A marathon is a long-distance foot race where a standard distance of 26.2 miles and is named after Greek messenger Pheidippides. If you are new to a marathon or even running, then the distance is definitely a significant constraint for you. The distance of 26.2 miles is quite long for an inexperienced runner but taking the challenge is indeed worthy for many reasons.
If you are aspiring to run a marathon, then here are 10 things that guide you to be a good marathon runner.
Training is the first step to choose when running a marathon. The level training required for beginners is different from that of regular marathon runners. Hence it is essential to select a realistic training plan, which in general range from 12 weeks to 20 weeks. It is recommended for beginners to start training much in advance to the marathon to ensure that their running skills are improved over some time rather than exerting unbearable stress.
Marathons drain you both physically and emotionally and are a big commitment. You are expected to stick to your running schedules no matter what comes up and need to put in extra hours of efforts if required. Having a person with similar goals by your side will motivate you and encourage you to achieve your marathon goals. Try to find a running buddy with the help of running clubs, running forums or online running blogs.
3. Goal Setting
The primary goal of any first-time marathon runner should be to finish the marathon. But anything achievement higher than that is just icing on the cake. A 5K park run seems to be easy for you but running a 26.2 miles marathon can rip you apart after a point and hence it is crucial pull it all together by pushing things harder beyond that barrier. Adapting and adjusting are the two essential things that you need to get trained when running a marathon.
4. Practising the Longest Run
Often people worry about the distance that needs to be worked when training for a marathon. But distance is only criteria for a marathon runner; the runner should work more on ‘time on feet’. How quickly you recover from the run is the crucial thing that needs to be focused on than the distance that needs to be covered. Training three to four weeks before the event will ideally put you in a better position and prevent you from tired feet on the marathon day.
5. Diet for a Marathon Runner
The diet of the marathon runner depends entirely on the goal. It is advisable not to go overboard with energy drinks, and recovery shakes but consume enough to replace lost carbohydrates and proteins which helps in muscle repair. Having a nutritional and balanced diet at least from a week before the marathon is recommended. Drinking plenty of water, less alcohol and adequate sleep can prove to be quite useful for a runner in the event.
The above 5 factors are crucial for a marathon runner, but certain secondary factors need to be considered by a runner to be successful in a marathon.
6. Portable Toilets
It is generally believed that runners have a complicated interaction and relationship with toilets. Having a good portable toilet during a marathon relieves the runner from the unwanted stress building up in the body due to the energy drinks and water consumed to keep the body hydrated. Making portable toilets available before, during and after the marathon is much appreciated by the runners. These compact units enhance the performance of the runners by helping them to expel the excel liquid or protein bars consumed during the run. The portable toilets in a marathon are valued and appreciated by the runners as they have a direct effect on their performance.
7. Running GPS watches
Most of the runners have a standard fitness tracker, to track their steps are done and performance. But GPS watches are becoming increasingly popular with runners as these are loaded with robust features which is more of a mobile computer than an advanced pedometer.
The GPS watches for runners are designed to track every move and position of the runner and also provide a detailed analysis of the health and fitness of the wearer. The advanced GPS watches include heart rate monitoring, speed, rest times and pace. These navigating devices are the best companions for marathon trainers and athletes. However, before buying one, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the technology and features of the modern GPS watches available on the market today.
If you are considering buying a GPS watch with advanced features, then here are a few things that you need to consider before deciding on one. You can buy one depending on your needs as the market is not short on options.
- Battery life
- Date Tracking
- Heart Rate Monitoring
- Extra accessories
- Training Modes
- And Mobile-friendly features
8. Trail Cameras
Physical fitness is crucial for any marathon runner, and you do not want to be the weakest partner in the group. You do not want to look weak in the marathon pictures; after all, it is a memorable event of your life. Capturing marathon moments is fun as the activity can be relived again and again throughout your life by looking at the fantastic captures of the game.
Shooting marathon pictures seems to be fun but not comfortable with ordinary cameras and smartphones. Capturing action in motion is not an easy task unless you are trained for it or have a piece of equipment to take care of capturing. Long-distance shots are time-consuming and tedious tasks and involve a lot of stopping to capture pictures. Thanks to the availability of trail cameras which take care of the job effortlessly.
Trail cameras are automated cameras which need no manual input for capturing photographs. All you need to do is set up the camera to capture the images while you are away running a marathon. If you think they are expensive for their advanced functions, they need not always cost more. Today market is flooded with trial cameras that are suitable for all budgets; a little research into the market and reading trail camera reviews will help you find the device that best fits your needs and budget.
The trail camera seems to be overwhelming for the first-time buyers as it may look completely different from an ordinary camera. However, do not carry away or get confused with your first impressions of the device, a detailed study of the features and fantastic picture capturing capacity makes them valuable pieces for a marathon.
9. Portable Water Filters
Keeping the body hydrated during a marathon is the key to success for all the runners. Carrying clean drinking water is essential as natural water bodies are often contaminated with the disease spreading bacteria, animal farces and other dirt. Relying on the water from lakes and streams on the way can prove detrimental to the health of the runner.
All outdoor water bodies are contaminated with different forms of toxins and pathogens. So, what is the source of clean drinking water when running a marathon? If you don´t have a water filter in your home to fill your bottle with clean water before your go there are few portable water purifiers which are designed exclusively for runners.
The portable water filters are designed for runners that only weight less than a pound, making them highly portable. There are several types of portable water filters on the market for the runners to choose based on their requirements. Modern-day portable water filters are designed in a way to deliver pure drinking water instantly.
There are different types of portable water filters on offer in the market. We have listed the most popular and efficient below to help you make an informed decision.
- Filters or purifiers contain a delicate membrane that removes fibres, debris and microbes to prevent you from consuming them and purifiers kills diseases causing bacteria in the water. The combination of filters and purifiers is one of the effective purification processes.
- Water purification tablets containing chlorine or iodine will kill most of the microbes but can add an unpleasant odour to the water.
- Electrolysis method of the purification is new to the market and are called as Mixed oxidant purifiers. The process uses a form of salt and electricity to kill the microbes in the water.
- Ultraviolet pens are the latest water purifiers in the market which uses ultraviolet rays to kills the microbes in the water. The pen-shaped device needs to be held in water to be purified and needs to be stirred until the light disappears.
- Multi-stage filtration system with multiple filtration processes removes the microbes in the water efficiently with the help of carbon filter and a fine filter. The screen can be inserted in a water bottle when collecting water into the bottle.
10. Relaxing Massage after the Marathon
Running a marathon is undoubtedly an achievement, but recovering quickly after each marathon is crucial for regular runners to get back to training. An excellent relaxing massage after a marathon is known to improve the runners soon after a hard workout at the marathon. A good massage before the run can relieve stress and helps your muscles to relax.
But it is crucial to schedule massages at the right time for the runner to maximize its value. Massages are not cheap and hence need to be scheduled at the right time to make the most out of them. Deep tissue massages improve blood flow and relax the muscles by stimulating the circulatory system. The massage facilitates the increase of oxygen in the blood resulting in flushing out toxins and increase in nutrient absorption. If you are serious about running and want to keep in top shape you might consider investing in a massage chair for your home so you can enjoy a relaxing deep-tissue massage after every run.
There are several benefits of a massage after a marathon for runners which include; stimulation of circulatory system, reducing soreness in muscles, improved flexibility, improved nutrient absorption and increased oxygen levels in the blood.
Deep tissues massages should be considered as a type of workout as they tend to leave your body sore due to the elimination of waste products at a cellular level. Hence the deep tissue massages should be scheduled strategically.
A massage should always be scheduled after a run. Make sure that the race on the following day of the massage is easy to help the recovery process of the body. This way, one can avail all the benefits of the massage.
A strenuous running session on the following day of massage will only contract your muscles resulting in dehydration of muscles and introduction of more waste products. Scheduling a massage after an easy run will help the muscles to relax and refreshed rather than stressing them.
Bonus: Shelter from the Elements
Running a marathon in favourable weather conditions is extremely difficult for many runners. Bad weather can have an adverse effect on the runner’s performance as even a slight change in the weather condition may require an increase in efforts. Running in the cold, rain or extreme heat is not exciting for any runner. However, the weather conditions cannot be changed when running a marathon, so it is wise to make yourself an all-weather proof runner.
Challenging weather can always be overcome with the right marathon gear and accessories.
Implementing innovative strategies and preparing ahead for a marathon can help you avoid extreme weather conditions that affect your running. The right type of shelters helps you to protect from severe weather such as rain or wind.
An insulated tent can be of great help in extremely cold places. But if you are running in a moderately warm place, then you may need a portable heater in your tent. However, in excessively hot regions, a tent with an air conditioner may be extremely helpful to keep the runners fresh.
Today many types of portable air conditioners are efficient and affordable for you to choose depending on your marathon requirements. The portable air conditioners reduce excessive heat in the tent and make the place pleasant with bearable heat.