Unveiling the Secrets: Tips and Tricks Leading into a Marathon

by | Apr 5, 2024

5 min. read

Get the low down with Brooks Triathlete David Fawkes on how to maximise your potential when training for a marathon!



For many, the idea of running a marathon can seem like an insurmountable challenge, a distant dream reserved for elite athletes or the incredibly fit. However, with the right preparation, mindset, and approach, crossing the finish line of a marathon is an achievable goal for anyone willing to put in the effort.

As someone who has trained for and completed marathons, I understand the importance of proper preparation and the value of strategic tips and tricks. Here, I unveil some of the secrets to success leading into a marathon.

Start early and stick to a training plan

One of the most crucial steps in preparing for a marathon is starting your training early and adhering to a well-designed training plan. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a novice, gradually building up your mileage over several months is essential for developing the endurance necessary to complete 26.2 miles. Find a training plan that suits your fitness level and schedule and make a commitment to follow it consistently.



Focus on building endurance

Endurance is the name of the game when it comes to marathon training. While speed is important, especially for more experienced runners aiming to achieve a specific time goal, prioritizing endurance during your training will ensure that you have the stamina to finish strong on race day. Incorporate long runs into your weekly training schedule, gradually increasing the distance over time to simulate the demands of the marathon distance.


Dont underestimate the importance of rest and recovery

In the pursuit of marathon success, it can be tempting to push yourself to the limit with intense training sessions day after day. However, rest and recovery are equally as important as training itself. Listen to your body and prioritize adequate rest days to allow for muscle repair and regeneration. Incorporate activities such as stretching, foam rolling, yoga, and massage into your routine to prevent injury and keep your body in peak condition.


Pay attention to nutrition and hydration

Proper nutrition and hydration are fundamental components of marathon training. Fuel your body with a balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals to support your training and recovery efforts. Experiment with different foods and hydration strategies during your long runs to determine what works best for you. On race day, stick to familiar foods and beverages to avoid any unexpected digestive issues. I like to cut fibre from my diet in the two days leading into the event, and I consume a lot of bagels, white rice and white pasta, keeping things quite plain.


Practice mental toughness

Running a marathon is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Throughout your training, practice mental toughness techniques to help you push through moments of fatigue and doubt. Visualize yourself crossing the finish line, break the race into smaller, more manageable segments, and develop positive affirmations to repeat to yourself when the going gets tough. One thing that works for me is counting my breaths or footfalls and finding a rhythm in that.

Remember, your mind will quit a thousand times before your body ever does—don’t let it.


Get proper gear and equipment

Investing in the right gear and equipment can make a world of difference in your marathon training and performance. Make sure you have a good pair of running shoes that are suited to your foot type and running gait. My personal favorites are the Brooks Ghost and Glycerin, but for race day you want something fast like the Hyperion Elite 4. Wear moisture-wicking clothing to keep you comfortable and dry during your workouts, Brooks have a fantastic range in this department. Additionally, consider using accessories such as a GPS watch, hydration belt, and Brooks running socks to enhance your training experience.



Embrace the taper

In the final weeks leading up to the marathon, your training plan will likely include a taper period during which you gradually reduce the volume, keep some intensity specific to your marathon pace in your workouts, and allow your body to rest and recover before race day. Embrace the taper, trust in the work you’ve put in during training, and resist the urge to prove you are ready by doing super long or intense workouts. Your body will thank you for the extra rest, and you’ll be better prepared to perform your best on race day.

In conclusion, preparing for a marathon requires dedication, commitment, and a strategic approach. By starting early, focusing on building endurance, prioritizing rest and recovery, paying attention to nutrition and hydration, practicing mental toughness, getting proper gear and equipment, and embracing the taper, you’ll set yourself up for success come race day. Remember, the journey to the finish line may be long and challenging, but the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with completing a marathon is truly unparalleled. So, lace up your running shoes, hit the pavement, and chase that marathon dream—all while keeping these tips and tricks in mind.


Bottom line, the ideal time of day to exercise is when it is best for you. Although more research is needed in this area to draw a conclusion on exactly what time of day is the best to exercise, what we do know is that long-term exercise does in fact improve aerobic capacity, cardiac function, management of BMI, and strength. So, the evidence points to moving your body for overall wellness regardless of what time you do it.

Keep that spring in your step this season and embrace your Run Happy journey with Brooks Running!

Our writer’s advice is intended for informational or general educational purposes only. We always encourage you to speak with your physician or healthcare provider before making any adjustments to your running, nutrition or fitness routines.

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