How to Prepare for a Marathon

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Preparing for a marathon requires the proper training months before, the right nutrition with enough carbohydrates, protein and fat, and finding the best power foods to consume every 30 to 60 minutes of the marathon. Prepare the body and mind for a marathon with advice from a competitive runner in this free video on running marathons.

Part of the Video Series: Marathon Training
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Beth Kaufman and I'm going to talk about how to prepare for a marathon. Hopefully at this point you've been putting in the training and you've been putting in the miles to run this marathon, but now oh my gosh, the day is here and you actually have to run 26.2 miles. How do you prepare for that? It is very scary but a very rewarding experience. You'll want to make sure that you have successfully completed your long runs, you'll also want to make sure that you have been preparing with proper nutrition so make sure that you're getting enough carbs, enough protein and enough fat in your diet. And that during your long runs, you have been ingesting some form of carbohydrate whether it be a sports gel, maybe a bar, food or liquid that has sodium in it and anything that will give you a little bit of energy during that race. During the race, you want to make sure to start consuming food or power gels after about 15 miles and you'll want to consume something every 30 to 60 minutes if not more frequently. Make sure that you have all of your stuff you'll need so that will include your race number, your timing chip if the race has a timing chip, you'll want to make sure that you have that outfit that you're going to wear tomorrow, have your shoes ready, so I like to lay everything out the night before a marathon. So I'll have everything ready to go including you'll want some kind of warm up clothing. So if you're planning on wearing shorts and maybe a tank top or a t-shirt, you're going to want to have some pants, maybe a long sleeved to warm up in. If you're running in a marathon that's during colder weather, so maybe the Twin Cities marathon, the New York marathon, the Boston marathon, those can tend to be chilly so you want to make sure that you have maybe some light running gloves, maybe a light hat and things that you don't think you'll need because lots of times you'll end up taking them off and throwing them onto the side. It's always better to have a little too much clothing on, that it's layered, that you can take off then to not have enough on and be very cold. You'll want to make sure to try go get as much sleep as you can though I know that will be hard. In about a week or so before that marathon, you'll want to start to mentally envision yourself completing that marathon. So envision each of those miles. Play yourself running that last 6 miles because they say you're going to hit that wall at mile 20. You may or may not, but it's definitely a daunting task. So picture yourself running those last 6 miles feeling good, feeling great and you just want to mentally tell yourself that you can do this. You'll also want to have some emotional support so make sure that you friends and family know about your marathon and your marathon training. Let them know your time goals and where you're going to be and tell them that you're looking to have them out there and encouraging you on and cheering you on. You can't improve your speed or your time in those last two weeks before a marathon so pushing yourself in those final two weeks is not going to improve your speed or your finish time. What will improve your speed and finish time is rest, rest, rest and recovery. So make sure that you take time for that. You'll want to make sure that you have your marathon pre-meal ready and decided on. I would recommend practicing that meal before your long run so some people like to just maybe have something simple, some toast, you might want to avoid any high fat foods, that might irritate your stomach before that marathon. If you live in the city or you're going to be traveling somewhere where you will be in the city a day or two before the marathon, I highly recommend driving the route. Know the route will make a big difference and knowing what to expect as you come whether it might be a long hill, a difficult downhill, interesting turns, maybe some poor footing, cobblestone streets, so being mentally prepared for that will all lead to a very successful marathon. So as you can see, preparing for a marathon not only involved getting in those long runs and the running, but there's nutrition, there's emotionally being prepared, mentally being prepared and just having everything ready to go that night or two before a marathon and make sure to sleep and eat and just be excited because this is very, very exciting time for you. So again these are just some suggestions and tips on how to prepare for a marathon.

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