Completing a marathon is one of the most impressive athletic achievements imaginable. It’s a great fitness goal to set if you’re trying to get in shape, but beware: A full-length marathon is challenging even for the most well-trained athletes.
Want to go the distance? Lace-up your shoes and pull out your online calendar.
Get Up to Speed With Your Online Calendar
If the finish line is in your sights, start scheduling everything you need to succeed. Here’s how to use your online calendar for marathon-level training:
1. Give Yourself Time to Train
Choose a date when you want to participate in a marathon. Unless you’re already in peak physical condition, make sure it’s at least six months away.
You can map out a marathon-length run on your own, or sign up for one of the countless organized events around the country. If you choose the latter, you’ll get your own medal to display your hard work. You’ll also be motivated by the other runners involved in the race.
Whether you choose a casual or competitive venue, your run date should be top of mind. Adding this date into your online calendar will act as the light at the end of the tunnel.
2. Schedule Some Serious Miles
It’s a good idea to go on a couple of runs before attempting a marathon. That’s an extreme understatement: Experts recommend building your training schedule up to 50 miles a week before attempting a marathon. That dedication requires some careful planning.
Don’t just lace up and run as far as you can every day. Adding on too many long runs or rigorous workouts too quickly can lead to injury. Build up to the 50-mile mark a mile or two at a time.
If it’s been years since you’ve been on a track, start by running a mile. Do that a few times, and then run two miles. Once you’ve hit the five-mile mark, you can start adding a few at a time.
3. Check Your Shoes
Good shoes make marathon training a lot easier. But good shoes don’t stay that way for long.
Running a lot of miles can quickly break down your footwear. Unsupportive shoes can lead to injuries that develop over time. To prevent these injuries, know when it’s time to hang them up and get a new pair.
Keep a training log in your online calendar. A trail log will help not just gauge your performance, but also track your mileage. Depending on the type of shoe, you could be due for a new pair after 300-500 miles. Set a reminder in advance to start shoe shopping.
4. Plan Out Your Meals
When training for something as grueling as a marathon, you must be meticulous about what you eat. A healthy diet will help you get in shape to tackle those 26.2 miles.
Believe it or not, an online calendar is an ideal tool for meal planning. Make sure you get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. To make sure your muscles can mend between runs, aim for double the protein recommended for a typical 2,000-calorie diet.
Just as important as a healthy diet is staying hydrated. Set daily reminders to drink enough water. Speaking of, have you sipped from your water bottle recently?
5. Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting enough sleep ensures that you have all of the energy you need to run a marathon. Don’t wait until the night before the race: Day-in-day-out sleep hygiene ensures that you’re able to recover from training quickly and still have the energy to carry out your day.
Be proactive about getting to bed on time and getting up in the morning. If you use your phone late at night, set a notification to put down your phone an hour before your scheduled bedtime. Think of setting down your phone as a cue to start winding down.
6. Change Up Your Workouts
If you want to run a marathon, you have to do more than just run. Are you giving your core enough attention? What about your back and shoulders? Every muscle group is essential.
Not only should you keep your workout routine fresh, but you also need to take breaks from it periodically. Usually, once a week, you should plan a full day off from the gym.
Use your online calendar to keep you honest. If you don’t take enough rest days, you may get injured before the race even begins.
7. Bring a Friend Along
While some runners prefer the solitude of the open trail and a pair of headphones, others feel that working out is best done with a friend. As they say, misery loves company.
If that’s true for you, send an invitation to your favorite running buddy. Some calendar apps are even specialized for exercise activities, making it even easier to organize group training sessions.
Do your best to be flexible. If you can’t agree on a time, simply ask that running buddy to join you on the next one.
8. Remember the Rest of Your Life
Training for a marathon takes a lot of time and effort. Some days, it may feel like your life revolves around your training. To keep your sanity, it’s essential to make time for other hobbies and priorities.
Use your online calendar to plan moments to unwind with family and friends. To make sure you don’t slip in your job performance, block off time for work each day. Take a vacation every few months. Enjoy a Friday night out every once in a while.
9. Plan for the Next One
Not all marathons are created equal. Some are on the road, others on trails and many a mix of the two.
Once you’ve completed your goal of running a marathon, look ahead: What’s next? Check your calendar to see if there are other races you can squeeze in.
If another one is on your radar, review your marathon training routine. What worked? What could you do better next time? Use these insights to make adjustments, so you run the next one even faster.
The only thing stopping you from running a marathon is yourself. Use an online calendar to unlock your full potential, pushing your limits and breaking down your barriers.