Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some Extra Advice

Listen to the below audio piece to gain some extra running advice from a veteran runner.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Perfect Guide for First Time Marathoners

Time to Run a Marathon

With marathon season at its prime, I know that several of you are either considering signing up to run a marathon or maybe just a half marathon, or maybe you have already signed up. Whatever the case may be I thought it would be beneficial for all of you to have a how to guide to train yourself to run a whopping 26.2 miles. I know that sounds like a lot, and you may not think you are ready but this guide could be used at anytime in your life when you know you have time to take on training for such an event. Training is very important! If you don’t have time this year, then plan on signing up for a marathon in the future. No matter what, I encourage you to all at least give one marathon a shot. I know I will definitely complete one before my running years are over.

Here are a few links to the Pittsburgh and Cleveland Marathons happening in May. I plan on running the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon and I hear it is a great course! Hope to see you all there.

Pittsburgh Marathon
Date: May 6, 2012

Cleveland Marathon
Date: May 20, 2012

If you aren’t close to either of these, here is a guide to global and national marathons.

The Guide

Since this blog is for beginners, I decided it was best for us to focus on endurance. You will never win a marathon if this is your first one. Unless you are super human, the only factor you should be focusing on is being able to withstand running for 26.2 miles. Here let’s do the math, if you run at a 9-minute mile pace then you will be running close to four hours straight when you run a marathon! The pressure your body is under to run for that long means that training is a MUST! Below are videos and links to step-by-step guides on how to prepare yourself for a marathon.

Physical Training From The Professional

To help me make the perfect guide for a beginning runner, I contacted Landon Bloomer, an exercise physiologist at the YMCA in downtown Pittsburgh. Bloomer gave excellent tips on what the basics are to train your body physically.

In the video, Bloomer focuses on the five basic strength-training exercises to help someone who has never run a marathon. Bloomer stressed that it is important to build up the muscles, so a runner can endure longer mileage. Core, leg, and arm exercises are important to focus on.

Following strength training comes balance. In order to work on that form, focusing on stability is key. Bloomer stressed working out on a bosu ball and a stability ball to create the perfect balance.

Overall, what a beginning runner needs to know is not to over do it. If you cannot lift a certain amount, work your way up until you get to that point. The same goes for running long. It is important to also note that running every day will not prepare you for a marathon. Strength training, as well as running, eating right and stretching are also very important.

Guidance from Other Runners

In order to format the perfect guide, I also discussed running a marathon with Elaine Koontz and Carleigh Dettore who are both training for a marathon. The clip below gives insight from the runners who know how to train their bodies as well as their minds for a marathon.

Staying Healthy Or Else

 I also spoke with Leslie Bonci, the director of sports nutrition for UPMC. In her audio clip, she focuses on what foods a distance runner should eat on a daily basis. Runners, of course, need tons of energy to get through a 26.2-mile marathon. That energy can come from a variety of foods, not just carbohydrates but also fats, grains, fruits, vegetables and proteins.

Bonci also expressed how important it is to stay hydrated as a runner. Adult women should drink 11 glasses of water a day and adult men should drink 15 glasses. In addition to this, all runners must drink another 20 ounces of water before they run and they need to stay hydrated during a run and they also need to replace the fluids they lost after the run. Bonci explains an in depth diet of a runner in the Q&A audio clip below.

Don't forget about the SHOES

Drew McCabe, who works for Elite Runners and Walkers, a running shoe store in Pittsburgh gave some helpful advice in the below clip for those first running a marathon.

Extra Advice 

Now that we have the physical idea of how to run a marathon, let’s layout it out on paper:

Here is a link to a basic week-by-week training of how to prepare for a marathon:

What is important to note about this guide, is it comes into play after the strength training is complete. Once your muscles are built up enough, your balance is perfect and your mind is in the right place it is time to really start cranking in the miles. Throughout this time, be sure to keep up on a healthy diet, and mind.

Good Luck!

Like I have said a million times before, running is all-mental. Once you have put in enough time to get in the physical stance you need to be in to run a marathon, then you need to focus on training your mind for the marathon. Remind yourself every day why you are running the marathon and how great you will feel once you have proven to yourself that you could finish it. Running makes you feel alive, and once you cross the finish line you will feel invincible.