to improve your running form. Some of these techniques include:

  • Engage your core while running
  • Don’t slump down your shoulders
  • Avoid tilting to the front and back; you should be running up-right
  • Keeps your arms and hands loose at all times
  • Broaden your chest to improve your posture and breathing
  • Swing your arms back and forth to create momentum
  • Don’t hit the floor with your heels; instead, use the ball of your foot

Other than better performance, having good running form can also mean fewer injuries.

Focus on Nutrition

An aspect of marathon preparation that some people ignore is nutrition. Building up your muscles requires many nutrients and minerals.

So, before you start training, it may be a good idea to ensure your body has all its needs. All you need is a well-balanced diet and maybe a few supplements.

You also need to keep in mind your eating schedule. It’s crucial that you have a fixed nutrition schedule before any type of intense training.

Your nutrition plan has to revolve around a balanced diet. That means you need all the main food groups, including proteins, dairy, and carbohydrates.

Calculate the required minimum amounts of these nutrients according to your weight and activity level, and make sure to give your body all it needs.

Getting used to a schedule early will mean you can get over the adjustment period before you have to train.

Not only can good nutrition fuel you up, but it can also come in handy for recovery. Your muscles will need nutrients to recover from stress and exercise.

Before Starting to Train for a Marathon, Get Ready

Before Starting to Train for a Marathon, you need to gear up. There are a few items you’re going to need during your training. These items may include:

  • Sneakers
  • Workout attire
  • Running glasses
  • Chafing cream

A good pair of sneakers can make all the difference. They can help boost your speed and support your feet to carry you through the finish line.

Other than sneakers, you’ll also need a full outfit to workout out. It’s best if you choose something that helps you cut down on friction, like frictionless shorts.

You can also choose to add running glasses to your outfit. They help keep the sun out of your eyes and protect them from any debris.

Finally, one of the most important tools in your marathon kit is chafing cream. Without it, you may find running for long periods incredibly uncomfortable.

Wrapping Up

Running a marathon can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a tonne of work. It can take months to get you into running shape.

Still, if you’re interested in marathon training, you need a few preparations. This article covers what to do before starting to train for a marathon.