The 2017 running season might be well underway, but are you ready for your next marathon? Whether you’re running a full marathon or a half, we’ve got you covered. Follow these training tips to get into shape and find out which socks are best for running the distance.
Most marathon training schedules range from 12 to 20 weeks. No matter if you’re running 26.2 or 13.1 you should build your weekly mileage over time, running 3-5 times per week. The majority of these runs should be at a relaxed pace, easy enough to be able to carry a conversation while running. In addition to your shorter weekly runs, you should do a long run every 7-10 days so your body can adjust gradually to the longer distances.
Pro Tip 1: While you’re building base mileage, you should never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent from week to week.
Pro Tip 2: Beginning marathon runners should build their weekly mileage up to 50 miles over the 4 months leading up to race day.
While you’ll be running 3-5 times per week at a relaxed pace, you should set aside a day for some speed work by practicing intervals and tempo runs to increase your endurance and cardio capacity.
Pro Tip: You’ll need to fit this into your days that you already plan on running. Even if you are running distance 5 days a week, you should still have 2 days set aside for rest days (no running!). You’ll thank us later.
Rest and Recovery
Adequate rest helps prevent injuries and mental burnouts that often happen when training or running long distances. If your body tells you it needs rest on a day you had planned on running, listen. It may need time to recover from your previous runs. Either take it slow and short that day or take it as a rest day, you might be feeling better to run on one of your pre-planned rest days.
While there are water stations throughout the course of a race, there won’t be during your training. Here are some ways you can hydrate on your training runs:
- Carry your own water using a hydration pack or belt, or with handheld bottles
- Do longer runs on a short loop course so you can stash a water in one spot and hydrate along the way
- Plan your long run route to pass water fountains
- Stash water bottles along your route the night or morning before your run
Glycogen, your body’s primary source of energy during a marathon or run, often gets depleted as you reach longer distances (and burn more energy). At this point, your muscles will begin to tire and feel heavy and you will experience what many marathoners and ultra runners call bonking, or hitting a wall. Fueling your body throughout the course with carbohydrates can prevent this.
A few pieces of fruit or an energy bar will do the trick, but energy gels or chews are often the easiest to digest and the easiest to carry while you’re running. For any run over 2 hours, aim to take in about 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour for a little boost.
Now that you’re in shape for your run, we have a few tips left for you on race day.
- Don’t try anything new. No new shoes, new shorts, or a new shirt. While it doesn’t seem like it would make a difference, it’s also wise to try out a new pair of socks before hitting the marathon course on race day.
- Keep your morning routine the same. If you don’t normally drink coffee in the morning, you don’t need it to get you going on race day. Make sure to keep hydrated and eat a simple high-carb breakfast several hours before start time.
- Put a little Vaseline or BodyGlide in any areas vulnerable to chafing
- Get to the starting line early (and get in line for the bathroom)
Pro Tip: You should be fine-tuning your clothing, gear, and fueling strategies on your long training runs, not on race day.
Running long distances takes their toll on your body, so your post-race recovery should be just as important as your pre-race training. Follow these tips to recovery:
- Drink several cups of water to nourish your muscles
- Walk a little, if you can to let your muscles cool down
- Stretch (gently)
- Eat simple carbs
- Take a week off of running, your body and muscles need it
Best Running Socks
You can’t run your best without good running socks. Here are the best socks for running.
Darn Tough Women’s Vertex No Show Tab Ultralight Cushion Sock (also available for men) - ON SALE NOW! $12.75
Less is all you need. Weighing in at only 13 grams per sock Darn Tough's Vertex No-Show tabs are incredibly light but still incredibly tough. Plus they even have that handy lil' tab on the back so they slip on easy. True Seamless construction reduces hotspots and blisters. Ultra high stitch count creates a super comfortable sock with a streamlined fit like no other. No slipping, no bunching, no blisters. Fine gauge Merino Wool makes this a fast drying and breathable "all-weather" sock that stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter. And since Merino Wool is naturally antimicrobial this sock repels bacteria and odor when you're laying down the miles.
Smartwool put all of their smarts into these new and improved run socks that feature their 4 Degree™ Elite fit system, ReliaWool™ technology for superior durability and a virtually seamless toe. Men and women-specific mesh ventilation zones provide ultimate temperature and moisture regulation where runners need it most.
Balega Ultra Light Quarter Socks - $13.00
Ultrafine Hi-Tech performance yarns on a high needle count knitting machine provide the sheerest, lightest sock on the planet while still providing the necessary protection. Featuring a reinforced cushioned heel and toe for comfort and durability, sculptured mesh panels to aid ventilation, a hand-linked seamless toe, and heel tabs to prevent slippage.
FITS Light Runner Low Socks - $16.99
A low cut cushioned sock that your shoe will not eat. High impact cushioning only where you need it in the toe cup and the heel lock areas. This sock delivers pavement-pounding performance in every stride.
Injinji 2.0 Run Midweight No Show Toesocks have a midweight padded heel and metatarsal support will ensure you'll be performing at your best on any road, anywhere. It will provide the comfort and support you need for the most demanding of workouts.
No matter the distance, the Run Sock 2.0 offer maximum benefits. The flagship product in the CEP line-up, these socks are the defining performance product in the compression category. CEP’s proprietary compression profile improves blood flow, reduces muscle soreness and quickens recovery time. Featuring an extra-flat toe seam, a mesh structure for ventilation, and padded zones to relieve pressure where runners need it most.
If you prefer compression socks check out the Best Compression Socks for Runners.
If you’re prone to blisters, check out the Best Socks to Prevent Blisters and Keep Your Feet Happy.