A 50 th birthday seems to prompt many women to set new goals and try something new. Running a first half or full marathon is a surprisingly common goal, with the London Marathon set as the ultimate goal.
The London Marathon for 2013 is taking place on April 21st, which means lots of keen runners are currently gearing up for one of the biggest physical challenges they’ll ever face. Completing the full 26 miles of a marathon is a massive feat, and not one you enter into lightly (if you want to make it to finish line that is). So how do you prepare physically and mentally to take on a marathon?
Below we offer some tips to help you get through the training and the marathon without running out of stamina along the way.
Create a training plan
Training for such a long and challenging run should involve gradually building up your abilities so you don’t cause yourself any injuries, and so you can monitor how you are doing in the lead up to the big day. It’s a good idea to write a training plan early on – it gives you an anchor to keep motivated and helps you plan training around the rest of your life. The official marathon site has some excellent example training plans for runners of all abilities that are a great place to start.
Don’t just run
There is a lot you can do other than running to train for a marathon – and in fact it’s a good idea to mix it up a bit. Your body needs a rest from running sometimes, so as well as giving yourself a day off from training each week you should considering doing some other activities such as Pilates, cross-training or yoga. Pilates and yoga are particularly good for building up core muscle strength, which will really benefit the rest of your training. They help to increase your overall fitness while giving your knees a break from pounding the pavement.
Maintain a balanced diet
Getting ready for a marathon is all about being as fit and healthy as possible – so a balanced diet is key. Avoid junk food and fast food restaurants, and eat everything in moderation but try to make sure the carbs and protein you get are all the best possible quality. You don’t have to completely quit booze and coffee, but cutting down is definitely recommended. You can go out for some beers with friends at the weekend, but try to get out the habit of winding down with a beer as a regular evening thing.
Don’t do the full 26 miles before the actual marathon
They say that when you are running a marathon, it’s pure will power and adrenaline that get you through the last few miles. So it’s best not to push yourself to run a full marathon distance all at once until the day of the actual marathon. You’ve got to save up that will power for the real thing!
If you (or any of your keen supporters!) are traveling to London for the event make sure you pack a reviving picnic to share when you finish the race, and think about how you can make the journey home as easy and comfortable as possible – chances are you’ll be pretty exhausted; but very proud and happy too. You can compare travel insurance policies at ComparetheMarket.com so you’re totally prepared for the trip. And remember, stay safe and have fun – that’s what it’s all about.
By coincidence, our very own Fab after Fifty hair expert, Andrew Barton ( of 10 Years Younger fame) is running the 2013 London Marathon on behalf of the British Association of Adoption and Fostering. You can sponsor Andrew at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/AndrewBarton