Marathon Preparation: 7 Mistakes to Avoid

The marathon is one of the most challenging races, both physically and mentally. Careful preparation and regular training are essential for achieving good results. However, it’s easy to make mistakes along the way. For this reason, we want to share with you an article highlighting the 7 most common mistakes to avoid when preparing for a marathon.

1. Increasing the training load too much

A common mistake in marathon preparation is increasing the training load too quickly. For example, feeling in good shape two months before the race, you might decide to go from 3 to 5 training sessions per week. However, your body might not have enough time to adapt to this increase, risking overtraining, muscle strains, or injuries.

The advice is to adapt the training plan to your physical condition, increasing the weekly load by a maximum of 10%. Additional sessions should initially be short and low intensity. It is also useful to occasionally include a week of reduced training to allow the body to regenerate. Remember that as the race approaches, the training load should be reduced, not increased!

2. Running at Too High a Speed

Remember: slow and steady wins the race! Avoid compensating for missed workouts with high-speed sessions and increasing the pace without a specific reason. The key to marathon training is building endurance. Marathon preparation mainly focuses on optimizing variables such as running economy, endurance, power, and lactate threshold. Maintain an appropriate pace during workouts and preserve it during the race as well.

The race reflects the training: don’t think you can exceed your limits on race day by maintaining a pace you never reached during training. The competitors, the audience, the excitement, the atmosphere and the adrenaline can be motivating, but they could also push you to run faster than usual. Avoid this mistake, or you might regret it early in the race. Be honest with yourself, consider what you’ve done in the preceding months and the challenges ahead over the 42.195 km. Adjust your pace accordingly and participate in the race only if you truly feel ready!

3. Lack of Training Planning

A common mistake is neglecting to plan training sessions. Since running is an individual sport, many people think they can train on their own, without realizing the complexity of this discipline. Even though running is a fundamental movement, it can be difficult to accept that we can benefit from the guidance of an expert. Just as in team sports there is a coach, it is also important in running to have a coach who plans the training and competitions appropriately. Personalized training plans from 2PEAK are an excellent tool for achieving your sports goals.

Additionally, it is crucial to properly plan recovery phases. Training progress occurs mainly during recovery, when the body adapts to the training efforts (supercompensation). Fortunately, you can leave this task to 2PEAK: after each session, the algorithm automatically analyzes the load and recovery capacity and takes the results into account for future planning. To represent your recovery index, 2PEAK uses the recovery battery tool.

4. Monotonous Training Routine

Many runners mistakenly believe that preparing for a marathon is simply about running long distances on flat terrain. This approach is limiting because improvements are achieved only by varying the type and intensity of training. It is advisable to integrate long runs with interval training sessions, medium tempo runs, or hill running.

It’s not just about pursuing quantity but also quality, working at more incisive paces. If you constantly run at the same pace, your body adapts and progress becomes difficult. It’s important to challenge your body outside the comfort zone to stimulate the recovery process and achieve significant improvements.

Moreover, it’s not advisable to do long three-hour runs every week. Your leg muscles need time to recover from the efforts and impacts experienced during prolonged workouts, otherwise, you risk over-stressing tendons, joints, and ligaments, increasing the risk of injuries over time. Let your training plan calculate the appropriate load for you.

5. Nutrition & Hydration

Nutrition and hydration are crucial aspects of marathon preparation. It is essential to have a well-structured plan and follow it carefully, especially in the two weeks leading up to the race. Since the marathon is a long-duration challenge, it is important to eat correctly to ensure adequate energy reserves and replenish micronutrients lost during the effort. Finding the right balance can be complex, but consulting an experienced nutritionist can be the best solution to obtain a personalized and effective plan based on your needs.

The goal is to have the strength to tackle the 42.195 km without depleting energy halfway or encountering intestinal problems. Carbohydrates are fundamental for athletes as they are the primary energy source, but it is also important to ensure adequate intake of proteins and fats.

During long training sessions, it is important to hydrate along the way rather than waiting until the end. Thirst can be a delayed signal compared to the actual hydration needs of the body. Additionally, it is advisable to test different breakfasts, sports drinks, or gels during training to avoid surprises on race day.

6. Muscle Strengthening and Flexibility

In addition to basic endurance, it is essential to develop muscle strength to tackle a marathon. A common mistake is neglecting this aspect. Despite seeming tedious, muscle strengthening training is crucial to withstand the prolonged effort during the race. You don’t need to go to the gym; there are many exercises you can do comfortably at home, such as using resistance bands. However, it is important not to overdo it with the load, otherwise, you risk having a counterproductive effect.

Moreover, never forget to stretch! Often overlooked, stretching is essential for maintaining muscle elasticity, improving joint mobility, and preventing injuries during training.

7. Proper Equipment

Finally, the selection of appropriate, race-specific shoes is of paramount importance. Generally, running shoes tend to wear out after covering between 600 and 800 kilometers. It is essential to wear comfortable and quality shoes that fit well to avoid injuries or musculoskeletal problems. It is advisable to visit a specialized store with qualified staff who can assist you in purchasing the most suitable shoes for your needs. It is preferable to have at least two different models of shoes and alternate them based on training. This way, the muscles will be stimulated more variably and comprehensively.


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