Today I am going to tell you how to run a marathon or a half marathon. I have been running for years now so let me share whatever experience I have gained over the years. This is a long article but it will surely help you if you are keen for running a Marathon.
When we see the distance of a full marathon which is 42.195 kilometers or of a half marathon which is 21.098 kilometers, it seems astonishing how humans can run such a long distance. But it is very much possible and each one of us can accomplish it. Let us learn how to run a marathon.
To accomplish it the first thing required is willingness. If one is really keen and ready to work, he or she can definitely complete a half marathon or full marathon in a good time.
For better understanding I have divided this article in various sections. This article is going to be one of my long articles as I am writing it after reading various articles and books on long distance running. I have tried to cover various aspects related to running.
This article may help those who are interested in marathon or any form of running. At the same time it is also going to help me to gather my thoughts and learn about the benefits of running all over again. After reading it you will learn a lot about long distance running and will also know how to run a marathon.
You can go through the entire article or can refer to any particular section. The structure of the article will be as under.
What is a Marathon?
Why one should run or one should run a marathon or run at all?
What is the right age for running a marathon?
How to prepare and plan your Run?
Learn how to recover from your workouts?
How to get the right nutrition or proper diet plan?
What are the important running accessories?
The story of Fauza Singh
How to run a Marathon or Half Marathon – About Marathon
What is a Marathon? For those who are not aware of marathon the first thing is to know about it. Marathon is a long distance race of 26 miles and 385 yards. In kilometer terms it is of 42.195 kilometers. Since it’s a very long distance race hence everybody cannot run that far without full preparation therefore half marathons are also there.
Half marathon as the name suggests are just half of the full marathon. I am not going to tell you about the history of the marathon as the purpose here to understand about the distance of this race.
So if you are looking for your first marathon first I would suggest you to prepare for the half marathon. After running a few half marathons prepare for the full marathon.
Never run marathon without proper preparation as it can lead to dangerous consequences. Running without preparation may lead to dehydration and injuries. You can easily avoid it with proper preparation and practice.
How to run a Marathon or Half Marathon – Benefits
Why one should run or one should run a marathon or run at all? Here I am going to tell you about the benefits of running. Benefits of running are multiple. Once you know it you may wonder why you are not running till now.
Running is considered one of the best exercises. Regular running increases your stamina. It strengthens your muscles, makes your heart stronger and improves blood circulation. You can immediately feel that your stress has reduced after completing the run.
Running keeps you very fit and in shape. Many people suffer from obesity and dullness. Running makes you lean and thin and gives you lot of energy. Calories are automatically getting burn. You need not doing anything else for reduction of weight. You can burn about 750 calories in an hour of running whereas during the same duration of walking only 300 calories will be burnt.
Long distance running makes you more confident and disciplined as well. To become a long distance runner you need to practice on a regular basis with a strict routine. Once you are addicted to it you will automatically follow a strict routine which will make your overall life disciplined.
You will be able to find new friends wherever you go. Running fraternity is spread all over the world. You can find likeminded persons everywhere. Fellow runners always have respect for each other. This will also help you to learn better running techniques from others.
What is the right age for running a marathon? Many people feel that they cannot run because they have never run in their life before and now they are overage. There is no such thing as far as running is concerned. Anybody can start running at any age no matter he or she has not run before.
Learn from Fauja Singh how to run a marathon. The world oldest runner Fauja Singh has started the running at the age of 89. I will tell you story of the oldest runner of the world Fauja Singh. The story of Fauja Singh will make you believe that anyone can do anything at any juncture of life. However you should take utmost care if you are starting running for the first time. By taking care I mean to say that you should begin gradually and start with slow runs for short distance. Over a period increase your distance as well as speed.
How to run a Marathon or Half Marathon – Preparation
How to prepare and plan your Run? Now let us discuss how one can plan the run. This is for experienced as well as newbie. One can modify the plan as per his or her requirements. Your first task should be to prepare for a marathon or half marathon. Do not worry about the timing at all. You do not need to be a professional runner for completing marathons. Anybody can do it with preparation, dedications and commitment. That is the reason marathon events are most popular all over the world and people of all ages participate in it.
First analyze your capacities before starting your practice schedule. Personally I feel anybody who can run for 30-40 minutes continuously can go first for a 10 km run then for half marathon and thereafter for full marathon. You should run for 5 days a week and two days you should keep for recovery and for some analysis.
You should follow a strict routine and go for running. Practice for 15-20 weeks in such manner and try to run 30-40 minutes without a break. Once you accomplish this level you can increase your duration gradually.
Every week go for at least one long run of about 15 kilometers. Initially you may feel very tired after long run but once you complete it 3-4 times you will actually start feeling fresh after long run.
Always be aware about your limitations. Do not run without any planning. For long run always keep some water or juices with you and keep sipping it quite often. Sometimes new runners run long distance run without taking any fluid and end up suffering from dehydration.
Even before running always take juices, eat fruits or any healthy food at least 30-40 minutes before. It will give you lot of energy during the run. Remember the first 2-3 kilometers are always difficult for any runner. Once you run for 10-15 minutes you will get into a good rhythm and can easily continue for long runs.
To improve your running performances you can also do some of the exercises which are meant for running. You can check some of the best running exercises from one of my earlier articles. These exercise help in strengthening your muscles and joints and you will feel strong during the long run.
Proper breathing is also very important during running. Important is that you should take deep breath during the run. It will help you to take more oxygen which will give you more strength during run. These small things help you to become a better runner.
It is always difficult to wake up early in the morning and go for a run. But once you develop a regular running routine you will find it difficult to leave it.
How to run a Marathon or Half Marathon – Recovery
Learn how to recover from your workouts? It is also important to take care of your body after long running. The ultimate purpose of running or any workout is to remain fit and healthy. Therefore proper care after the workout is equally important. I will share some of the most common and easy methods which most of the long distance runners follow.
As I have told you that you should keep two days for recovery in a week. Take as much rest as you can in those two days. Don’t do any kind of hard exercise in these two days.
It is quite natural to feel muscle soreness after the run. You should apply ice pack on such sore areas which will relax it. You can also keep your legs in icy water for some time after the run. Thereafter take a bath after sometime in normal or lukewarm water. This will make your body quite relax and you will also gain the energy in your muscles.
After completion of a run you should do stretching. It will help you to keep your body flexible.
You are the best judge of your body and fitness. Do not push yourself too hard. Always keep things in the control. If during the run you are finding it difficult to keep running you should immediately stop and take a break.
During long run you can also adopt method of run and walk. For example run for 15 minutes and then walk for 5 minutes. Gradually you can increase the running time and reduce the walking time and so on. There can be various ways of train yourself. It will depend on how your body copes up. You will also learn more on it once you go for regular running.
How to run a Marathon or Half Marathon – Diet Plan
How to get the right nutrition or proper diet plan? If you are a long distance runner or aiming to become a long distance runner diet plan is very important. Proper diet plan can take you a long way. There are many people who are very punctual as far as their running schedule is concerned but when it comes to proper diet plan they tend to ignore it or sometimes they are not even aware about the importance of it.
It is of utmost important to plan your nutrition or diet. A combination of your running or workout and diet will fetch you the best results.
I am not a dietitian but I am sharing here what I have learned through reading from experts. A runner’s diet should mainly consist of carbohydrates and proteins. Carbohydrates should be 60-70% of your diet and proteins should be about 15-20% of your diet.
Carbohydrates are important because while running it produce energy to your body hence is very important for runners. Protein is important to help your muscles get back in shape after a long run. Proteins are important for repairing your muscles. Good source of carbohydrates are milk, banana, beans, fruits, juices, yogurt, corn, potatoes, pasta, apples, bread, wheat. Good source of proteins are cheese, eggs, milk, chicken, fish, butter, health drinks, beans, soya products, curd, paneer. Hence you can plan your diet keeping the combination of carbohydrates and proteins in mind.
Also take calcium-rich foods like raw milk, cheese, broccoli, yogurt etc. This will make your bones stronger and you will not feel soreness after the running. Also drink a lot of water during the day. During your run take water or fluid after every 20-25 minutes to keep yourself hydrated.
There are many things which runners should avoid such as processed sugar, processed cooking oil, junk food, soft drinks, frozen foods, alcohol. These food items are not good for a runner and may impact the performance and the stamina.
It is difficult to maintain a very strict diet plan but a sense of the right diet plan itself can help us to understand what to eat and what not to eat.
Do not take alcohol and tobacco in any form. These are dangerous things and can ruin your body. Your stamina will also reduce by consuming such things. Your body is a temple where your soul resides, therefore take utmost care and respect your body and life. Do not ruin your body by taking harmful things.
How to run a Marathon or Half Marathon – Running Gear
What are the important running accessories? Now I am going to tell you about some of the useful running accessories which will help you to perform better. First thing is good running shoes and socks. Good running shoes will prevent you from getting injuries. Purchase shoes which are meant for running purpose only. Do not run with other sports shoes such as tennis shoes, football shoes etc. It can result in injury. Similarly there are running socks available in the market which are double layered you should purchase those only.
For long distance running you should also purchase running belts and mobile belts which will help you to keep water and mobile phone without any discomfort. These accessories are important otherwise during long run these small things will bother you and you won’t be able to concentrate.
Always run in comfortable t-shirt and shorts. You can also download running apps in your mobile or can purchase a smart watch to monitor your performance.
How to run a Marathon or Half Marathon – Incredible Fauja Singh
The story of Fauza Singh: Here is a small story of Fauja Singh. The purpose of this story is just to make you realize that anyone can achieve anything in life if he or she has strong will power.
Fauja Singh who now resides in London was a farmer from Punjab earlier. He was born in the year 1911. At the age of 89 he developed interest in running and he decided to prepare for London Marathon which was couple of months away. Before that he was having no clue about running as well as of marathons.
He trained himself very hard in the two months and ran London Marathon in the year 2000 and finished it in 6 hour 54 minutes. After that he finished many more marathons and finished marathon even after completing 100 years of age.
He is the oldest marathoner of the world. Because of his incredible will power he was honored all over the world. He became brand ambassador of Addidas and PETA. He was honored in Athens Olympic 2004 and London Olympic 2012 and he carried Olympic Torch in both these Olympics.
This story gives us a very important learning that with sheer will power and training anybody can run marathon. When Fauja Singh can start at the age of 89 obviously most of us are much better placed and have lot of time for preparation.
Conclusion: After reading this article I am sure you are now well aware about How to run a marathon. I can tell you that running is one of the best sports because of many reason such as you do not need any partner for it you can do it on your own, running can be done anywhere, accessories for running are very less, it can be done in any season and it gives you best results and keep you very fit.
An Article By: Vibhor Saxena (Hobby Writer and Alumni of SPJIMR)