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Home : News : News
NEWS | June 15, 2016

Proper preparation essential for marathoners

Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

With the Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, three  months away and the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon less than six months away, it’s time for runners who wish to compete in either or both of those races to commit themselves to a training program.

The prospect of running in a marathon may seem especially daunting to runners who are used to running 15 to 20 miles a week but have never risen to the challenge of a 26.2-mile race.

However, proper preparation – including a dedicated training program – can help them reach that lofty milestone, according to Tommy Brown, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Rambler Fitness Center recreation aide.

“It’s good to have some 5K and 10K runs under your belt before you train for a marathon,” he said. “We recommend a 16-week beginners’ training program for those who haven’t run in a marathon before. It’s a gradual process.”

The 16-week plan, which is outlined in the Marathon Training Guide available at the Rambler Fitness Center, starts at 15 to 16 miles the first few weeks and works up to a peak of 39 miles a week, including a 20-mile run, by week 13. The plan includes aerobic intervals, uphill runs, easy runs, long runs, speed work and rules for race day. In addition, three to four rest days are prescribed each week.

The guide also includes a plan for intermediate runners – those who have regularly run 20 to 30 miles per week for a year or more and have experience in 10K races, half marathons and possibly a marathon.

Brown said one thing that can help an aspiring marathoner is to run with a partner while training for the race.

“Some of the advantages of running with a partner are accountability, motivation and the competition,” he said. “Once you reach a certain level, you’ll be able to train by yourself.”

The proper mindset is also essential, Brown said.

“Running 26.2 miles is tough, so you have to follow the plan and believe in yourself,” he said. “You have to tell yourself you’re capable of it.”

Other considerations are diet and nutrition as well as hydration.

“You have to know what to add and subtract from your diet and you want to be sure you have enough energy to complete these runs,” he said. “Running this distance will require more calories.

“Hydration is also very important,” Brown said. “People underestimate how important water is for the body.”

Drinking water during the race is vital, he said, but too much can be detrimental.

Latoya Marble, Air Force Personnel Center force support career field administrator and a runner with three marathons to her credit, said her advice for runners training for their first marathon is to slowly build up miles and follow a training plan.

“Ensure you get your training runs in during the week,” she said. “Running long on the weekend is important, but you maximize your conditioning by completing the training runs through the week.”

Marble, who plans to run in the Chicago Marathon in October, also suggests adding strength training on non-running days.

“Strength training builds muscle and also helps with endurance,” she said. “I also suggest trying out any new energy gels or breakfast before race day to avoid any tummy problems.”

Runners also need to consider the proper gear, especially footwear, Brown said.

“Select running shoes that are comfortable and have the proper spacing,” he said, referring to the recommended half-inch of space between the front of the shoe and the longest toe.

The Marathon Training Guide also covers weight training, the selection of running shoes, nutrition and eating tips.

For more information, call the Rambler Fitness Center at 652-7263.