Why can't you run long distances in person?
Why do you run 42.195 kilometers? Because it's an amazing feeling. It starts with the many kilometers before that that you run for weeks or months to train for a marathon. On the way there and on the day of the marathon itself, you get to know other runners who have the same goal or a completely different motivation than you - and you notice how multifaceted this sport is because it gives everyone something different. Marathon is an event for the masses and you run with it, let it pull you along, cheer you on from the sidelines - and yet you run these 42 kilometers mainly for yourself.
Marathon training has many positive effects on you, both physically and mentally. In addition, running is a sport that you can do anytime, anywhere. Getting started is easy, all you need is you and your legs. Okay, and a little motivation. Find out everything you need to know about marathons here - regardless of whether you are a beginner or a marathon professional.
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What and how 6 types of marathon
The classic marathon is an endurance run over a distance of 42.195 kilometers. It is also an Olympic Games discipline.
A half marathon is half the length of a marathon run, i.e. 21.0975 kilometers. A good route for newcomers to the marathon!
Any marathon that is longer than the regular marathon distance of 42.195 kilometers is considered an ultramarathon. The most popular among them is the 100 km run. Not for beginners!
The route of a city marathon usually leads through large cities, for example Berlin or Boston. For this purpose, roads will be closed and traffic will be interrupted for the duration of the marathon. Most of the routes lead past the sights of the respective city.
Mountain marathons are a special challenge: Since the route leads over the mountains, the runners are confronted with inclines and uneven terrain and not only overcome the marathon route, but also many meters in altitude.
If a normal marathon is not enough for you, there are extreme forms of the 42-kilometer run. There are no limits to your imagination: from extreme cold to extreme heat or running through the jungle, you can test your strength and nerves in a wide variety of ways.
Marathon runners are said to be tenacious: They are considered determined, disciplined and strong-willed.
The myth of the marathon
According to a Greek legend, the marathon is named after a small coastal town in Greece. On September 12, 490 BC, Pheidippides, a soldier and messenger runner, ran the 42.195 km to the capital Athens. He was supposed to bring the news to the Athenians that the Greek army had defeated the Persians in Marathon. He delivered the message and immediately collapsed. The idea of the marathon is based on the distance run in this story. The first Olympic marathon was run on this same route in 1896. But don't worry: we'll show you how to prepare for a marathon better than Pheidippides.
Run properly: whether you are a non-runner or a runner, this is how you become a "marathon"
Everyone has their own style, including when running. But there are some rules that you should heed, because your running style should be gentle on your joints on the one hand and efficient on the other.
- 1. Keep your body in a straight line that is tilted slightly forward as you run This way your center of gravity is roughly in a line above the knee, which is not overburdened by it. An upright posture, slightly tilted forward
- 2. Land your foot at the height of your body's center of gravity - this will avoid braking effects from stepping on and automatically “roll” into the next step.
- 3. Keep your arms at a right angle, if possible, with your hands, shoulders and neck relaxed.
For a marathon you have to train, of course. You don't just shake it out of your sleeve. Eva Wutti, professional triathlete and marathon runner
Small talk knowledge for marathoners # 1
The marathon with the largest number of participants in the world is the New York City Marathon. In 2015, 50,235 women and men ran it. The largest German marathon is the Berlin Marathon: In 2015, 37,064 runners took part.
Here we go: your motivation for the start of training!
Running is good for your body, mind, and spirit, and you've made a plan to run a marathon. But unfortunately the bed is so warm and it's gray outside. Maybe lie a quarter of an hour longer ...
- 1. If such thoughts sound familiar to you, make a plan: for example, join a running group or ask friends and acquaintances who also want to run a marathon and have a similar training rhythm. When you have a common goal, you motivate each other. Make an appointment at fixed training times - because you definitely don't want to let your training partner down!
- 2. You can also condition yourself well for your training with rewards: If the motivation just doesn't work, think about in bed what you can treat yourself to after training - go to a massage, cook with friends, everything that is good for you does. Get out of bed thinking about the reward!
“Endurance running is not about defeating others - the only opponent is yourself” Haruki Murakami, author
Try to remember in difficult moments: Everything you learn in training for a marathon is also useful outside of the running track. The training also shapes you for everyday life and can be useful to you in many areas of life - because with marathon training you train your ability to keep an eye on your goals in the long term and continuously work towards them. It's not for nothing that running is the sport of the successful.
You peeled yourself out of bed or left the sofa again and found the motivation to go running again. But even now you can quickly lose your motivation due to rain, cold and tiredness. With a few tricks you can still stick to it.
Researchers have found that music has a positive effect on the running behavior of many people. You are more motivated, have more fun running and perform better. The rhythm and speed of the music should match your running pace - here you have to try to make sure that it doesn't get too fast or too slow. And of course you should like the music and motivate you personally.
Playing music while you run can be tremendously motivating - or it can get you completely out of step.
When the marathon is approaching and you need to learn to run steadily and keep the pace for long distances, music can also be a hindrance. In order to observe the body closely and to train steadily to run, also try training sessions without music. With faster songs, your step involuntarily accelerates - and you get out of rhythm.
Also helpful to stay alert and motivated while running: keep your eyes open. Look around and react to your environment. Find running routes that appeal to you and keep trying to discover something new, even if you run the route for the umpteenth time. Because especially when it gets strenuous, it is good to draw attention to the environment and away from the body.
Your training plan: three rules of thumb, four no-gos
Motivation, goal, competition and schedule have been defined? Then you can put together your training plan now, if you haven't already got specific tips from a sports doctor. There are of course a lot of ready-made training plans on the Internet that are tailored to specific times or goals and offer orientation. Nevertheless, always adapt such a training plan individually to you, so that it fits your rhythm and motivates you. In general, you can prepare for a weekly training with at least 3 to 4 units per week - or 6, if you want and can, that's entirely up to you.
Incidentally, a sophisticated training plan is not a must for your start! If you'd rather run by feeling first and test your performance limits, that's just as good - because then you know where to start with your targeted training.
1. Push yourself calmly, but be realistic! Either way, sticking to your exercise program becomes a task. You don't have to schedule your training times on a Sunday evening or at 5.30 a.m. - unless you run particularly effectively in the morning. Listen to your body here: Some run particularly refreshed in the morning, others need the evening hours to "start up".
2. Find three different beautiful routes that you like to run, perhaps along the water, a forest path or deserted streets - as it suits you and depending on how much variety you need while running. Different impressions while running are important - you run more easily and are more relaxed. It is also good if you know roughly how long the route is, then you don't have to keep comparing the mileage. Here it is also worth working with running apps to document your kilometers and times and to share them with like-minded people.
3. Find yourself a running partner - that motivates! Groups or a friend who is pursuing the same goal as you are also ideal.
Small talk knowledge for marathoners # 2
The first Olympic marathon took place in Greece in 1896 - won by Spyridon Louis, a Greek, with a time of 2:58:50.
A few things to avoid in training:
- 1. Train more and harder from one day to the next. If you want more performance, increase the requirement over a certain period of time and preferably not overnight.
- 2. Skipping breaks is pointless in the long term. Your body needs regeneration phases, and you should give it to it so that you can continuously improve your performance. Otherwise your body will be overwhelmed by the constant strain, you will get tired and your performance will decline.
- 3. Too few cross-country runs in training. They are important to see how your condition is going after two or three hours of running. Be sure to include a few of these in your training plan to prepare yourself optimally.
- 4. Do not do running training or even a marathon if you are sick or have a cold!
The most important thing: keep your joy of running while exercising. A helpful tip is to look up! We often tend to stare at the ground in front of us while jogging. This is not good for your running technique or for fun.
Small talk knowledge for marathoners # 3
In some countries there are the “100 Marathon Clubs”. Only those who have run 100 marathons or more may become a member.
The right clothing and equipment for training and marathons
In general, you should always train in special running clothes, especially in winter, so that your body does not get cold. The textiles that are used for this clothing are mostly water-repellent, breathable and transport sweat to the outside. This way you stay reasonably dry and at the same time do not cool down.
For a marathon, you probably need plasters - and not for your feet "
There is a crazy phenomenon among long-distance runners: the joggers nipple, the “jogger nipple”. This is an irritation and abrasion on the nipples caused by rubbing against sweaty and rough material (T-shirt) over a long period of time. It is more common in male than female runners, as women usually wear a sports bra when exercising to protect themselves. Even if the wound is small and harmless, it is very painful. Before a marathon, the nipples should be taped - there are special plasters for this.
The shoes are of course the most important element of running equipment and should be selected with professional advice. An old runner's saying goes that old worn-in shoes are the best. That is only partly true. The suspension, which is built into running shoes and absorbs the impact, becomes hard over time and bounces significantly less. Therefore you should change your shoes every now and then - your knees will thank you! How long you can use your running shoes is highly individual. Among other things, this is related to the following components:
- Running surface
- Humidity of the running environment
- The kilometers run
- Weight of the runner
- Runner's running style
- Material and quality of the shoe
Ideally, you have two pairs of running shoes that you can train with!
While some shoes last less than 200 kilometers, with others you can run over 2000 kilometers. Classic alarm signal: clear signs of abrasion in the area of the heel and ball of the foot. Put the foot at eye level and look at it from all sides: is it “crooked”? That’s a bad sign. If in doubt, you should replace your shoes sooner rather than too late: Expired running shoes can lead to serious injuries to the joints and shins.
Don't necessarily buy new clothes for the marathon, wear your training gear. You know they don't pinch and are comfortable, the shoes are broken in and your outfit will instantly get you back into training mode!
Compression clothing when running
There is a hype about so-called compression clothing in running. These are textiles that fit particularly tightly and quasi “compress” the body, that is, compress it as much as possible. This is supposed to stimulate blood circulation and make you run faster and more efficiently. Compression stockings are particularly popular among professional athletes: They not only stimulate blood circulation, but also stabilize the calves.
The last few weeks before the run: Try tapering
A form of training called tapering is recommended in the weeks leading up to the marathon. Tapering means that you specifically reduce your workload in the last few weeks before the run. Many athletes have had better experiences with it than exhausting themselves completely before the competition. You should reduce your workload to 70 percent in weeks four and three before starting, then again in week two by another 20 percent. In the week before the start, you should then do an easy workout at around 40 percent of your regular training quota. So if you run 10 kilometers easily three days a week, you can reduce that to 4 kilometers.
The main thing is that you keep running regularly - just less intensely.
Small talk knowledge for marathoners # 5
In order to replenish the carbohydrate stores on the day before the marathon, many runners meet for so-called “pasta parties”: They eat a lot, mainly pasta, which is high in carbohydrates. In many cases these "parties" are organized by the organizers and are included in the entry fee. This is also known as carbo-loading among runners. Alternatively, it can be a pizza - but don't eat anything that puts too much strain on your stomach!
The day before the run: create focus and stay calm
After weeks or even months of preparation, the time has come: In a few hours you can run the incredible 42.195 kilometers! A few tips so as not to lose your nerve and to be optimally prepared:
- 1. Get enough and deep sleep the days before the marathon - you should switch off possible sources of restlessness or noise at night. That is more important than the day immediately before the run. You may be restless and unable to sleep as long as you had enough sleep beforehand, it doesn't matter
- 2. Make sure that you are consuming enough carbohydrates and that your carbohydrate stores are well filled about three days before the marathon. The evening before, you should eat a normal portion so that your stomach is not stressed too much.
- 3. It doesn't have to be too much exercise on the last day. Avoid long walks or sightseeing tours.
- 4. The evening before, a non-alcoholic wheat beer can relieve your nervousness with its hops.
During the marathon
The time has come: the starting gun is fired, you start walking - the first ten meters are over! Now only the remaining 42,194 meters! Sobering? Definitely.An important part of the marathon is mental strength and the associated strengths and tricks that you learn before the marathon. In this example this means:
Don't look at the whole route - break it down in your head, like the milestones from the beginning.
In your preparation phase, it makes sense to also adapt your diet to your training. During the marathon, many runners use so-called energy gels or energy bars. These provide you with the carbohydrates that are used up after several hours of running. They consist of various types of sugar and are easy to digest. Nevertheless, some people feel sick or even vomit - the gastrointestinal tract is a bit more sensitive than usual during the marathon. So try them out beforehand during training so that you know how your body reacts to it. Important is:
Eat everything that is good for your body and soul - the diet should support you in your performance and you should feel comfortable with it.
Whether in training or during the marathon: Anyone who does sport sweats and has to drink more! In addition, sodium, i.e. salts, is lost with sweat. That's up to 1 gram of sodium or 2.5 grams of salt per liter of sweat. On average, you lose one to two liters per hour during intensive training - top athletes sweat significantly more than amateur runners. And when the balance of fluid and sodium in the body is out of balance - through sweating and sodium loss while at the same time consuming low-sodium fluids such as tap water - the water can no longer be absorbed by the bloodstream. In the worst case, fluid leaks out and builds up in the body. This can cause dizziness, vomiting, cramps, or confusion.
While you're running, don't wait until you're really thirsty, but rather take a few sips every 15 minutes. And no more than 600 to 800 ml per hour - that hits the stomach.
This is why isotonic drinks are also ideal for athletes because they contain sodium and many other nutrients that you sweat out while running. But be careful: it is better to drink non-carbonated drinks during training - it upsets the stomach unnecessarily and thus takes up energy that you need elsewhere. Rather, use still, sodium-added water for the marathon or during training. Then refill your memory with an isotonic drink after running or training - for example with an ERDINGER alcohol-free!
Small talk knowledge for marathoners # 4
The marathon has only been an Olympic discipline for women since 1984. The world record in the women's marathon has been held by Paula Radcliffe since 2003 with a time of 2:15:25 h.
Among the many unpredictable things that can happen during a marathon is the weather. There may be a change in the weather shortly beforehand, it may start to rain or the wind on the route may be colder than expected. Prepare yourself mentally for as many situations as possible beforehand. What do you do when you urgently need to go to the bathroom? How do you deal with it when the audience makes you nervous instead of spurring you on? What if the motivation suddenly drops? You should play through all of this in your head beforehand and figure out the reactions beforehand - this way you won't be thrown off course!
There are a few things that you should rather not do during a marathon - to ensure that everything runs smoothly and to get along well. These are not fixed rules or specifications, rather guidelines. They serve the spirit of sport that should never be forgotten among athletes. In reality, you will often have the problem of not being able to comply with these guidelines 100% - especially due to the enormous number of starters.
- 1. Don't spit on the street - it's rude and later inevitably someone will step in, it doesn't have to be.
- 2. Only wear headphones if you absolutely want to run with music. But you are less aware of what can be dangerous or simply exhausting in such large groups. Plus, you miss out on how the crowd cheers!
- 3. Do not run in the slipstream - this is uncomfortable for the runner in front of you. You won't be able to avoid it, especially at the beginning, when the field is densely packed. Just keep in the back of your mind that you wouldn't want someone pounding you either.
- 4. Don't run back and forth - you don't run alone, pay attention to your fellow travelers and run straight ahead.
- 5. Don't stop at the watering hole - walk slowly past the watering hole, have a drink and drink it as you continue walking. However, the water should somehow end up in your mouth. Find the middle ground, you can slow down a little.
It is well known among marathon runners: the border is around 30 kilometers. Here the body often goes limp and motivation tips over. In addition, the muscle structures are often used particularly heavily above this limit - rather too much. This is why a maximum length of 30 kilometers is recommended during the training phase. But why should you suddenly be able to cover another 12 kilometers in the marathon? It's simple: significantly more adrenaline is pumped through your body! You run with others who don't give up either, the audience cheers you on the edge of the track and you are in competition mode. That adrenaline takes you to the finish line.
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After the marathon
The feeling of stepping over the finish line after several hours of continuous running and being knocked down the medal is priceless. You managed! You ran the marathon and or maybe even managed your best time. The tension will now fall away from you - and at some point the sore muscles too: Complete regeneration after a marathon usually takes a few weeks, the sore muscles usually disappear after a week. It is best not to start training again right away, allow yourself some rest for the regeneration time. After the marathon, the minerals are washed out of your body - your body now needs some time to replenish them.
A simple rule of thumb is: one rest day should be taken for every kilometer run.
In a full marathon, you can give yourself 42 days of rest, that's six weeks. Rest days do not mean that you shouldn't exercise at all - this only applies to the regeneration phase in the first two weeks after the marathon - but only relieve the body. And there should be a little more time before the next marathon: professionals sometimes only run two marathons a year.
As you can see, a marathon trains you in a wide variety of ways - and it's fun! Running as one of the primal forms of human movement will give you a lot, especially outdoors. Just you, your body and nature. And in training you will notice where your limits are, test them and push them further outwards. Enjoy your marathon!
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