Why do people run marathons for charity
Whether for charity, to prove to yourself that you can, or just for fun, running your first marathon is a huge milestone. We are here with all the information you need to prepare for your first marathon.
Choosing the right marathon can have a huge impact on your success and enjoyment of the day. Most people choose one of the six World Marathon Majors as their first marathon because they are the most famous. These marathon majors are London, New York, Chicago, Boston, Tokyo, and Berlin. These are the marathons that have gained cult status over the years because they are so well organized, have such great support, and take place in beautiful cities.
Because of their popularity, these marathons all have difficult entry procedures and you cannot simply pay an entry fee to get a seat.
London Marathon ballot paper
There are three ways to take part in the London Marathon: take part in the public vote, run for charity, or get a Good For Age spot.
The public ballot for the London Marathon opens in early May each year, approximately a week after the race, and is open for a week to give everyone a fair chance to participate. The results will then be published 6 months later in October, when eager hopefuls either receive a magazine in the mail notifying them of their success or an email letting them know they have no place. A record of 414,168 hopefuls took part in the vote for 2018, making the London Marathon the most popular marathon in the world.
However, this also means that your chances of getting an election spot are very slim. In 2016, nearly a quarter of a million people voted in the hope of reaching one of the 17,000 allotted voting spots. This means that each person only had a 7% chance of getting a place to vote. With almost twice as many people voting in 2018, your chances of getting a spot are very slim.
One of the easiest ways to run the London Marathon is to secure a spot through a charity. There are numerous charities that provide runners with space to raise a minimum of £ 2,000 for their charity.
Finally, there are Good For Age places. However, you have to be very quick to get to any of these places. For a man under 40 you must be able to run under 3 hours and women must run under 3 hours 45.
The Boston Marathon is also known for its rigorous and tough entry process. You can only participate in this race if you achieve a "BQ" or charity spot.
If you have BQ, it means you have managed to run a marathon in a Boston qualifying time. This is less than 3 hours for men under 35 and less than 3 hours for women of the same age 30. However, this becomes even more difficult as the entries are oversubscribed each year, which means that the actual BQ time is often lower than this goal.
For example, those who started in 2019 had to achieve a time that was 4 minutes and 52 seconds faster than the qualifying standard. Therefore, a man under 35 should have achieved a BQ of under 2:55:08 - very quickly!
Take part in your first marathon
Because of the strict and often difficult registration procedures used by the World Marathon Majors, it may be an idea to run your first marathon in a location that allows easy paid registrations. If you're not ready to take on the hassle of collecting tons of cash besides the strenuous exercise, there are plenty of other marathons out there that are perfect for your first marathon.
Three such popular marathons in the UK and Europe are the Brighton Marathon in East Sussex, England. Paris Marathon in France and Edinburgh Marathon in Scotland. For each of these races you only have to pay the entry fee and you are there. They are just as well organized with fantastic tracks in beautiful cities and still benefit from the overwhelming positive support on the sidelines. Definitely worth considering a less famous marathon as your first.
Finding the right pace for you is extremely important for your first marathon, but don't try to hit an unrealistic time. Everyone is different and a good time for your marathon depends entirely on your age, gender, body weight, how long you run, and your ultimate goals. Are you just running to have fun and enjoy the experience, or are you competitive and want to run as fast as possible? Since this is your first marathon, you don't have a personal best to try to beat, but having a goal in mind is a great motivator.
Of course, the Good For Age times mentioned earlier are a great indicator of this: what is good marathon time for your age? However, as long as you are enjoying yourself and getting what you wanted, your time really doesn't matter.
Even so, it's important to exercise enough to run at a reasonable pace and not end up on your feet for too long. It can be quite dangerous to put this heavy load on your body and you want to be able to have a good fight instead of having to walk most of the course. Because the faster you run, the faster it's over!
The most important factor in your success in running a marathon is your training. Whether you're a complete beginner to exercise if you've run up to half a marathon distance, running a full marathon is a completely different experience and requires full dedication, as well as knowledge of nutrition and hydration.
Find a good workout plan
Your first stop should be to find a great workout plan that fits you and your goals. One of the most popular places to find marathon training plans is on the Hal Higdon website. As an American writer and marathon runner, Hal has written over 30 best-selling marathon training books and guides, and has contributed to Runner's World longer than any other writer. His training plans cover something for everyone, from beginners to advanced to advanced. For your first marathon, it is recommended that you choose one of the beginner training plans.
Suitable training for work and private life
Before committing to running a marathon, the important thing to know is that you will need to stay committed and invest time in training for several months. This means that your social life is likely to suffer and you may need to give up things like alcohol and tighten your diet. Talk to your family and friends about your intentions to make sure they are on board, as their support can be invaluable to your success.
You also need to make sure that you have the time to incorporate training into your work life. There are many ways to incorporate training into your everyday life, such as: B. running early in the morning before work. exercise at work, e.g. at lunchtime and to include exercise in your commute. Explore these possibilities and find out what works best for you.
Many of the popular UK and European marathons take place in the spring, which means you'll train over the winter. This has its own dangers like unexpected snowfall and freezing temperatures. Make sure you have the right activewear for winter running as that will make winter training more bearable. The most important thing should be a long-sleeved training top with temperature control to keep you warm without overheating, and a waterproof running jacket and glove to protect you from the elements.
Many people who have run a spring marathon say that training through the winter is the hardest part. Dark evening runs after work and cold early morning starts can make motivation difficult. However, if you keep your goals in mind and stay committed, you can enjoy exercising and staying motivated.
Both the Berlin Marathon and New York Marathon take place later in the year, which means that most of your training will take place in the summer. As we saw in 2018, a freaky heatwave can really improve your workout, and that's important to stay safe when you're running in hot weather. Make sure you have extra water with you and exercise flexibly. Listen to your body and adjust your speed accordingly, as 100% effort running is unlikely to end well with rising temperatures and bright sunshine.
Any marathon runner will tell you that you can cover endless kilometers and countless hours of training, but all for free if you don't crack your drinking and eating strategy. As we saw in London in 2018 when a woman fell into a coma after crossing the finish line, hydrating with just water can be potentially dangerous, and topping up electrolytes and sodium is important too.
If you have a sports drink and take sodium supplements, this can be easily combated. So make sure they are part of your drinking and eating strategy. It's also important to be able to adjust your race day strategy to suit the weather, as you may have been exercising in freezing temperatures but need more water than you think on an unusually hot April day.
Find what works for you
There is no uniform drinking and nutrition plan. You have to develop your own. Some people have a few gallons of water and some energy gels just fine, while others feel that real food fueling is much more effective. You can even make your own cardio energy gels and bars so you know exactly what went into them; especially effective for those with a sensitive stomach or food intolerance.
Make sure you try different things in your workout to find out what works for you so that there are no surprises on race day. It's also important to be as self-sufficient as possible once you've figured out what works for you, as not all races at the auxiliary stations have what you need.
What to eat during a marathon
Some of the best foods to eat during a long distance event like a marathon are:
- Protein balls
- Flapjack / cereal
- Peanut butter sandwiches
- Pretzels (good for sodium, but can be very dry, especially if you're dehydrated)
- Pickles and cucumber juice
- Dried or fresh fruit
- Sugar cubes
- Energy gels
- Sports / electrolyte drink
Top Tip: If you consume a lot of energy gel and sugary drinks while exercising, brush your teeth as soon as you get home to protect yourself from tooth decay and tooth loss due to excessive sugar consumption.
Once you have your training plan in place, you need to make sure that you are doing an effective cross training as well. For marathon training it is a matter of course to drive many kilometers. However, to avoid injuries and perform at your best, you must also cross the train.
Cross training for runners is any type of training other than running that complements and enhances your workout. Some of the best types of cross-training are strength training at the gym, bathing, and cycling. All of these are low impact sports that give your joints a chance to rest after hitting the sidewalk for hours while working your muscles and increasing your strength and strength. All of this is necessary to perform well on race day.
As the big day approaches, it is completely natural to feel nervous. You will want to know what to expect on your first marathon so it doesn't get so shocking. Here are some of the most common things you are likely to experience on your first marathon.
Long queues for the toilet
If you have raced many races you already know the frustrations of some portable toilets trying to accommodate thousands of runners and it won't be any different with a large marathon. The key is to queue early and be patient. As long as you get there with plenty of time you won't miss the start and the time you spend in the queue is just time you pace up and down your start pen anyway. A top tip is to bring a small amount of toilet paper with you as there probably won't be any if you're at the head of the queue.
A busy start
The start of a marathon with thousands of runners will always be busy and it can take a while to cross the start line. At this point you will be pretty scared and nervous, but also very excited. Take this time to make sure you have everything you need ready and operational. Make sure your running watch is ready and turn it on early to make sure it can find a GPS signal for everyone.
Driving too fast
All the excitement of launch can make you go too fast. Stick to your stimulation schedule and keep an eye on your watch so you stay on track. Don't be tempted to run away with everyone else. Keep calm and start off sensibly so you can enjoy the race.
Hit the wall
This is one of the most common concerns among marathon runners, and for good reason. Hitting the wall can take the form of anything, from a little lightheadedness to physical inability to move. The key to not hitting the wall while running is to stick to your diet and hydration strategy and stay as hydrated as possible.
Read race reports
If you want to be well prepared for what to expect for the particular marathon you're running, it's a good idea to read race reviews from people who went, did, and received the finisher's t-shirt.
Read our race report from the Paris Marathon
Read our London Marathon race report
Read our Edinburgh Marathon race report
Have the best day of your life
Even if you hobble with aching feet, painful joints, and no energy, when you reach that finish line all will be forgotten and it will be remembered as one of the best days of your life. Running a marathon is a great accomplishment, and all of the long workouts, dedication, and compromises will be well worth it when you cross that line. The excitement you feel will be like nothing else.
One thing you will hear from a lot of people who train for a marathon, whether it's their first or their tenth, is that starting off unharmed is a big deal. It can be all too easy to exercise too much and suffer an injury that hinders your chances of performing at your best or even running. Some of the most common running injuries are caused by trying too hard and doing too much too soon, especially if you're new to running.
To stay injury-free, always listen to your body while exercising and don't underestimate the importance of rest. Some of the best ways to deal with running injuries are to not push through the pain, learn from your mistakes, and not hasten your comeback. Rest and gently relax in your workout. Ideally, you shouldn't injure yourself at all while training for a marathon. As long as you eat well, exercise smartly, and listen to your body, you should be ready to go.
Of course, for your big day, you want your family and friends to be there to support you. There's nothing worse than wondering where they are and when you see them and distracting you from your performance. Before the race, make sure you are all in agreement on where they will be to watch you so you know when to expect them.
A top tip is to see them towards the end of the race for any extra encouragement.Not only will they encourage you to get to the finish line, but you can keep going knowing you'll be seeing them soon when the race gets tough halfway through. We recommend Mile 20 as the best place to see your supporters.
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