Go the Distance: Run a Marathon
A runner at 2010 Toronto Women's Half Marathon. (Adrienne Stewart)
Running a longer distance (half marathon or more) can be a new challenge. With that challenge comes the need to adjust how you tackle the road ahead.
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According to Cory Freedman, founder of the Toronto Women's Run Series, it's a mental game. "If you take your training step by step, your body will be ready. To get over the mental hurdle and build your confidence, be sure to focus on all you have achieved and be proud."
Freedman says hydration and nutrition play a greater role in ensuring you have enough energy for longer distances:
Food: about 30-45 minutes before long runs eat a light, healthy snack: a half bagel with nut butter is easy and digestible for most people and will fuel the start of your run.
Water: hydration is a daily requirement, not only on the days you run. Drink at least 1.5 - 2 litres of water each day and be sure to take water with you on your runs. Don't wait until you are thirsty to drink. By then you are already dehydrated.
Salt: you need to replenish the salt levels in your body too. Choose sports drinks or use gels containing electrolytes on runs longer than 60 minutes.
To set your own pace and have a safe race it is important to follow a training program.
Marathon Training schedules, such as the ones on the Toronto Women's Run Series site give detailed six month training programs to complete your first half marathon.
Here are some important points to keep in mind:
- Do hill work to increase leg strength.
- Add core work and stretching into your cross training routine to increase flexibility and stability.
- Do not increase your weekly long runs by more than 10% each week to prevent injury.
Most importantly race director Cory Freedman from the Toronto Women's Run Series says, "Regardless of what pace you are setting or what motivates you to cross the finish line, take one step at a time, and believe in yourself," and adds, "Completing a half marathon is an accomplishment that will last with you for a lifetime."