When it comes to marathon training, it’s not just running that will get you to the finish line. Whether it’s your first or your tenth, preparing for a marathon involves more than multiple laps of your local park. Strength, balance and your core all play a valuable role in going the distance – and keeping injuries at bay
Sebastian Ferrari, personal trainer and founder of FitStudioZ in Greenwich, shares his top marathon training tips…
1 Balance is your secret weapon
At FitStudioZ, we insist on working your balance, known in the physio community as proprioception. Imagine a car running without tyres – eventually you’re going to shake all the nuts and bolts lose. The human body is similar. With proprioception, we strengthen all your ligaments, so that when you’re on your 18th mile, exhausted and roll your ankle, you’re joints and ligaments are strong enough to avoid injury.
Test your proprioception now. Stand up, balance on one foot and close your eyes. If you’re standing like a statue you’ve passed with flying colours. If not, get to work. Try lunges and squats on an uneven surface, such as a pillow or sand. Teach your body to adapt to vulnerable scenarios rather than ideal flat surfaces.
2 Body weight training
Strength training is a must for successful marathon runners. This doesn’t mean building tree trunks for legs. Adopt a training method known as calisthenics, or, in simpler terms, bodyweight training.
You’re looking to work with minimal resistance as you’re building strength, not muscle size. This can include squats, lunges and pistol squats. Don’t neglect your upper body either. Press ups, pull ups and tricep dips are important too.
3 Core stability
Don’t neglect your abs – a little bit of vanity can go a long way, 26.2 miles in fact! At FitStudioZ I have seen a lot of runners that neglect body weight training and core stability, so hung up on running, staying lean and light that they forget the necessities.
I picture the body as a structure or a chassis. Your abs hold you up, they support you and and ensure your posture is correct. Your posture will worsen as you fatigue, and poor posture causes weight transfer, which can overload one leg more than the other, increasing fatigue.
Slouching due to poor posture can also cause cramp in your diaphragm, reduce lung capacity and cause a stitch. To combat this, be sure to add some planks, crunches, leg raises and so on to keep your core active and efficient.
At FitStudioZ we offer a marathon specific training programme that can run over four, six or eight weeks. Get in touch for more expert advice on running a successful marathon. See fitstudioz.com