The marathon – once upon a time the domain of elite athletes and diehards – is now the stuff of social events and charity drives. But what happens after you sign up for a marathon? Unless you train properly for a marathon, it’s best to leave a full marathon to the athletes. Here’s why it’s important to train properly for a marathon:
The day is here. The gun has gone off and everyone is moving. You are somewhere towards the back of the herd and once the crowd thins slightly, you set a good pace. Right now you’re feeling good, and so happy with your decision to do this.
In the first several kilometers, and sweat is pouring. This is normal, but how much of it is from the heat and how much is from your fitness levels? For a professional this stretch is easy, but if you have not trained properly you’ve started feeling slightly uncomfortable.
Over the course of the next several kilometers, your heart rate might not drop slightly as it does during the “comfort zone” for seasoned runners. Without a long and consistent training schedule, you may not have perfected your pace. Though you maybe keeping up, the pace may increasingly feel strained and ungrounded.
You reach a water point and you know the dangers of dehydration. It’s possible that you may make the rookie mistake of loading up on too much water and may now begin to notice a bloating sensation that could make you sluggish and maybe even a little nauseous.
You’ve now passed the halfway point. If you are not fit enough, it’s possible that you may have run out of glycogen fuel a while ago. This is a critical turn. The body must now burn fat to continue. Well-trained, seasoned long-distance runners tend to be more efficient fat burners than poorly trained individuals.
You begin to feel a little hazy and jangled. Fatigue is also beginning to set in. As a result, your stride has become less efficient, which only worsens the joint impact and jarred sensation. Your muscles are feeling the pain as well. Lactic acid is building up quickly. As for any runner, your body is trying desperately to repair the incessant damage, resulting in inflammation and contributing to some excruciating muscle cramping that is now challenging your pace. Since your respiration is going downhill, your muscles aren’t getting the oxygen they need.
As you reach the end of the marathon, your blood sugar is bottomed out and you’re beginning to feel disoriented. After the bloated feeling you got from drinking too much earlier, you passed up water too often and you now find yourself dehydrated. (Solid, consistent training teaches you where that fine line is.)
You’re now entering mental as well as physical exhaustion, and your pace has entirely fallen apart. In fact, you’re not even running in a straight line but wavering from the exhaustion and disorientation. Your heart rate is too high, and your oxygen intake inadequate. At this point even if you do manage to cross the finish line, you won’t be moving much for a couple of weeks and you maybe more sensitive to a heat stroke in the future.
And well, you will have a story to tell in the future about the dramatic run. But won’t it be far better to say that you trained well and finished it without incident?