Marathon training is intense, or at least it should be if you want to make sure you are fully prepared for the course. You should expect to be out there pounding the streets, several times a week, in all weathers. This means that you are going to need some equipment to ensure you don't pick up injuries and that you are covered for all eventualities. You don't want the fact that you haven't got a running jacket, for instance, stopping you getting out there when it is cold. This could set you back in your training. We'll take a look at the essential equipment that you should have to ensure your training is successful.
Remember, any basic marathon training schedule should include at least four runs a week. This means that you are going to need enough kit to get you through without having to constantly wash and wear. At the very minimum, you will need a couple of pairs of everything, whether that's running shorts, trousers, vests or t-shirts. You can choose which ones work best for you. Given that most marathons happen in spring, much of your training will take place during the winter months, which means you are likely to need clothing that will keep you warm. Tights that will give you full flexibility of movement (as well as keeping you warm) will become essential, as will long sleeve tops and jackets – and even fleeces if you feel the cold too much. You might also find that you need gloves and a beanie hat to help you maintain your temperature.
Trainers will undoubtedly be the most important part of your kit when training for an endurance run such as a marathon. Given that you will be training hard and covering long distances, you are going to need some trainers that give you the best support possible. The most important thing, when choosing new trainers, is to go for comfort. That means you are going to have to try on a good few pairs to find the ones that are right for you. Go to a store with knowledgeable staff that can guide you in your purchase – and don’t forget to try them out first. Often, these stores have treadmills in them. Whilst these do not provide ideal running conditions, they do mean you can at least try running in the shoes before you make your purchase. The good news is that your purchase of trainers can still be environmentally-friendly. Nike, for instance, have set themselves the target to reduce the environmental footprint of their products by 10% by 2020.
3. Running watch
A running watch isn't entirely necessary for your marathon training, but it could be extremely beneficial. Firstly, you will want to know the distances that you have covered as you run. Whilst you can use mobile phone to track this, it is much easier to glance at your wrist to see exactly how far you have run while you are in the middle of training. Secondly, you can use the watch to keep an eye on your pacing. As you progress you will get to know the pace that is most comfortable for you as you run. This will be important when you come to your race because you will understand what pace you can maintain throughout the event. Most watches also give you the benefit of seeing your heart rate as you run – this can help you understand when you are training too hard or not challenging yourself enough. A good watch can certainly help you make the most of your training.
4. Running socks
Socks are often overlooked but actually choosing the right socks for your training is really important. Choosing socks that are seamless and have qualities that help prevent moisture and sweat from lingering around the feet can really help when it comes to preventing blisters because they reduce friction. Socks with extra padding can also be beneficial because they provide extra cushioning, and you can also get socks that are designed for either the left or right foot to ensure a better fit. Your feet will take most of the impact when you run, so it is important to look after them. Choosing the right socks for running will help you achieve this.
Running a marathon is as much about mental strength as it is to do with how physically fit you are. Undertaking a marathon is a commitment that includes months of preparation to get your body and mind in the right shape. In this article we will look at the best ways to motivate yourself for a marathon.
Find a reason that suits you
There are many reasons why people don’t think that they can complete a marathon or ultra marathon. In order to show a flip-side to the numerous negative thoughts that run through a person’s mind, Run Addicts created a list of 101 reasons to run a marathon. Much of the list suggests using the marathon as away to discover something new about yourself. The list even included interesting motivation facts such as number 13 which is, “unlike 99.9% of sports, marathon running improves with age in accordance with the increase in base mileage. Wouldn’t you feel great if you run better at 50 than you used to at 30?!”
Look at the bigger picture
Doubts are normal especially when you are undertaking a challenge that you have never tried before or are attempting to push yourself further. When you start it will all seem too much. Too much time, too much effort, and too much stress. The important thing to remember is that looking ahead, everything always seems tougher and harder and yet when we look back we wonder where the time went. You have to realize that when you finish the marathon you will look back and wonder why you ever doubted you could do it. Traveller and avid runner, Challenger Sophie states that her favourite quote is “one day I will not be able to do this. Today is not that day.”
Run for a cause
Many people don’t just run marathons for themselves, instead they run them in order to raise money for a charity or good cause. This is a great way to motivate yourself as it adds an extra pressure not to fail or give up. In 2015 actor Jonny Lee Miller, star of the CBS Sherlock Holmes show Elementary, ran a 50-mile ultra marathon to increase awareness of the rare disease Sanfilippo Syndrome that affects children. The actor told CBS News that anybody can complete a marathon if they are willing to get up at 5am, even when it is dark and snowy, and do the training. Sherlock Holmes has become a pop culture icon through shows such as Elementary, Sherlock on the BBC and the two Robert Downey Jr. films. Away from the silver screen, the character has a huge fan base that stretches to entertainment platforms through online gaming site Slingo. This huge digital market reach has helped Miller get as much public awareness as possible for Sanfilippo Syndrome.
An important point to remember is that you are going to lose motivation. This is normal, even the most hardened and experienced athlete goes through moments of doubt. Marathon Rookie believes that you have to be ready to catch those negative thoughts and turn them into positive thoughts. If you let the negative thoughts sit for too long they will start to increase and hesitation will creep in. Hopefully this has inspired you to keep trying, to keep pushing yourself and to complete that marathon.