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marathon workout

Unmasking common marathon myths

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Myth 1: Use the burst of energy at the start of the race while you’ve still got it.
With adrenaline coursing through you while anticipating the sound of the horn, you may have felt the inevitable urge to run as fast as you can as soon as the race starts. This is a mistake many first-time marathoners make; running their fastest miles in the beginning of the race before their energy depletes.

On the contrary, conserving your energy in the beginning will actually help you to feel stronger during the later stages of the race. This is because you prevent your supply of glycogen from depleting early on, allowing you to get that burst of strength as you press on for your final miles.

Myth 2: You need speed work to succeed in a marathon.
Logically, this rule holds true for most races. However, for marathons and any races that include long-distance running, it is endurance that comes out on top. More specifically, the endurance to maintain a desired speed is what most marathon runners seek.

Hence, instead of spending time doing speed work meant for short distances, work on finding a comfortable pace that suits you and train your endurance to finish the necessary distance at that rate.

Myth 3: Marathoners should load up on their carb intake the night before a race

Sorry runners, there is no need for you to stuff yourselves with spaghetti the night before a big race. Contrary to the popular belief, a last-minute attempt at a carbohydrate boost is not very effective.

Our muscles can only store a certain amount of carbohydrates at a time. Instead of having a pasta party the night before, try to incorporate the carbs you need in your meals throughout the day. Pairing them with protein and healthy fat also helps slow the absorption of the carbohydrates, allowing them to be stored as useful fuel.

Myth 4: You don't really need to train to run a marathon

Every marathoner needs a good training programme to avoid suffering during and after the race. Failing to do so may result in some serious stress fractures, pain, and psychological burnout. It may take some time and commitment for a programme to be successful, but it is necessary for anyone to compete in a healthy fashion.

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