26.2 Tips for Tackling a Marathon
Mario Fraioli—The marathon is a tall task, whether it’s your first time running 26.2 miles or your 50th. To equal each mile you’ll cover, here are top tips, smart suggestions and expert insights to help ensure you have the best possible race day.
1. Set A Goal
Whether it’s running a personal best, qualifying for Boston or simply crossing the finish line, set a goal shortly after signing up for the race. Your training will have a sense of purpose. Set a goal that’s realistic but also makes you a little nervous — because you know it’s going to take some work to achieve. Can you do it? That’s why you run the race: to find out!
2. Gear Up
You’ll want to make sure your gear is able to handle a few months of marathon training, as well as the race itself. Go to a specialty running store and get fit for proper training shoes. Invest in apparel (shirts, shorts, socks and bras, for the ladies) made of technical fabrics and fibers that will wick moisture and keep you comfortable when you sweat. Lastly, prepare for the season: As we get into fall, a lightweight running jacket, pants and/or tights will keep you comfortable when the temperature starts to cool off.
3. Alternate Shoes
When you’re marathon training, the only thing that takes as much of a beating as your body is your shoes. And you can usually minimize the pounding on your joints by keeping your shoes fresh. A good pair of running shoes will last you around 500 miles, or 2 to 4 months, depending on your weekly mileage. Rotate between two pairs of shoes when you’re training, and break in a new pair about a month before your race.
4. Keep A Log
Your most important reference tool during training will track your mileage, times and how you feel on any given day. Whether you pencil in a notebook or fill in an online journal from your smartphone, you will see how far your training takes you.