Are You Training for a Marathon?

As the weather warms up, so does race season. If you are training for a marathon or road race, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind during your training and all the way through when you cross the finish line.

Be energized

  • Make sure you consume enough carbs to maintain energy. Molly Kimball, Ochsner’s registered dietician recommends taking in carbs during exercise that lasts 90 minutes or longer. You’ll want to incorporate carbs that are easily digested and absorbed and to limit fat and fiber. Try energy bars, sports drinks and gel packs and see what works best for you.

Stay hydrated

  • Staying well-hydrated is essential not only to optimize your athletic performance, but also to ensure that you finish the race safely. Dehydration can lead to feeling weak and dizzy and can lead to muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting. If it becomes severe, it can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
    • How much hydration is enough? A general guideline is to aim for about half of your body weight in ounces of fluid, plus an additional 16 ounces for every pound of sweat lost during exercise or work in the heat.
  • Make sure you stay hydrated whether you are participating in the event or cheering the athletes on. Molly Kimball, RD gives her recommendations on low calorie drinks to help you meet your hydration quota.

Stay on schedule

  • As the race day approaches, you probably will be training up to six days a week and you should focus on your weaker skill at least three of those days. Alternate running days with strength-training days for a balanced workout regimen.
  • Never increase your running mileage by more than 10 percent per week.

Pay attention to your body

  • Pay attention to your body's warning signs and cut back on intensity, duration or frequency when you feel sore.
  • Don't go beyond what's comfortable for you. As soon as you finish running, talking out loud for 30 seconds should be a challenge, but not very difficult.
  • Allow time for a pre-run warm-up and a post-run cool down.

What are your training tips for a marathon or road race?