You have firmly set your sights on running 42.195km. But should you take the plunge and actually sign up and train for one? Or should you give yourself another year or two to prepare yourself? Here are some tips to gauge whether you are ready to run 42km.
You should be running for more than a year
Prior to your marathon, you should have taken up running at least a year ago and it should be a regular routine of yours. By doing so, this would allow your body to get used to the rigours of running and adapt to the physical exertion. As a result, your body will be more tuned to coping with the demands of running a marathon.
Sure, there are those training programmes that allow you to go from “couch to 42km” within two months or so, but they are not good for your body in the long run. Even though you might survive the marathon, it will ultimately lead to injuries and keep you out of running for a lengthy period of time subsequently. It might even cause injuries for you in old age. So never try and attempt such training programmes, even though you may be “sold” by their selling power.
You should complete a couple of half marathons
If you have never been running, or if you are just used to short five-kilometre runs, you would not understand the wreckage that a marathon does to your body.
By attempting a couple of half marathons in the year leading up to your marathon, it would give you a good gauge at whether you are ready to tackle the marathon. If you finish a half-marathon and you feel so terrible that you can barely walk any more, it is a sign that you are not ready for a marathon, and should wait for perhaps another year.
You should not ignore your injuries
If you are suffering from injuries, whether these are running related or not, you should not even think of tackling a marathon. This is especially so if these are recurring injuries and will flare up when you run for a substantial period of time. So even if you have trained regularly for the marathon, you should not even appear at the starting line if you have suffered an injury prior to race day and are not fully healed yet. Many people ignore injuries, but they will only wreck your body further, if you try and run a marathon when you are not at 100% fitness.
You must make sacrifices to train
Do not underestimate the amount of training required to run a marathon. If you are used to partying or going out late on Friday nights and Saturdays, you have to make some sacrifices to train for your marathon. Running five to ten kilometres every weekend is one thing, because these runs can be easily completed in an hour or less and do not need much commitment from you.
But if you are training for a marathon, it requires great time sacrifices, because one of your running sessions every week would have to be about two or three hours long. You must ask yourself whether you can spare such time sacrifices. In addition, more time will be needed to rest after your weekly long run to recharge your body. You may also need to soak your tired feet in an ice bath or even have a foot massage after your run – and all these will take up time.
So if you know you can’t make these time sacrifices, do not even think about tackling the marathon, because you simply will not be able to handle it.
Tips from Top Runners
- Winner of Tri Factor Run: Alex Ong
- SG Blade Runner
- Ashley Liew
- Mok Ying Ren (Recovery)
- Mok Ying Ren (Pacing)
- Mok Ying Ren (General Tips)
- Winner of Sundown 100km Ultra Marathon: Wong Hoong Wei