8 Things You Have to Know for Running a Marathon
by JP Slater
Thinking about running a marathon? While we fully support your goal, we want to make sure you know what you’re up against so you can tackle that race head on. Running expert JP Slater has 8 points you shouldn’t ignore before you go for the full marathon!
1. It is no walk in the park
Choosing to tackle a marathon is no small task. Legend has it that the marathon stems from Pheidippides carrying a message of victory from Marathon to Athens back in Ancient Greece and then collapsing to his death upon arrival. So make sure you are ready to whip yourself into shape and gear up for an incredible journey!
2. Train smart
Once you’ve decided you want to conquer the marathon, make sure to get smart about training. People can tend to get a little carried away wanting to frantically make sure they are in shape and they end up burning themselves out before they ever reach the start line. So make sure you carefully plan out when, where, and how you will get ready for your marathon.
3. Pick a date and venue
This can be grouped in with training smart, but picking a date is important to hold you accountable for your training. Make sure to choose a date that gives you plenty of time to prepare. A good training timeline for a marathon is usually around 12 weeks, which should give you ample time to get in shape and get the solid base you need come race day in order to blaze the 26.2 mile distance! Besides the date, the course is also important in setting up your training. Make sure you prepare for whatever terrain you may face on race day.
4. Set a goal
Once you have picked your date, it’s time to set a realistic goal in order to make sure you don’t over or underestimate your abilities. Taking a look at your fitness background and past training can help you gauge where you want to be on race day and allow you to form your training around that goal.
5. Make sure to give your body the right foods
One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that once they start running (especially marathon training) they can “eat whatever they want!” While yes, you have a little more freedom now that you are out there blazing the trail, you still need to make sure your body is getting what it needs. Carbohydrates are important, but make sure you are getting healthy carbs (keep to whole grains if you can). Along with good carbs, make sure you are getting plenty of leafy greens and some red meats to help recovery.
6. Find YOUR shoe
Not all strides, feet, and preferences are the same. Picking a shoe based on how it looks or just because this or that person told you it was good, does not always make it the best shoe for you. Though you may want to get whatever shoe you want, come race day your feet and ensuing blisters will not be thanking you. So make sure to try on and test a few different shoes before race day to assure the next day you are not cursing yourself for what you put your feet through.
7. Practice Fueling
Come race day you are definitely going to need fuel. Whether you’re taking some chews to get some sugar and carbs, or drinking an electrolyte water, you will need something to help you reach the finish line. Even the best women and men in the world are using fuel to help them reach the finish, so during your training learn how to fuel while still moving to help maximize efficiency and help you get to the finish in record time.
8. Have Fun
Above all the training, stress, bathroom breaks, blisters, etc…. Running is about having fun! So when getting ready for your marathon enjoy the process, don’t overthink it and just take each mile as it comes. Trust your training and know that no matter what happens, whether you run the world record or just barely make it to the finish, enjoy it all. Even the best marathoners in the world will tell you at the end of the day: it’s all about having fun and pushing your body further than you ever thought possible. So get out there and hit the streets and experience a journey you will remember for the rest of your life!
JP Slater was born and raised in Los Angeles, Ca. He attended UC Berkeley, where he was the captain of the Cross Country and Track and Field teams. JP has the third fastest 10,000-meter time in Berkeley school history. After finishing school in 2014, he started racing professionally. JP has been involved in competitive running for over 10 years and will continue to race on the elite scene for as long as he can stay competitive. Slater says: “I’m super into eating healthy and living a healthy active lifestyle.”