Running a marathon is not easy. First, you must train your body and your training. It takes months to prepare your body physically, mentally, and nutritionally. And you must train your training with planning, preparation, and consistency. If you can follow these principles, you will be successful. You don’t want to be undertrained or underprepared; that is how strains, pains, and injuries happen.
But don’t take it from me. Des Linden is the expert. Marathoner, Des Linden, was an American woman to break the 33-year dry spell for an American to win the Boston Marathon, finishing it in 2:39:55. Also, last year, she was the first woman to run a 50K under three hours in 2:59:54.
Here are Des Linden’s insider tips to help you improve your marathon. Of course, you don’t have to follow her process entirely, but you can incorporate some or all the things she does that create success for her.
Pace Your Training
When it comes to running and training for a marathon, there is no quick way. You train, rest, recover, and then your body adapts. Forcing in extra miles is overtraining and not going to make up for missed training days. The body does not work like that. Des says you must be consistent with your training. Training too hard or too much can be disastrous, especially in the middle of your training phase. Consistency is the key. So, don’t up the mileage for your next run if you miss a day.
Be Patient with Running
Distance running is different from running just a few miles or sprinting. First, des says you must love running and the training that comes with it. If you don’t love it, you will force your body to do it. That is bad for you mentally. Physically, the body needs consistent training and time to adapt and improve. She also says there are no quick ways to get better, “You just have to show up.”
You Need Calories
Des says runners are famous for not eating enough to fuel their run. You must eat the right foods for energy. She says good nutrition will keep you strong and healthy and prevent setbacks. It is terrible for your body when you are out on a run, and your body struggles with energy. Not enough calories mean the training will force your body. But she also stresses eating poor nutritional food is better than an empty tank.
Nevertheless, try to eat natural, wholesome foods like vegetables, nuts, and fruits. Des says simplicity works best. Just make sure you get fueled up.
Learn How to Re-Fuel
Post nutrition for your run is essential and the basis of how your energy will replenish. Des says eating 15 to 20 minutes after your workout is critical. Eating a meal right after training is hard, so you must prepare. The most important thing to consume is a protein shake to start repairing muscles immediately. Along with protein, eat carbohydrates that absorb quickly to boost your energy levels. So, drinking a protein shake and eating carbs like bananas are simple and easy ways to refuel and recover.
Des says her stomach is still not ready to digest a full meal after her run. So, she says she will increase her protein when her stomach has recovered, which can take longer than an hour. Then, she plans her bigger sit-down meal of about 15 to 25 grams of protein. But, to refuel properly, you must understand digestion.
Experiment with Your Nutrition
There are so many different foods to eat and supplements to use. But not all foods are created equal and have the same effect for each person. Des says you must test different foods before running and know which ones work best for you. Experimenting and trial and error are your best ways. She says she has tested many foods to develop her nutritional plan over the years. For example, she says she can eat anything during easy runs. But before long training runs or races, she chooses simple foods to avoid the risk of longer digestion, which has the possibility of upsetting her stomach. An upset stomach equals slower runs.
The Key to Speed is Relaxation
Des says you must find the balance between pushing and forcing yourself. If you push yourself, you can stay more relaxed. And, if your force yourself, you create tension that will work against you running faster and longer. Also, the more relaxed you are, the more energy you conserve. If you are tense, it will eat up your energy. And you need that energy when mile 20 arrives to pick up the speed a bit.
For Aspiring Runners
Des says just be patient because running a marathon is a process. On day one, you will think and feel how hard it was to run. And that difficulty will continue for ten days. She mentions that you will want to and feel like quitting, but you must get over that hump. Over the hump is when your routine begins. Des states that getting in shape is hard, but it is awesome once you are in shape. Don’t throw yourself into it; ease into it so you will stick with it. Too much too hard, and you will quit.
Once Des crosses the finish line, her recovery begins. After every marathon, she does not train for two weeks to recover. After that, however, she will get into the pool to do passive recovery. Des says taking two weeks off is essential to heal her body and get excited to train for the next race.
“Sometimes you chase results, and you lose sight of the bigger picture. You need to step back and get back to enjoying the process of running versus chasing down a win.” – Des Linden
For more tips on training for marathons and half-marathons, CLICK HERE!