Marathoning 101

LISBETH HOYT, PT, DPT & CSCS.

Marathon Fall is quickly approaching (first day of Fall was 9/22 for anyone who forgot). If you have a major marathon on your calendar, it’s been at least two years since you’ve been in this position. A lot has changed since Fall 2019 but one thing that hasn’t is the importance of mentally and physically preparing for your upcoming race. As the temps cool off, summer training is starting to pay off and maybe some aches and pains are starting to appear with those higher mileage weeks. Whether it’s your first or tenth marathon, here are some quick tips to set you up for success.

1. Listen to your body: you’re deep into training at this point. If something hurts, please don’t ignore it and hope it goes away. Take a few days off of running and schedule an appointment with your (favorite) physical therapist to get it checked out. Avoid the rabbit hole of WebMD and leave it to the professionals.

2. Sleep, sleep and sleep some more: if you’ve read any of my sleep blogs, you know how much I love sleep. Sleep is when the body recovers from training and sets us up for our next successful run. Growth hormone aids the recovery process and is released during our deep sleep stages. If you’re skimping on sleep, you’re missing out on free recovery!

3. Test your gear: nothing new on race day! By the time race day rolls around there should be nothing new on your body. This includes everything from your underwear to the shirt or team singlet you plan on wearing. Take a look at the average temperature in the location of your race and start planning out what you think you’ll want to wear now. Ideally you’ll wear that exact same outfit on the rest of your long runs from now until race day.

4. Dial in your nutrition: similar to your clothing, no new fuel on race day and ideally the week leading up to it. Race week is not the time to go check out the new restaurant that opened in your neighborhood. Your pre long run breakfast should be pretty dialed in by now, so you already know what you’ll eat the morning of your race. But if you haven’t figured out your ideal breakfast, get going! A few favorites around here are toast with peanut butter and banana or oatmeal.

5. Trust the process: Training for a marathon is a long road. Your plan most likely consists of months of logged miles, both long and short, stretching, recovery sessions and of course your full time job! Be easy on yourself; not every run feels perfect. Part of training is learning what works for your body and what doesn’t. Each training run brings you one step closer to your overall goal of running a marathon and is preparing you to be your best on race day. When you get to the starting line, take a deep breath! All the hard work is done. The only thing left is to run your race and have a great time doing it.

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