Tackle a 10k—been there. Kick the half marathon—done that. Finish a full marathon—Yikes! If you’re trying to transition from short hauls to 26.2 miles, we’ve got helpful hints just for you.
The good news is this: If you can run 13.1 miles, you can absolutely run 26.2 (and doubling the distance is easier than it seems.) Here are 3 tips for making your marathon dreams a reality.
- Make Your Long Runs Longer. The single most important difference between training for a half marathon and completing a full is the length of your long runs. Period. Many half marathoners top out their training at 14-16 miles runs. To properly prepare for the full 26.2 miles, you need to be comfortable running 20-21 miles at a clip a month before your race begins. Getting to that point may require a structured training program; we love this comparative marathon training guide that shows the major features and benefits for runners of all levels.
- Focus on Fat Metabolism. Your body’s fat metabolism plays a huge part in marathon performance. Your body gets fuel from two main sources—carbohydrates and fats—the energy supply from which is inversely related. Since high rates of carb use reduces fat combustion, carbs are your body’s preferred fuel for short hauls. Conversely, when your body uses fat for fuel, carb combustion goes down–saving carbs and giving you long-term energy for endurance events. And since you store only a very limited amount of carbs (glycogen) in your body, but have a relatively unlimited supply of fat, your ability to deliver a constant supply of energy to your body over 26.2 miles absolutely relies on eating and training to maximize fat metabolism.*
- Stay Injury-Free. It’s called the Golden Rule of Training with good reason: Remaining injury-free means you can continue training. If your training plan—be it Higdon, Galloway, or otherwise—finds you exhausted and struggling, then it may be time to reevaluate your plan. In the words of Jonathan Savage, distance runner and training guru at www.fellrnr.com: “It’s far better to arrive at the start line slightly undertrained than to arrive burned out or injured.”
MORE: Top Treadmills for 2015
At Gym Source, we love runners. Whether you’re just beginning your training—or if you’re getting back in the race after a long absence—we’ve got the solutions and expertise to make your next marathon your best ever.
*Want to learn more about fat metabolism? The article Fuel on Fat for the Long Run by Deborah Schulman, Ph.D., heavily informed this blog and is loaded with essential information.