Most Common First Marathon Training Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Want to know how to avoid your first marathon training mistakes? Read on !
There’s nothing more exciting and adventurous than running your first marathon. After months and months spent on marathon preparations, this is the day where all your athletic skills are tested.
Therefore, it’s safe to say every marathon participant wants the race day to go perfect. That involves being in the best physical and mental shape and having good weather conditions. However, your success at the first marathon race largely depends on following the marathon training tips for beginners and avoiding the most common mistakes other rookie athletes make.
If you’re unsure how to run your first marathon, check out the ten most common first marathon training mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
Let’s jump straight into it!
Most beginner runners think that training and running every day will prepare them better for the race day. However, frequently running great distances or enduring high-intensity exercises often leads to overtraining, which causes burnout and injury.
Once you experience burnout or an injury, it’s much harder to return to the previous form. That can cut your available time to prepare for the big day or even prevent you from competing.
To avoid overtraining, it’s crucial to let your body rest on occasion. You can incorporate easy runs and cross-train during your workouts. Additionally, you can simply take a day off from exercise to allow the muscles to relax and regain their strength.
If you’re unsure when the right time for a pause is, you can create a training schedule. This addition will ensure you’re not overtraining your body and giving it all the needed rest.
Just like a beginner marathon athlete can overtrain, it’s also possible to undertrain. It’s common among athletes who already have some running background and think they can run an entire marathon race with little or no preparation.
Running a marathon is a unique discipline requiring a specific preparation program. Athletes who have been running shorter races won’t have the needed strength to power through a long and exhausting marathon even if they’re in their top condition.
Undertraining can lead to a highly uncomfortable race or serious injury. If you start your marathon preparations too late, don’t expect to catch up on months of missed training. Instead, create a training schedule on time and make sure to stick to it.
Therefore, finding the balance between overtraining and undertraining is the key to successful preparation.
Not thinking about what you eat
While it’s true that you’ll need to eat more during your marathon preparations as you’ll be spending more energy, that’s not a reason to completely disregard your eating choices and habits.
“I can eat and drink whatever I want because I’m spending all the calories” is a common belief among marathon runners, but poor eating choices can have an enormous negative impact on training efforts and overall performance.
During marathon preparations, all marathoners need to follow a nutritious diet that can fuel their runs. A simple tip is to create a healthy meal plan and stick to it. If meal plans aren’t your thing, just make sure to opt for healthy snacks and control your portion sizes, so you don’t go overboard.
Furthermore, pay attention to how certain foods make you feel and perform during workouts. It will help you make optimal nutrition choices before, during, and after the race day.
Not practicing fueling during the race
Focusing strictly on your running technique during the race isn’t enough to achieve the best results because nutrition and hydration greatly impact your physical abilities. While you’re preparing for the race, it’s important to train your body to tolerate food and liquid intake when running.
Experiment with different foods and practice fueling to find your winning combination for the race. Foods used for fueling should restore your energy levels and decrease fatigue while running. Fueling also includes hydration during the race, so pay close attention to electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium.
Now working on pacing
Working on pacing and timing during your trial runs will help you endure the long marathon race effectively, even when there’s a rush of adrenaline included.
Most marathoners who don’t work on their pacing tend to start the race too fast, as they disregard the fact they’re experiencing a rush of adrenaline that quickly fades away.
Regardless of how tempting it might be to give all your best at the beginning of the race, it’s crucial to stick to the planned pacing schedule even if it might feel too easy.
You can’t afford to burn through a lot of your energy early in the race since you’ll feel fatigued a lot sooner.
While learning to properly pace yourself might be one of the hardest skills you’ll have to develop as a runner, sometimes it can mean the difference between winning or losing.
Not sleeping enough
Most adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per night to feel well-rested, but athletes need even more than that. Marathoners may need 8–10 hours of sleep per night during marathon preparations.
Since marathoners don’t follow an average lifestyle of an adult and have specific training and eating plans, they have to sleep more to allow their exhausted bodies to relax and regain the energy needed for a new day.
Not getting enough sleep slows down the recovery process, increases the possibility of getting injured or ill, and reduces the benefits received from workouts. For these reasons, marathoners need to get the much-needed rest, especially when race day is approaching.
No patience for easy runs
Many marathoners run only long distances and have high-intensity workouts because they believe everything less than that is a waste of time. Although long-run workouts are important for marathoners, easy runs should also be a part of your running routine.
Furthermore, most marathoners choose to do their long runs during the weekend when they have more free time. However, a part of successful marathon preparation includes training to run on fatigued legs. By relying only on weekend runs when the legs are rested and fresh, many marathoners don’t prepare for the fatigue they’ll experience on race day.
Going for short and easy runs during weekdays will help even first-time marathoners prepare for the race by developing the habit of running on fatigued legs.
Simply running as much as you can isn’t a good strategy to prepare for a marathon. Getting ready for this event is a long and complex process largely consisting of quality workouts.
If you want to run a marathon, you’ll need to train your body so that it has the required level of strength, stamina, and fitness to endure a long and exhausting race. As your muscles go through various challenges during training sessions, stretching before and after each workout is crucial.
Doing some dynamic stretches is more than enough to get the blood running to important areas, mobilize the muscles, and prepare them for strenuous activity. Regular stretching after exercise also returns heart rate to normal and improves recovery.
As a marathoner, pay special attention to stretching in the ankle, knee, hip, and spine area.
Not training your form
Most novice runners feel too excited before their first marathon, and this is where they try to follow the workout plans designed for some more experienced athletes.
Beginner, amateur, and professional marathoners all have different physical forms. As a beginner, it’s impossible to expect to achieve the results amateur and professional athletes are achieving. Furthermore, overtraining and following training programs for more experienced athletes can lead to burnout and injury.
It’s essential to be realistic and train your form. Safe and steady training progress will gradually provide you with desired results. Nothing in fitness comes overnight, but patience, dedication, and hard work will pay off!
Not listening to your body
Finally, no runner should blindly follow the rules and training programs without taking notice of the signals their body is sending them. There’s so much planning you can do since you’ll have to improvise based on how you feel on a certain day.
While schedules and training plans can help you orient your overall fitness progress, you’ll always have to incorporate some changes and tweaks along the way.
While pushing the limits will supply you with quicker results, overdoing it might lead to numerous health complications. That’s why listening when your body needs rest and working out when you’re ready is the perfect balance between overtraining and undertraining for a marathon.
Running a marathon is the perfect test for runners who want to challenge their physical capabilities. Nevertheless, the physical and mental preparation for running a marathon is a long process that combines numerous elements.
Unfortunately, many first-time marathon runners don’t follow marathon training tips for beginners. As a result, they make many rookie mistakes and easily get injured. That’s why we’ve singled out the ten most common first marathon training mistakes you should avoid for a successful and safe marathon race!