Anyone Can Run A Marathon! 5 Steps To Success!
I have run a few marathons and recently I finished running the Amsterdam Marathon which is why these thoughts are in my mind. It is funny but as soon as you start training for a marathon you get the same response from people….’I could never run that far’, ‘26 miles are you crazy’, ‘I couldn’t do a marathon!’
The truth is, anybody can run a marathon! Absolutely anybody can be a runner, running is what we are designed to do a humans!
I like a challenge and I know my friends, family and my husband often think I am crazy with all the challenges I do, but I love to have a goal, a challenge to work towards, to push myself and commit to. It doesn’t have to be a physical challenge (mine inevitably always are) but even a physical challenge I would suggest is far more of a mental than physical battle on most occasions.
The mind is usually the weak link, the negative or worrying thoughts that force our body to stop, the ‘what if’s’ or the ‘I can’t’ moments. If you can work on the mental battle and take control, the body will continue. It is a lot stronger than you could possibly give it credit!
So, why wouldn’t you be able to do a marathon? If you have always thought it was one step too far, if you have never contemplated it, or if you think that marathons are just for ‘other people’ then I am here to challenge you and let you know that with some hard work and commitment you can cross that finish line with a huge smile and the biggest sense of achievement! What’s more, you will have won the mental battle, you will have committed to your goal, made that promise to yourself and you will take all this into every other area of your life!
So if I claim that anybody can run a marathon I should really back it up, so below are the 5 tips I would give to the few of you who believe me or may just be thinking ‘what if’……
Go Slowly: Don’t be in a rush to build the miles, who said you need to do a marathon in 6 months or even a year. Take your time and build up to it slowly, hey you may not have run since school! If that is the case select the marathon and plan your big goal with enough time to build up slowly. Everybody is different but what you can be sure about is that if you push too hard too soon you risk injury, which will set you back. Start with a run/walk programme and build up. You will be surprised how quickly you improve!
Build A Base: Don’t be in a rush, similar to tip number one, we need to build a solid base to build upon. Just like a house, let’s get the foundations in place then we can start to add the building blocks until we reach the roof! We want a stable base and any well thought out and structured programme will start with a good foundation and base phase then build upon that.
Make It Social: We are social beasts, we also need a little accountability from time to time so make your running a social event too. Sometimes it is nice to take off on your own, escape into the woods or run around the local park and get fresh air and some time to think and enjoy nature, for me that is one of my favourite things about running! There are also times that you will need the support, the support of friends to chat while you run, to help you push a little harder or complete a distance you never thought possible! With running clubs in nearly every town or city and the explosion of Park Run, there is no way you need to run alone! Try and make one run a week with some friends or at a club or Park Run, who knows you may just meet some cool people and learn something new!
Be Flexible: It’s great to have a plan, to have a goal, to be so focused and driven that you prioritise your training, nutrition and rest to achieve that goal, however, life gets in the way! We have to be an adult sometimes and adulting isn’t always straight forward! Work may need to take the lead, maybe you need to concentrate more time on your families needs, maybe you have an event that is out of your control…..think flexibly! Yes you need to prioritise training to see the improvements and nutrition is extremely important, but if your family need you then you should be there. If work is busy then maybe you need to focus on hitting that deadline and move that run to later in the week. A short run may be all you can manage so make the most of it, mix it up with some Fartlek or intervals to gain the most from the short session.
A goal is ace and best laid plans are good but everybody knows there is always a plan B! This may be that you need to get up early and get your run in before the family wakes up or before you head to work. It may be that you need to move the days around or miss the odd session. Prioritise and commit when you can but don’t let it affect your family life or stress you out at work. It is meant to be a great addition to your life!
Recovery Is King: Running becomes addictive, exercise becomes addictive. If you aren’t addicted now, I promise that you will soon be there and you will have a rest day scheduled and the thought will at least cross your mind to go for a little run, a ride or hit the gym. These days are scheduled to help your body repair and reset! To adapt from all the hard training you have done so you become fitter and stronger! Without the rest days you will actually open yourself up to injury and illness!
So, there you have it! 5 tips to think about when you decide to set your sights on a marathon! Note I said ‘when’ and not ‘if’!
These tips can be used when training or setting a goal for any sport, make sure you have a well thought out structured and periodised plan to get you from a dream to actually crossing that finish line!
The difference between a dream and a goal is a plan! Go for it! I know you can do it and I am here to help if you need the support!