Endure a Marathon

Edited by Jerry Rivers, Robbi, Mian Sheilette Ong, Eng and 4 others

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If you enjoy running and have never entered a marathon, you may find it a very rewarding sport. However, if you have any present physical impairments at all, hold off the intense training until you are capable of such a demanding endurance sport. Before you begin, you should be in good overall health. You should also have a personal goal in mind. Some people enter such races to complete the race or perhaps to establish camaraderie with other runners. Many are in these races as hardcore competitors, while few are at a world-class level. All are the different levels of a marathon are demanding. There are those with the least distance of 5,000 meters(5K) or about 3.1 miles. There run a length of 10,000 meters(10K) or 6.2 miles. Some compete in a half-marathon of about 21.1 km (13.1 miles). The most grueling have about 42.2 km or about 26.2 miles! With such long distances, you must train to run even the shortest 5K marathon.

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The sporting event known as the marathon was established to commemorate Pheidippides-a Greek soldier who served as a messenger to Athens from the known Battle of Marathon. On an annual basis, about 500 different marathons are organized all over the world. Most of those who run marathons are athletes motivated by recreation. You can choose to run among dozens of participants or even thousands.

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Why Run a Marathon?

People run marathons for different reasons. Some want to run for their health. These people do not really want to beat anyone to the finish line. Finishing the marathon is also not necessary to them. It's the exhilaration and the running that motivates them to push forward. They know that if they run, their health is going to be a lot better. Other marathon runners just want to finish an entire marathon run. Winning is not a priority for these people. Reaching the finish line in one piece is winning in their book. Of course, there are competitive athletes that run a marathon for the prestige of crossing the finish line.

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Non-profit organizations and various companies also organize marathons to gain support for their cause. Because of the fast-growing health consciousness these past few years, more and more people have been registering in different marathons.

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How to Endure a Marathon

When you decide to run a marathon, you don't just get up the next day and run. You have to prepare yourself well because a marathon is a test of physical and mental endurance. The following are some helpful pointers that will help you endure any length of the marathon:

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  1. 1
    Remember to train
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    A marathon is something that you have to prepare for. You have to train yourself to last the entire length of the marathon. It is running at an extended length. Here, running is more of pacing and stabilizing yourself to complete the entire length. This is where your endurance is tested. Make sure that you run every day while trying to maintain steady breathing. If you want to train for a marathon, you have to complete 64 kilometers or 40 miles a week. Elite male marathon runners complete 160 kilometers or 100 miles every week. As you reach a recommended distance, try to surpass the distance weekly. This will help you know your limitations and capabilities when it comes to long-distance running. Basic training for a marathon runs last from four to six months. Running at least four times every week with the goal of increasing the distance is an effective way to train. It's recommended that you have, at most, a 10 percent increase in your mileage. Training this long will help your body adapt to the different levels of stress in a marathon run.
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  2. 2
    Load up with carbohydrates
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    You should do this while maintaining a constant intake of calories. Carbo-loading should be done one week before the run so that your body can store higher amounts of glycogen. If you run a marathon and you don't take carbohydrates before reaching 18-20 miles, your body will start burning your fat stores. The energy from stored fat doesn't burn as quickly as carbohydrates. That is why runners may collapse after fatigue sets in. You should maximize the glycogen that you have in your body so that you won't experience that much fatigue. You can do this by burning energy from fat at the start of the marathon. This way, you conserve your glycogen for the rest of the distance you have to run. Many runners use energy gels to prevent fatigue from setting in. Energy gels have caffeine and potassium. You need to take these with a specific amount of clean water.
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  3. 3
    Do not eat new food before or during your run
    Doing this might make you sick. You should also avoid taking non-steroidal inflammatory drugs before you run because these will alter the blood circulation in your kidneys. This will then result in problems such as dehydration.
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  4. 4
    Start running slowly
    You don't have to run fast at the start of the marathon. By running at a slow pace, you build yourself up to the second phase of running. This is called the negative split.
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  5. 5
    Run at your own pace
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    Own the marathon. Don't be discouraged when you see others running ahead of you. You will eventually catch up later. Training ahead gives you a clear view on the pace you should be going and the variety of pace that you should be making along the whole path of the marathon track.
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  6. 6
    Don't be overtaken by your emotions
    Excitement uses up energy. Conserve your energy by keeping calm. This way, you can maintain your mental energy all throughout the marathon.
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  7. 7
    Defeat boredom
    Long distance running can be boring. You can defeat this by playing games with your mind, talking to other runners, counting trees or just singing.
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  8. 8
    Focus on other things
    Instead of minding your pain during running or complaining that you're tired, focus on the view, other runners, posters, or spectators.
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  9. 9
    Always hydrate
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    You have to keep yourself hydrated or you will experience electrolyte imbalance.
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  10. 10
    Wear the right socks
    Take note of this because running for hours needs comfort. Dry fit garments like shirts, socks, and shorts are recommended.
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  11. 11
    Select the right shoes
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    Take advantage of the shoe technology these days. There are lots of running shoes, even for feet with pronation requirements. If you have the right shoes on, you will be more comfortable up to the finish line.
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  12. 12
    Wear nipple band-aids
    It may be difficult to accept, but men do suffer from nipple chafing when they run in cool climates. These band-aids will protect the nipples while running.
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  13. 13
    Use the potty before you run
    You have to clear your body of waste before you run. It is preferable to do this before leaving the hotel or your home.
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  14. 14
    Find a buddy
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    You can ask a relative or a friend to join you in your run. If they are willing to do it, it would be a much better run for you than running alone. You can also bring your well-trained dog as a running companion. As you train for the marathon, bring your dog as well so that both of you can be conditioned enough before the big day.
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  • Be patient during training. You can't be a well-trained marathoner in just a week or a few days.
  • Download marathon-training programs online.
  • Have a complete medical checkup before you start training and before you run the marathon.
  • Take supplements every day to help you battle free radicals from stress during training.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Recent edits by: VC, Doug Collins, Lynn

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