The marathon is one of the toughest athletic tests and also the most emblematic in the world. The extreme difficulty of this race requires good preparation, both physically and nutritionally. Diet and previous training are key points to have iron health, perform at your best and recover more easily.
The Marathoner's Diet
Make sure your diet is balanced and varied. In general, the diet should be rich in carbohydrates (cereals, rice, legumes, bread, pasta, potatoes, etc), which will help you recover from physical exertion, and protein. To strengthen your bones, you should eat foods rich in calcium, such as dairy products, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, and also small fish such as mackerel and sardines. Avoid excess fat, spicy and alcohol. Do not abuse coffee either. To avoid anemia, it is recommended that you eat liver, molluscs, oily fish and red meat.
During the Test
On the day of the test, eat about 3 hours before, to avoid having gastrointestinal problems later. It could be a fruit juice, a yogurt with jam and cereals, a banana, bread with honey or cheese with quince; that is, low-fat, nutritious foods. Also drink water and an isotonic drink during breakfast. During the race you can nourish yourself with drinks, gels and energy bars in moderation. Hydration before, during and after the race and training sessions, with water or isotonic drinks, will help you maintain performance and health.
To develop a training plan that is right for you, it is essential to take into account your level of preparation and previous experience. If you already run 3 or 4 times a week and cover distances of more than 10 miles, starting your training 20 weeks, 16 weeks, or even 12 weeks before your marathon might be enough to get you ready for the big day. However, if you are starting from scratch, you should start training six months to a year in advance. The key to taking the first steps is to get used to running periodically and gradually adding kilometers.
Monitor Your Health and Listen to Your Body
Before starting any type of training, ask your doctor to do the corresponding studies and analyzes to check that everything is in order. It is also very important that you monitor your health at all times, that you take tests and know your physical condition. If during any training or during the race you feel bad, stop and ask for help. You may be dehydrated, or have hypoglycemia. Don't take unnecessary risks.
The Right Equipment
One of the best things about running is that it's affordable: anyone can run for free, without paying for a gym or expensive equipment. However, to take good care of your health, it is essential that you invest in shoes to run long distances. Look for sturdy shoes with good cushioning for your first marathon, rather than the lightweight shoes worn by more advanced runners. As for the size, it is recommended that it be a little larger than the shoe you wear every day and that there is some space between the foot and the tip of the shoe. If possible, go shopping in the evening, when your foot is a little more swollen. In this way, you will prevent the shoe from fitting too tight when running. It's also worth buying specially designed running t-shirts, especially if you'll be competing in hot or cold weather. There is sports clothing that absorbs perspiration, which makes the race more comfortable and even achieves better results.