An ACE (American Council On Exercise) Group Fitness Instructor and ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) Certified Fitness Instructor, specializing in Integrated Fitness Training & Back Solutions – Manika's experience of over fifteen years has seen her practice in Germany & successfully design fitness programs in Singapore (Ready! Set! Go!) and India.
She specializes in Weight Management, Sports Specific Training such as Marathons and Tennis, Bodyweight Conditioning and Training, Balance Ball and Resistance Bands' Training, Core Conditioning, Strength Training and Fitness Nutrition.
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Are you a first time marathoner about to embark on your marathon running journey? Are you wondering about how to manage your marathon training?
If you are, get ready for the toughest adventure of your life. But make it your greatest. By training right.
My first piece of advice?
Until you have met your physician. He will need to clear your cardiac, musculoskeletal and other clinical conditions. Until you have planned your marathon training.
Or, are you an experienced marathoner who is gearing up for your marathon training yet again?
You already know the ropes. You how tough it is. You probably want to improve your race and pace, so you will soon begin the early or late long, long hours of running.
My advice to you?
Don’t just run.
Run right this time.
So lets take a look at what do you do for your marathon training? You run. And run. And run.
It’s all about how much you can run.
Put as many miles behind you as you can.
That should work.
That is what every marathon training website will tell you to do.
That is what your running peers will tell you to do.
How much should you run, how youshould set up your schedule to build and increase your long runs, how to pace yourself, how to hydrate and how to recover. It’s all out there.
And you are right.
Somewhere during your first marathon training or if you are lucky after you run your first, second or third marathon your knees start clicking or popping or even hurting. After the first few miles, you can barely breathe. You feel your chest will burst. Your body feels heavy. Your soreness doesn’t go away. You are not able to better your pace. But its part of the game, your peers will again reassure you. So you run along.
The thing is, simply putting miles behind you won’t do it. Preparing for the Long Run in marathon training is a hygiene factor; you don’t have a marathon without it. To run a marathon successfully and healthfully you need to approach your marathon training with multiple fitness strategies.
Why do we need a fitness regime for Marathons?
Aren’t running the long miles during marathon training a form of fitness by itself?” Running those huge miles can make you lose weight, increase your heart rate and workout your muscles. Preparing for and managing those Long Runs itself is a daunting task. You don’t want to add to your troubles. You don’t have the time.
If you want to just somehow run and complete a race, do so, but if you want to run strong and healthy now and further years to come, you will need to make the time.
To run without injury.
To run without cardiac issues.
To run without getting exhausted.
What does fitness for Marathons entail?
Fitness for marathon training involves a lot more than Long Runs. Marathon training isn’t just about building for that one Long Run per week until the final; what matters is the cumulative running you do. If you do only one big run over the weekend, you will eventually injure because you will end up jolting your legs over the Long Run.
Talking about legs, you may have been running; the question is, are your legs strong enough to withstand the rigor of a marathon? Your Quadriceps, your Hamstrings?Your Hip Flexors, Core, Glutes? You will need body fitness and strength, to last the run. You will need good body posture and balance to run without injury. You will need to make Strength Training a part of your marathon training.
You also have to consider how to work on your running pace. People will tell you that marathon training and running is all about running longer, slower and completing the race, but it is important to build your pace. You will need to do a couple of Speed Runs per week.
Another important element of marathon training is today’s buzzword, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Everyone’s doing it. How is it relevant to marathon training? It gets your body ready to consume and process oxygen better. This is extremely important, as a marathon is a long drawn activity with the body demanding a load of oxygen. HIIT helps you provide “greater horsepower for the body’s aerobic engine”, as Jason Karp, Idea Personal Trainer of the year 2011 puts it so well.
And lastly, you may have begun your marathon training early or late; whichever it is, you have to Taper-off your training before the final Long Run. It is imperative to do this so that you reduce training stress and recover before the run. If you don’t, you will carry a tired body into the race and not finish well what you started.
By now you must feel like your life just got really complicated. All you wanted to do was run a marathon. But take a step back and review what you just read; all the roads converge to the same goal…
And don’t forget to watch this space for further guidance on each of the marathon training strategies.