Blog: 5 Marathon Tips by Rafael Baugh


Running a Marathon in 2015?
Head Coach Rafael Baugh shares his Top 5 Marathon Tips…

  1. Don’t run a marathon, be a marathoner: at school, you aren’t ready to sit your tertiary entrance when you are in first grade. Similarly, your best marathon is years of work and learning away. Take a long term approach to your running to maximise your potential. By focussing on ongoing self improvement and taking a long term approach to performance optimisation, you will gain the most from the “perfect challenge” that is marathon running.
  2. Mileage is VERY important: we live in an age where many want quick results, often while wanting to do less work. The marathon is the anti-thesis to this line of thinking. Increasing your training volume gradually over time is pivotal to improving your performances in the Marathon.
    The distances help teach the body to use fat as a fuel more efficiently, thus preserving glycogen (carbohydrate) for longer in well trained marathoners. It also helps lean up the athlete, builds strength in the lower limbs and perhaps most importantly adding easy/steady volume is much lower risk than adding more intensity or speed sessions.
  3. Strength is important: appropriate running drills and functional strengthening can provide significant gains and reduce injury risk for marathoners. The correct exercises can enhance the runners neuromuscular system and improve running economy through enhanced use of elastic energy at the musculo-tendinuous junction. It can also improve strength and injury resistance with consistent and ongoing application.
  4. Race Specific Training: we are in one of the biggest periods of improvement in the history of marathon running. One of the biggest changes implemented by the likes of Italian Marathon coach, Renato Canova (coach of world record holder, Wilson Kipsang and multiple world Champion Abel Kirui) is the addition of a final specific phase of preparation. This includes specific progressive or paced runs at close to race distance and speed. These specific sessions closely replicate the demands of the race and galvanise the physical, mental and emotional preparation of the marathon runner. Over repeated testing before events, these sessions also provide an extremely accurate guide to the athletes condition and make goal setting and pacing strategies much more accurate.
  5. Have a coach: probably the most poorly understood aspects of running training is load. A balanced training load that applies progressive overload with corresponding recovery will result in consistent and ongoing gains. Furthermore, it will play a significant role in preventing overuse injures which are so common in running populations. Essentially, the coach should be a logical guide and mentor for the athlete whom often attach emotionally to ideals or principles which should be sense checked for appropriateness.

Running regards,

Rafael Baugh
Managing Director – Front Runner Sports Training.

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