Entered your first marathon but not sure where to start? It is a daunting, but exciting process getting ready to run 26.2 miles for the first time, but INCUS is here to support you every step of the way.
Completing a marathon is a challenging goal, even for experienced runners. With the volume of training required and the length of time it takes to get prepared, staying fit and injury-free all the way to the start line is the first part of the process. Here’s our guide to the right way to get started.
Even before you start training you can lay the foundations for success by choosing appropriate kit, preparing your body and planning your training.
- Invest in your kit
- Get a full body check over
- Plan your diary
- Work on your technique
- Build good running habits
Invest in your kit
While the kit needed for running is minimal compared with other sports the kit you do use needs to be spot-on. Your running shoes are a key place to start. You will be spending a considerable amount of time on your feet, finding the right pair of shoes that supports your running style and biomechanics is part of preventing injury and allowing you to safely increase your mileage as your training progresses.
Visiting a good running shop that will examine your feet, watch you run and offer you good advice is worth the extra cash compared with taking a lucky-dip with an online purchase. Your foot shape, running posture and biomechanics can influence what brand or shoe works best for you, considering individuality is more important than emulating a top racer or choosing the ‘fast’ shoes.
Along with your running shoes your other big out-lay is a run tracker. INCUS|NOVA records every training run allowing you to monitor your progress. Unlike other run trackers it automatically notices when you stop to give you your true running pace, but it’s much more than just a record of times and distances. INCUS|CLOUD provides detailed analysis of your technique and form, helping you to make small changes every session that will improve your running and help you run faster. Read more about how INCUS helped one marathon runner HERE.
Get a full-body check over
Marathon training puts a strain on your body – this strain is designed into your training plan to build fitness – but before you get started you need to make sure your body is ready for it.
Rehabilitation is the process of strengthening and balancing your body after an injury, but prehabilitation is the preventative training that can be done to support your body as you start to increase mileage.
A visit to a sports physiotherapist or strength and conditioning coach can help ascertain any postural or biomechanical issues that could be exacerbated by increased running. Conditioning work is often overlooked by runners, until they get an injury, getting into the habit of stretching and strengthening will help you to build a running body that stays injury free. If you have done very little exercise in the recent past a visit to your GP is also recommended.
Plan your diary
Endurance training is about doing just enough, but not too much. The build-up of training volume and intensity needs to be carefully controlled and balanced with recovery. Now you have your entry confirmed you can work backwards from race day and start planning your training. If you are using a standard training plan, such as those from The London Marathon site, you can plot in your diary when your heavy and light training weeks occur to check for clashes with holidays or pressure points in your work or personal life.
Often it is not just the training that causes overload but training plus the stress of everyday life. Be realistic about the amount of time you have to train, it is very easy to over commit at the start when you are full of enthusiasm, but doing less training well with sufficient recovery often works better than more training done badly. Once you have a training plan in place, put it in your diary, block out the time for it as you would with any other important commitment.
Work on your technique
Running is in many ways a natural movement, but that doesn’t mean you will have good technique or that you cannot train yourself to improve the way you run. At INCUS we are experts at providing data on how your body moves so that you can identify the weaknesses in your technique and monitor your progress as you improve. Developing and working on your technique is best done at the start of your training, before bad habits have time to bed in. It also allows you to have a complete data picture so you can quickly spot changes to your running style that could indicate fatigue or injury.
You can learn about the metrics your INCUS|NOVA can measure and how it can help you run faster HERE. Look out for our running guides to help you understand the techniques of running faster and how you can analyse and improve your own running form.
Build good running habits
‘Motivation gets you started but commitment keeps you going’ is a well-used sporting cliché but creating a running habit is even more powerful than commitment. Once running is a habit you stop thinking about whether or not to train, it is simply part of your day. Habit stacking is a great psychological tool for behaviour change. You start with something you are already doing regularly and add a new habit onto it, once that is embedded you add another.
So here at the start of your marathon training, your first habit might be to put on your kit and run every day. If you plan to run in the morning, put your running clothes on as soon as you get up, or at the end of the working day make sure your trainers and kit are visible when you walk through the door. As the journey continues add in good nutrition, hydration and conditioning exercise.