August 18 2017
There's a trick to the madness.
Imagine: you’re thinking about moving up in distance running and have graduated from shorter races like the 5-kilometer and the 10K. You’ve set your sights on training for the big leagues and running a marathon has piqued your interest. Whether you’ve registered for a half (13.1 miles) or full marathon (26.2 miles), it’s best to prepare by running a mock marathon. Of course, this alone won’t prepare you–you’ll also need to follow a training plan, maintain a clean diet and strength train. But running a mock race will allow you to have the upper hand in trekking the half or full marathon route beforehand. Here are some tips from a fitness expert on the best way to run the distance ahead of time and prepare for race day–both of which require dedication and discipline.
Related: 5K To Marathon Training Plan
If you live in or near major cities that host marathons like New York, Boston or Chicago, it’s a good idea to run the real marathon route. Ebonny Fowler, a fitness expert who’s preparing to run the TCS New York City Marathon for her second time, knows what it’s like to pound the concrete pavement. “For me, what helped was running different sections of the course, [like] the bridges and hills, so my body was familiar with what was coming up,” she explained.
While training, you will need to grow accustomed to keeping yourself replenished and nourished. You shouldn’t depend on the water that’s handed out during the race as your only source of fuel. “There are plenty of snacks you can munch on that will give you a natural energy boost while you’re running,” Ebonny said. “I’ve also taken sports bean chews along on marathons to keep me going. I was able to store all of these items in a running belt, all of which was lightweight.” It’s suggested that you seek the best snacks for you and stick with them during your mock run. The same brand and flavored snacks that you use on rehearsal day should be used on the day of your marathon.
If you’re pressed for time and can’t take advantage of the outdoors, the treadmill has options. Many runners use treadmills to get the best out of their training routines by using the marathon feature or by charting their own course. “During the winter months I use the treadmill, but I hit the pavement to keep up my stride,” Ebonny said. “It’s easy to get used to the nice cushion feel of the treadmill, which is why I make sure to remind my legs they will endure the concrete.”
It’s imperative to have the correct running shoes for your feet–and even better if you can find a nice pair in your size at a discount. “I ended up going to a reputable running place called JackRabbit,” Ebonny said. “They analyze your feet and allow you to run on the treadmill [so they can] fit your feet for the perfect running shoes.” Decide which pair of shoes you’ll wear on race day and use them for training. “Never break in a new pair of running shoes on marathon day–your body will scream the next day.”
Additionally, make sure your racing outfit is comfortable. Try wearing the sports bra you want to wear during the race on your mock marathon run.
Think you’ve got what it takes to run a half or full marathon? Lace up and follow these tips to help your body reach its full running potential!