Most runners think they don’t need a coach to get to that next level. That could be the case for that particular runner. But in my opinion a coach can help in ways most wouldn’t even think about. If you want to know if you would need a coach then check out this article from Active. There’s an 8 question quiz to help you out. For me personally I needed a coach to help me achieve my goals and it was the smartest decision I ever made. And I’m not just saying this so I can have you as one of my runners. Find out for yourself and let me know what you think.
Running is one of the easiest sports to participate in. All you need is a pair of shoes and you can just walk out the front door and start running. With that being said it’s important to have the right pair of shoes…mainly to prevent injury. I recommend going to your local running specialty store to have a gait analysis done. You’d be surprised what the right shoe will do for a runner. That foot, ankle, knee, and even hip issue that’s been bothering you could be happening just because you’re wearing the wrong shoe. I’ve seen it time after time when I used to work at a running store. Go get fitted so you can start training to your highest ability!
Being heavily involved in a running community or just having runners as friends has its ‘pros and cons’. Mostly ‘pros’ but one thing that I always see happening is runners giving advice to other runners. Could be great advice…or it could be bad advice. Either way if your race is quickly approaching it’s always best to go with what you know and are comfortable with in training. Even if an Olympic champion comes up to you trying to give you advice don’t try to do anything different during this time. Stick to your plan and what you’ve practiced during your buildup. If you haven’t done regular speed work now isn’t the time to start just because someone told you it will keep your legs feeling fresh while you’re tapering. Feel comfortable with what you’re doing rather than trying something new and worrying how it will affect you. Once your next build up begins then you can try out the advice given to you if you decide on that.
Tips for eating:
1: Eat healthy food- The best option. No explanation needed.
2: Eat unhealthy food- If you can’t eat healthy food then eating unhealthy food is your next best option. You still need the calories.
3: Don’t eat enough food- This is the worst route. Your body needs the nutrients and calories to perform at its highest capabilities. Resort to option 2 before making this mistake.
It’s that easy!
In my opinion, no other person can answer this for you. It’s your body and no one else knows how you’re feeling. Some runners can go faster while others go slower. Another thing to consider is that a 4 hour marathon runner can run much closer to marathon pace on these days than a 2:30 marathon runner. It’s just the way it works. Personally, if I went out and ran close to marathon pace on my easy/recovery days I’d be burnt out so quickly and my workouts and races would suffer greatly. I also know many 4+ hour marathon runners who can run at marathon pace for all recovery/easy days and it won’t hurt their performances the slightest.
So, what I’m trying to suggest is that you need to be the one to make that decision. Coaches can give you a range to work with but ultimately you’re the only one that knows how you’re feeling. Just my two cents.
There is definitely a limit to how many marathons a runner can do at peak fitness during the year. A good rule to follow that a lot of the top coaches use is the 2:3 rule…which is 2 marathons every 3 years. I think most would get away with 2 per year in my opinion. In order to be at peak fitness you have to get the proper training and RECOVERY. You can’t just go straight into marathon mode once you’ve completed a marathon. You need time to recovery and that takes roughly 2 weeks. That means no running. I’ll say that again…no running for about 2 weeks! Yes, you will lose some fitness during this time but you’ll feel fresh and be able to gain that fitness back plus more during the next build up. Also, it’s always a good idea to work on your turnover before starting a marathon cycle. Even just a month or two of 5k/10k pace work will set you up well for what’s ahead. Keep this in mind when jumping into decisions after your big marathon.
You just ran your big peak race…what are you going to do next? Recover! The recovery period after a big race is just as important as the prep work, and the week following the race can be extremely important to your overall health. With plenty of rest and proper hydration you should achieve a smooth recovery.
Post-race: Recovery begins the moment you cross the finish line on race day. The most important thing to remember during this time is to hydrate! Consume beverages that contain electrolytes because your body will most likely be deficient in them. Be sure to get plenty of rest and stay away from any kind of exercise. Your muscles need enough time to rest and recover from running at max effort. Continue to hydrate, and make sure you are eating well-balanced meals. This period is all about replenishing lost stores of vitamins and nutrients and continuing to allow your muscles to rest. After about a week you may begin to start light amounts of exercise…except running. Cross-training is recommended because it can encourage the use of muscles that you haven’t been using while running. Yoga is also a good choice because it encourages stretching and flexibility. Muscle soreness from the race should begin to subside after a week and you may feel like your body is beginning to feel normal again. It is important to remember during this time that your body is still in recovery mode and you should resist any urge to increase your non running exercises too quickly. The entire second week should be all about gradually introducing your body back to moderate amounts of exercise while allowing for plenty of rest. After these two weeks you may begin running in small amounts. Increase mileage slowly. Following all this will make sure you’re fresh and recovered for your next build up.