With the Dublin Marathon just 4 months away, check out these handy tips when building milage and training for the event. It’s important to stick to the four building blocks of marathon training: building mileage, the long run, speed work, and rest. Add in effective hydration and fuelling and you will prepare your body as best as you can for your 26mile race.
- Build Mileage
Build your weekly mileage over time. Three-to-five runs per week are sufficient. The vast majority of these runs should be done at a relaxed pace. You should run at an easy enough pace to be able to carry on a conversation. When building base mileage, never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% from week to week.
- The Long Run
Do a long run every 7-10 days, so your body can adjust gradually to long distances. You should extend the long run by a mile or two each week. Every 3 weeks, scale it back by a few miles so as not to overtax your body and risk injury. For example, you might run 12 miles one weekend, 13 miles the next, then 14 miles, and then 12 again before moving on to 15 on the fifth weekend.
Doing these runs at a substantially slower pace than usual builds confidence, lets your body adjust to longer distances, and teaches you to burn fat for fuel.
- Speed Work
Practice intervals and tempo runs to increase your cardio capacity and make your easy runs feel easy!
Intervals are a set of repetitions of a specific, short distance, run at a substantially faster pace than usual, with recovery jogs in between. For example, you might run 4 X 1-mile repeats at a hard pace, with 5 minutes of slow jogging or even walking between the mile repeats
Tempo runs are longer than an interval—generally in the range of 4–10 miles, depending on where you are in your training—run at a challenging, but sustainable, pace. This kind of workout teaches your body, as well as your brain, to sustain challenging work over a longer period of time.
- Rest, Recovery & Tapering
Rest days mean no running. They let your muscles recover from taxing workouts and help prevent mental burnout. The greatest enemy of any aspiring marathoners is an injury, and the best protection against injury is rest.
If you are itching to do something active on your rest days, doing some cross-training is a great option. Cross-training can include walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, yoga, lifting weights, or any other active pursuit that isn’t as high-impact as running.
Tapering: In the two or three weeks leading up to your marathon, scale back significantly on overall mileage and difficulty of your runs to let your body rest up for race day.
How to Maximise Hydration and Fuel to Offset Fatigue
Fatigue during the race is, of course, inevitable but it is possible to delay the onset using certain techniques and training adaptations. For endurance sports such as marathon running, the body will use its stores of glycogen to fuel it for energy, which will run out after approximately 90 minutes. Therefore, it is essential to keep glucose stores up throughout the race. It is recommended to have 30g-60g of glucose per hour to maintain adequate blood glucose levels. You can use gels or small high carbohydrate snacks if possible. Eating during a long run should be practiced in training on not on the day of the marathon.
Eating adequate carbohydrates (5g+/kg bodyweight) and tapering training in the days prior to the race will enhance glycogen stores and metabolic adaptations throughout your training season will help direct your body to burn the abundant stores of fat as fuel, thus sparing valued muscle glycogen in the race. Protein will help muscle repair and immune function so is a hugely important part of recovery meals.
Hydration and electrolyte replacement will also play a role in offsetting fatigue. Replacing lost electrolytes with a sports drink with carbohydrate will ensure you are refueling lost water, salts and glucose.
It is critical during your training and especially in the days before the marathon that you are resting adequately. In training, always have a rest day and replenish your body with nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates and protein to aid repair and recovery.
When you run, you will produce heat, which must be dealt with to avoid overheating. Your body deals with this by producing sweat, which cools the body down. Sweat rates vary from person to person and day-to-day depending on the weather conditions, intensity and the duration of the exercise.
When we sweat, we not only lose water but electrolytes as well, in particular sodium, potassium and magnesium, which play a critical role in controlling the balance of fluid in your cells, tissue, and blood. You will need to ensure you keep your water levels topped up and it is advisable to also top up with electrolytes too so that you can restore fluid balance correctly.
Keeping hydrated will result in better performance and reduction in early fatigue. During your training, it is advisable to estimate your sweat rates and therefore your need for rehydration. This is simply done by weighing yourself before your training and afterward. Please note that this is only a best guess and take into consideration the intensity and duration of the training session as well as the ambient temperature and compare this to your race day conditions.
As always, don’t forget to warm up and cool down!
We will have another blog closer to race day about the ideal preparation in your final week and what to do for race day. If you are experiencing any annoying niggles with your training, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced medical professionals on 057 86 78904.
Yours in Health,
MISCP Chartered Physiotherapist @ BodyBalance