Top Tips for Marathon training –
- Strength Training – most of a marathon runners’ training will obviously involve endless hours pounding the streets, however, spending some time in the gym will definitely lead to improvements in your running and recovery times. Historically running coaches have dismissed resistance training, claiming extra weight and bulk is bad for a runner, however, more are now in agreement that resistance training leads to a greater power output per stride and quicker recovery times between runs. Just ensure that your time in the gym is scheduled around your shorter distance days. It is also important to remember not to neglect upper body resistance training as a strong upper body leads to a strong running arm movement.
- Electrolyte Drinks – most people are aware that to perform at your best your body must be well hydrated, in fact performance can decrease by up to 20%. What many people aren’t aware of, however, is a condition called Hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is a condition caused by drinking excessive plain water during an endurance event, which leads to a low concentration of sodium in the blood, causing a massive decrease in performance. To avoid this ensure you regularly consume electrolytes with your water whilst running.
- Nutrition – carb loading is a practice commonly used by endurance athletes and when done properly can lead to massive performance improvements. It is important, however, to note that the protocol will be slightly different for each individual and event type. If you are planning on carb loading for a big event always practice a few times before hand for smaller training runs or build up events, in order to discover the ideal timescale for adequate depletion and loading. Just as important as the nutrition before a race or training session is the nutrition immediately following. Your bodies recovery rate is quickest during the two hours straight after exercise, meaning this is the best time to get important nutrients into it. The recommended levels are 1g of carbohydrates per kg body mass for the two hours post exercise. It has also been shown that combining protein with carbohydrates leads to optimal recovery. Look for your recovery drinks to contain 20-40g of protein and 60-120g of carbohydrates.
- Footwear – having the correct footwear for running is a must if you are looking to improve and remain injury free. The technology and expense involved in trainer design is staggering, with each brand having their own unique selling point as to why you should choose them. But how do you choose? The best answer is that you don’t. Most decent running shops will now offer a free gait analysis before you purchase running shoes, which will tell them which level of support and cushioning will work best with your own specific Gait. You may pay a little more for your trainers than popping into your local sports shop, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run (excuse the pun!!!).