All about the fitness and health lifestyle
All about the fitness and health lifestyle

What They Don’t Tell You About Marathon Training

Last Updated:
April 10, 2024
Kaylin Ging

What They Don’t Tell You About Marathon Training

Kudos on your decision to run a marathon! This physical feat is full of excitement, pride, and emotion, well before you even cross the finish line. However, the training process is as grueling as it is thrilling. If you’re a first-time marathoner, then keep reading to explore what they don’t tell you about marathon training.

You Will Need To Eat a Lot More

A couple of weeks into your training, you’ll probably start feeling the urge to eat more. That’s a feeling you shouldn’t ignore! This increase in your appetite is directly correlated to the intensity of your physical exertion, and fueling the miles you put under your feet is essential.

What Should You Eat?

Carbohydrates are your best friend and your primary fuel source for long runs. However, it’s equally important to balance carbs with proteins and fats to meet your overall nutritional needs.

You Will Be Physically and Emotionally Exhausted

Another thing they don’t tell you about marathon training is that it is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Throughout the process, you will likely experience moments of physical and emotional exhaustion. Long runs can leave you feeling spent, questioning your decision to commit to the race. Though challenging, exhaustion is part of the training process that everyone—even the most experienced runner—faces.

Treatment for Exhaustion

Though you can’t avoid feeling spent, you can help your body and mind recover as quickly as possible. Take your rest days seriously—don’t exercise at all to give your body a break. You should also consider incorporating inflammation-reducing treatments, such as deep tissue massage, into your schedule. Rest and post-run treatments to address stiffness and inflammation can help you manage physical and mental exhaustion.

Mid-Run Fueling Is a Fickle Thing

Proper fueling during your runs—particularly your long runs—is essential to prevent injury and hitting the wall. Even if you don’t feel like you need to take gels or chews, you absolutely do!

However, there are so many different energy products on the market, and your body might respond great to some and less great to others. To make sure you don’t encounter stomach issues or underfueling on race day, start experimenting early in your training to discover what types of fuel your body responds best to. Find the products you like best and develop a fueling schedule for your long runs that is unique to your body.

The Best Gels and Chews

The most popular brands for energy products are Gu, Clif, and Honey Stinger. You can find these online or at your local sports or outdoor store.

You Will Probably Not Complete All the Training Runs

Like we already mentioned, marathon training is incredibly taxing. Despite your best efforts in rest and rehabilitation, your body will likely succumb to a minor injury or two—or three—during your training plan. This is normal, but you should never run with an injury—that will make it worse and potentially stop you from being able to participate in the marathon.

Fortunately, marathon training is all about adaptability. Though you should postpone your race if you experience a serious injury or miss more than a month of training, you can return to training after a week of rest and rehab for minor injuries. Don’t beat yourself up over missed sessions—it’s part of the process!

Failing To Strength-Train Is a Huge Mistake

While logging miles is vital, incorporating strength training into your routine is equally important. Strength training is key to preventing injuries, as strong muscles are less likely to fail you and better at absorbing impact. Follow strength-training plans for marathoners, focusing on leg, hip, and core strength. If you want to be able to run for 26.2 miles, you must strengthen the muscles that help you do so!

Ultimately, the training is the real marathon—race day is just the celebration of all your hard work! As you continue training for your first marathon, remember these lesser-known tips for success and keep at it. Your dedication will pay off!

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