Planning a trip abroad is very exciting, but planning to run a marathon abroad is even more exhilarating, especially for the fitness fanatics out there. Marathon running in foreign countries is becoming more and more popular, even for tourists who just want to take part for the fun of it.
Marathon running began as far back as Ancient Greece - and it’s not going anywhere. More and more people are entering marathons all over the world. This month we’ve decided to give you some helpful tips on how to train for a marathon abroad. If this is something you plan on doing, make sure to take out Marathon Running Insurance. If you've run in a marathon abroad before and can think of more tips we could have included, let us know your thoughts in the comment box below or on Facebook.
1. Choose the right marathon for you. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to take part in a large marathon. The London or New York Marathons are a great way to start. These marathons are the traditional 42.195 kilometres and running in such large groups will help motivate you to get to that finish line. Of course a more experienced runner will choose an ultra-marathon, such as the Comrades. Ultra-marathons are longer in distance than normal marathons, so if you’re an amateur, best stick to the normal ones to start with.
2. Research the city and the course. You’ll need to do some research on the city you’ll be running in if you haven’t been there before. For example, look at factors such as the climate - the last thing you need is to be dressed like an Eskimo in the sweltering heat. It’s vital to make sure you know if the course is going to be flat or hilly so that you can train accordingly.
3. Train hard. The amount of training is ultimately what makes or breaks you when running a marathon. Make sure that you have a great marathon training schedule to keep you motivated. If running is not usually your forté, then at least six months of training is recommended. If you usually run about three times a week, then there’s only sixteen weeks of training ahead for you.
4. Set a realistic goal for yourself. It’s very important to have a goal, even if you’re just taking part for fun. If you set a realistic time for yourself, it will make training easier and will definitely give you more motivation. Remember: be realistic.
5. Take health precautions. If you’re travelling to a foreign country, find out about any specific health hazards, such as malaria, so that you can take the necessary precautions. Also, if you’re over the age of 40, it’s really important to go for a medical check before you think about taking part in a marathon. A (rather strange) tip for men is to remember to put plasters over their nipples, as they tend to chafe.
6. Arrive at least five days prior to the race. This is for two very important reasons: Firstly, arriving a few days before will give you some time to orientate yourself in the city. You will need some time to become familiar with your surroundings and to adapt to the climate. Secondly, jet lag can have an immense effect on your sporting performance. Tiredness, dizziness and nausea are not things you want to be feeling while running 42.195 kilometres.
7. Eat properly. A good diet is vital if you want to stay fit and healthy enough to run a marathon. You need to eat foods that are rich in carbohydrates, as this gives you sufficient energy. Eat protein moderately and make sure your diet is low in fat. Make sure to “carbo load” three days before the race.
8. Become familiar with your running shoes. For many people there’s nothing better than a new pair of shoes - unless you’re an athlete. New running shoes come with fresh blisters and general discomfort. To avoid this, you have to do your training in the same shoes that you plan on running the marathon in.
1. Don’t start running too fast. It’s really important to pace yourself. Sprinting in the beginning of the race to get ahead will only tire you out and can actually hinder your chances of making it to the finish line. Pace yourself, run with ease and if you still feel good towards the end of the race, speed up for the last 10 kilometres.
2. Don’t over hydrate. While we all know that drinking water is one of the best things we can do for our bodies, it’s a little bit different for marathon runners. You need to remember not to drink too much water, as it dilutes the sodium in your blood and can result in hyponatremia. This can lead to dizziness, headaches and in more serious cases, even a coma.