By Kelan Stanfill
So you signed up for your first half or full marathon…. now what?? In addition to planning your training runs, you will also need to think about hydration, nutrition and recovery. While there are many different training theories, I have compiled a few basic tips that I wish I had followed when I trained for my first marathon.
- Invest in a hydration belt and a handheld water bottle.
It’s not always comfortable or convenient to carry water during your run, but your performance will greatly improve if you stay hydrated. I recommend training yourself to drink water on your shorter runs so that it becomes automatic during long runs. Experts recommend 7-10 ounces every 20 minutes (that’s at least 2 liters for a 3 hour run!).
- Experiment with nutrition products on your medium length runs.
I once made the mistake of trying a different brand of gel on an 18-miler. I had to stop for 15 minutes to let the GI discomfort pass and it
wasn’t pretty. If you test things out early on in your training, you won’t be left scrambling during your twenty milers. It helps to find out what they’ll be serving at the race, but keep in mind that it might not work for you. I raced with a small marathon belt that held my gels, body glide and chapstick.
- Plan your recovery before you start your long run.
After a long run, you will be ravenous. Make sure you have a healthy meal ready to go for your post-meal run so that you don’t just snack on the first salty thing in sight. Also, compression socks are your new best friend. I was a skeptic at first, but they feel awesome on sore calves and they will help your legs feel fresh the next day.
- Choose a marathon that friends/family can attend.
My first marathon experience was in very challenging conditions (45 degrees and pouring rain!) and it made all the difference in the world to have my friends and family there to cheer me on along the way. Plus my mom was there to dote on my as I recovered over the next two days. Check out our race calendar.
- Train with a group!
I ran every single training run by myself. I had to plan the route, find the motivation to run in the snow/rain/heat and talk myself out of making shortcuts. I also spent a lot of time researching different training strategies. A running group and coach would have made the experience much more enjoyable and I would have had a more reliable source of information for all of my questions.
With that said, I highly enjoyed my marathon training experience. It’s a great test of mental and physical strength, and it will take your running to the next level.
If you haven’t checked out our new training groups, it’s not too late to join! Check out
http://saltlakerunning.com/home/events/fall-training-programs/ or stop by the store and ask! We are happy to answer your questions about training, nutrition and recovery.