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Many mature athletes, regardless of fitness level, dream of completing a full marathon. Many older adults add this to their bucket list because it is the ultimate challenge. Marathon runs will push you to your limits. They test your endurance, stamina, physical fitness, and mental health.

Marathon training takes time, commitment, and planning. If running a marathon is on your bucket list, these tips will help you make it happen.

Start Early

Regardless how fit you are, preparing your body for a 26 mile run takes time. Athletes serious about completing a marathon should start their training long before the scheduled race day. Most experts recommend starting training six months before the run’s date. Setting an effective training schedule will help you avoid over training, under training, or pushing your limits too quickly.

Get a Physical

Masters Athletes are typically in good physical health. However, competing in a marathon is different and often more strenuous than other sports. Before starting any running program, it is important to see your doctor first to ensure you can safely compete.

Adapt Your Diet

Marathon runners have specific dietary requirements to keep their bodies energized and well nourished.  Before you train or race, talk to a professional about what type of meal plan you should be on to meet the dietary needs for endurance runs. A nutritionist who specializes in runner’s food intake can help you develop a proper plan.

Pace Yourself

Setting a good, steady pace early is key to successful long distancing running. Learn to pace yourself early so it becomes a natural stride. Poor stepping habits can cause muscle damage and cause early fatigue. To avoid wasting energy by improper running, learn how to effectively pace your steps and stride so you will maximize your efforts.

Get the Right Shoes

Every Masters Athlete knows the importance of using high quality gear for your sport. Wearing the right shoes will make a tremendous difference when you are running. The wrong shoes can cause blistering, pain and tissue damage. To find the proper shoes, visit a store that specializes in helping runners and have a qualified staff help you find the right type and size of runners.

Don’t Quit Your Other Sports

There are many benefits to participating in different sporting activities. Besides doing something you enjoy, running should add to your athletic interests, not replace one sport with another. Actively playing other sports uses different muscles in the body. It will also strengthen the surrounding tissue while resting your marathon muscles.  

Join a Running Group

Running groups provide valuable information about proper marathon training. There are specific programs designed for every fitness level to help athletes develop the skills to run, set their pace, and increase their endurance.  A recognized running group will assess your current fitness level and design a training program to meet your training needs. It will also introduce you to other likeminded athletes so you will have the encouragement and support throughout the process.

Masters Athletes enjoy challenging themselves in their own – and other – sports. Many top fitness enthusiasts’ transition from their game to marathon running. These tips will help you properly train for your first long distance race.

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