It’s Marathon season! Pre-dawn runners are popping up on the streets with a vengeance, but most of us feel underprepared and overwhelmed when signing up to run a marathon.
Luckily, a little determination and some expert advice can go a long way to get race-day-ready. We’ve called upon ex-English Super League player and Orangetheory Fitness National Head Coach, Ben Fisher, to talk us through his last-minute tips for making it all the way to the finish line.
CREATE YOUR A-GAME PLAN
“You should always start with a plan. Don’t follow a generic running routine that will bore you to death. Look at your schedule, work out which days of the week work for you and commit yourself to training like you’ve never trained before on them.”
BUILD A BASE
“Test yourself a little – plan out a 5 – 7km run and see how you feel, then 3-4 days later push this out to 7-10km, and so on. This will give you that little bit more confidence on race day, then when you pass that finish line it’ll all be worth it!”
INCORPORATE INTERVAL TRAINING
“If you are worried about how much running you have ahead of you, don’t stress. Interval training plays a huge role in improving cardio, building muscular strength and speed, and can help the body recover faster – all of which will help you conquer your marathon. The best ways to incorporate cross-training into your routine include body weight exercises, use of free weights and other cardio equipment like the treadmill, bike and rower machine. All of these are found at Orangetheory, along with a professional coach to guide you when using them. These can help to target different muscle groups while building cardio endurance for the big race.”
FIND YOUR TRAINING BUDDIES
“If you don’t have much experience in a gym or with equipment, class-based training like Orangetheory can be fantastic for technique and motivation. Expert coaches will monitor you throughout your session to ensure you maximize your time and get the most out of every minute of the hour!”
MONITOR YOUR HEART RATE
“To make sure you’re physically getting the most out of your final weeks, strapping on a heart-rate monitor and watching it climb into the target zone will ensure you get results. When our Orangetheory members train, they aim for the ‘orange zone’ and achieve E.P.O.C (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or ‘the afterburn’). This guarantees our members continue burning calories at an elevated rate for up to 36hrs post workout which obviously maximizes results.”
DEFEAT HEARTBREAK HILL
“Find a long hill to run up and increase your reps each week, by race day you’ll be ready to tackle that dreaded incline. This one will involve mind over matter – use the tips above and it will come easier.”
CLEAN UP THAT DIET
“Focus on the foods that fuel you best and don’t restrict your intake. Remember that whole foods give you energy, and even when you’re recovering your body needs fuel to repair. Giving up the next couple of Sunday sessions will also work in your favor. Anyone can lay off the beers for a couple of weeks.”
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
“I’m not going to lie – from the beginning of training to race day you’ll be waking up sore, tired or just plain unmotivated on occasion. It’s vital to listen to your body and slow it down when it’s screaming out for some active recovery. Sometimes a light walk is just what your body needs to prepare for that extra kilometer. If you feel a niggle, see your physiotherapist or an expert at Massage Envy to get it sorted. Don’t let anything stand in your way on the big day.”
So what are you waiting for? Lace up those trainers and start running today!