Romain Chevalier is a certified health and performance coach, pilates instructor and personal trainer.
A highly decorated athlete, he is ranked among the top 10 triathletes in Thailand.
He is based in Hua Hin and can help you become the best version of yourself.
Connect with Romain on Facebook and start your journey to a better you @HealthCoachRomain
Continuing his monthly health and fitness feature for Hua Hin Today, Romain shares tips on how to run a marathon.
This May, thousands of runners will converge on the streets of Hua Hin to take part in the Hua Hin Marathon.
Many runners taking part in the event will be attempting a marathon for the first time. The 42.2km distance can be daunting for runners of all abilities, and even elite competitors can get nervous.
But the truth is that most people can run a marathon, providing they have the will and ability to train.
Below I have highlighted five key areas that I think are important to consider if you plan to sign up to run in a marathon.
Start running now
Most typical marathon training plans are between 12 and 16 weeks long. During which, you’ll typically run three to five times a week, increasing your mileage as you get nearer to race day. However, don’t wait until 12 or 16 weeks out to start training.
If you have plans to run a marathon, you should already be out running about 3 to 5 times a week even before you start your dedicated training plan.
Training takes time and you won’t go from zero to running a marathon overnight. Begin with short easy runs that will help you build up strength, stamina and endurance before you start a training programme.
My advice: Start your journey with easy and short runs, you might even mix up walking and running at the beginning.
Example session for beginners:
40min run as 1min Run – 1min walk. Overtime progress to 2min run – 1min walk etc etc
Choose your marathon wisely – consider these 3 things:
The Hua Hin Marathon might be taking place in May but that might come too soon for you.
Wherever you choose to run your marathon in Thailand, be aware that it will be a lot (I mean A LOT) harder than running a marathon in Europe or the US.
Humidity and heat will make your body work harder to cool down, you will need to drink more fluids and eat more carbs during the marathon.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t run a marathon in Thailand, quite the opposite. But consider the time of year – the winter months in Thailand are the best time to run a marathon, from November to early February. April and May, which are the hottest months, are probably the worst time.
Time of year
In addition to the weather, there will be other factors regarding the timing of your chosen marathon that you should think about.
Consider things such as when is the busiest time of the year at work, or when are your next holidays.
Preparing for a marathon is a fairly big commitment, it takes time and energy. You want to avoid getting the last 4 weeks of your training leading to it at your busiest time of the year. Likewise, if you are on holiday, you may not want to or be able to wake up early in order to continue with your marathon training.
Take enough time to prepare
If you have already recently run a half marathon, you probably only need another 8 to 12 weeks of training to prepare for the full marathon.
However, if you have never run a running event and only run occasionally, you might consider taking 8-12 months to get ready. Sign up to a few shorter races along the way so you stay accountable.
My advice: Give yourself at least 6 months before the time you sign up for the race and the time you run it.
Start strength training now
The biggest reason people don’t finish a marathon is because they never started it. Indeed some studies report that 30% of runners preparing for a marathon will get injured in the process. Strength training and a well-thought training plan are the best way to avoid injuries.
My advice: Squat, Deadlift, Calf Raises are your friends, 1 to 2 times a week.
Set realistic goals
Setting a goal should be based on how fast you are able to run now and what is the time frame that you have to prepare for the race. A marathon is a very long event so consider that your 10k pace will drop massively.
Without specific preparation, you can consider that your pace will be anywhere between 15-30% slower.
My advice: Set yourself a target when signing up but don’t be afraid to fine tune it based on how your training is going. You want to come up with a specific strategy on race day.
If you set the right goal and strategy, the marathon could be a walk in the park but it can be an absolute nightmare and a long zombie walk to the finish line if you don’t have the right strategy/target.
Choose the right training plan
How many weeks?
Unless you are already running half-marathons and running frequently. The minimum training plan should be 16 weeks.
Choose a plan that is very close to your current running frequency.
For example, if you already run 3 times a week, you should choose a 3 times / week plan or max 4 times/week. Increasing the frequency too quickly will lead to injury.
Some training plans will be based on pace, some other plans will be based on perceived intensity.
You might have a target pace for a specific session, but I would always recommend using perceived intensity.
Some days, you will get out, it will be 40c outside and you won’t be able to hit the pace, don’t die trying, run as per feel, do the work and be proud of it.
If you are either very new to running or you have a very specific and challenging target, get in touch with a coach to help you.
A coach will save you an amazing amount of time trying to figure out the best way to train and a good amount of money not going to the physio twice a week to fix yourself.
We have tons of experience with runners, marathoners, trail runners and triathletes on runista.com, – a dedicated online training platform for runners of all abilities.
Take a look at the website and get in touch.