For the past months, I have been reading up on marathon training and weighing the possibilities to prepare myself for that incredible distance of 42.195km. Since I started telling people that I will be running a marathon (and I talk about it A LOT 🙂 ), people regularly ask me about my training schedule and how I am training. I will share some more information about my schedule in February (that’s when I start), but for now I will tell you a bit about two other factors of the preparation period.
Running a marathon without having a trainer is definitely possible. If you feel comfortable with your running posture, don’t injury easily or just like to do it your own way, that is totally fine. If you feel a little less confident or if you feel like you could benefit from corrections in posture, a trainer can be a very valuable asset in your toolkit.
For me, I like the idea of someone keeping an eye on my form, the balance between training and resting and having someone with a lot more experience than I have to consult about pain, tiredness and food. The trainer I chose is licensed and has run quite a lot of marathons himself. He will be making my schedule once we’ve trained together for a little while longer and advises me before every training on the pace I should hit during interval.
It is also possible to use a remote trainer that only coaches you on the execution of your training schedule, for example via Run2Forty2. I don’t know how well this works, I can imagine it is nice to have someone that can motivate you to stick to you training plan, but I would prefer the face-to-face approach, and I don’t live close to their training locations. Something I do plan to do in the upcoming months, is to plan private trainings with Robert Lathouwers to really focus on my posture and have some pointers to keep working on as an addition to my regular training. This is a nice way to get some undivided attention, which will help you improve faster.
Key to surviving the longest runs in my opinion. These can be friends you don’t physically run with but are always there with similar experiences (yes Alex, talking about you! 🙂 ), people you find inspiring like the ASICS frontrunners or your best friend from high school, they will help you get through the hard days.
I used to run with friends I met long before I started running more, and as a result, we don’t really have matching paces. For some runs, that is not too big a deal, depending on the goals you both have.As I needed people with similar plans, motivation and capacity, I decided to join a running group from Leiden Atletiek. The group consists of people running a 10k within 35 minutes to 50 minutes. I am slow with my 49 minute PR… But that is perfect, I can only get faster with them! Four other runners in my group are running a marathon this spring, so once the time for 25k, 28k and 30k comes around, I can join them.
Another great advantage of running in a group, is the increase in pace during interval training. Whether you are doing intensive or extensive interval (more on that in another article soon), it is easier to push yourself if you can create a little competition or support amongst each other. During my trainings I usually tag along to two men that are above 50 and have a lot of experience. I can be a little faster than them, but they have been training more consistently and have more talent for running, so right now I need to work to keep up with them, without pushing it too hard every training.
There are so many running groups, and if you cannot find one close to you, start one! Walk into your local running store and ask around, talk to people running a similar pace, whatever (just don’t be a creep though 😉 ). Around Amsterdam there are many groups, also organised by brands and companies. They usually promote themselves on Instagram and have matching t-shirts, easy to spot!
A last advice to meet new runner friends, is to join a clinic like I did last week. There’s many people who love running just like you, and you can easily spot people with a similar pace or goal. I always make new friends during these events!
Of course a trainer and running friends is not all you need! Next week, I will tell you a little more about the gadgets I use, the socks I prefer and the clothing that works for different temperatures and weather threats! Is there something you like to know more about? For example about alternative training? Let me know in the comments or find my on Instagram!