As a Marathon Runner, Here’s How I Keep Myself From Getting Sick While Training
24 Jun, 2022 | admin | No Comments
As a Marathon Runner, Here’s How I Keep Myself From Getting Sick While Training
In partnership with Seven Seas.
I first started running in 2015 as a way to reduce exam stress and combat boozy pub nights at uni.
Fast forward three years and I ran my first marathon, raising over £2000 for Cancer Research UK in the process. They say running is contagious and they’re not wrong – despite the grueling distance and the 27-degree heat of race day, I was hooked, and have since traveled from London to Paris with a team relay run, four ultramarathons, seven marathons, And accomplished a lot. More than half I care to count.
Running, to me, is escapism – it’s the best way to doom at the end of the day and the easiest way to switch off when life’s a little too much. Plus, it’s a way to see the world, hit your step count and get some sunshine and fresh air while you’re at it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a form of fitness that I really love.
According to ASICS UK, globally, the average completion time for a marathon is 4 hours 21 minutes – specifically 4 hours 42 minutes for women. Yet last October, I ran the London Marathon in a Boston qualifying time of 3 hours and 26 minutes.
So, how did I do it—and how did I keep my body injury-free through weeks, long runs, and speed sessions with high mileage? Keep reading to find out—and while you’re here, don’t miss our guide to the best running trainers, running tips for beginners, and marathon training tips.
How I Support My Body Through Marathon Training
1. Getting enough sleep
You may have seen the benefits of running — from increased cardio fitness, to improved lung capacity, to increased bone density — but, fun fact: the benefits are all dependent on the amount of sleep.
This is because getting less sleep will have a knock-on effect and affect how your body is able to perform when you lace-up. Case in point: a study The study, conducted by Stanford University, found that people who “extended their sleep schedule ran faster than their normal sleep.”
Similarly, a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research study found that not only did runners who sleep more consistently run faster, but they also had lower rates of perceived exertion – meaning they are able to propel themselves and feel good while doing so.
When I’m marathon training—and, well, all the time, really—I’m pretty adamant about getting at least eight hours of shut-eye. Sounds obvious, but it makes a big difference and means I enjoy my training rather than dragging myself and risking injury. My mood has improved, I can concentrate and I am more productive when I get enough rest. To me, this one is non-negotiable.
2. Adequate Nutrition and Adequate Food
Marathon training isn’t easy—far from it. It’s hard to fit in runs while juggling a social life and career, as is depleting your nutrition to make sure you’re eating enough to increase mileage.
It’ll probably shock you to hear that I actually did weight training for my first London Marathon in 2018 – you’d have to eat more to fuel yourself through mileage, but I ate practically 100% of carbs ( Which as someone with PCOS, my body found it hard to process).
Now, on the advice of a handful of nutritionists and dietitians, I get to work every day for my job. MCOf course, I aim for a balance of carbs, protein, and fat with each meal, and usually eat three meals a day and one or two snacks. If you’re hungry during marathon training, it’s important that you eat — your body needs fuel, after all.
When I trained for my first ultra in late 2020, leading sports dietitian Renee McGregor advised to aim for 5 grams per kilogram of body weight of carbs if you’re running for 60+ minutes a day. Keep it It’s always been with me, as in say you run for 30 minutes, you’ll need 2 grams per kilogram of body weight – that’s 150 grams if you’re a 60kg female. I certainly wasn’t eating anywhere near it, and when I did it made a huge difference to my performance.
Don’t forget hydration too. Drinking enough water is also essential to avoid injury – if you think about how much you sweat while running, you’ll understand why it’s important to replenish your hydration and electrolyte levels. I always keep a big bottle of water at my desk and by my bed. Having a visual sign makes this easy – if you can see the water in front of you, you’re less likely to forget to drink it.
3. Factoring in Workout Recovery
it’s important. Many runners get the sense that in order to run a marathon, you must run, run, run—when really, three runs a week if done well and adequate recovery will probably serve you better in the long run.
Why? Simply because your muscles need time to recover and you’ll only burn if you aim for more than three or four runs a week. Obviously, it depends on your schedule and fitness level, but when I trained for my Boston qualifying time, I did four runs a week—an easy run, a steady run, a speed session, and a long run. . Three days off a week was important not only for my recovery but also for my conscience. Running is meant to be fun, after all – don’t take your life and injure you in the process.
4. Working Smarter, Not Harder
Adding to the above point, sure to undercut, but well, my last marathon training cycle had a real learning curve. This meant I could go into every session and feel like giving up instead of being so tired and exhausted to deal with it.
Strength training is also important – as our strength training for running feature highlights, it is one of the best ways to protect your body from injury and make sure you are strong enough to support yourself over greater distances.
As my coach Andy Hobdell always reminds me, stick to the ten percent rule a week too—don’t increase your mileage by just 25%. If you’ve only run ten miles before, gradually increase it to ten percent the next week and ten percent the week after to make sure your body gets used to.
In the end, supplementation has helped me top up specific nutrients during marathon training. Knowing where to start can be overwhelming, but for runners, supplements like magnesium and vitamin D are probably the most popular. Vitamin D helps support your muscles and bones (1), and while this is especially important in the winter months, magnesium can be great for energy (5).
Protein supports muscle growth and maintenance (3), so remember to get enough protein through diet and top up if needed through supplements.
Always go with a trusted and trusted brand – Seven Seas is a great example. Their supplements are designed to support your active lifestyle (1) and keep your body functioning normally. Seven Seas Jointcare Product Range Formulated to contain omega-3 and vitamin D to support the health of your entire body (5). Omega-3s support three major organs in the body: the heart, brain, and eyes (2). The Seven Seas Joint Care range also includes vitamin D to contribute to the maintenance of normal bone and muscle function (1).
As with all supplements, always talk to a doctor before starting anything new. And in the meantime – happy training.
1. Seven Seas Joint Care Supplements Contain: Vitamin D which supports normal functioning muscles and normal bones. Vitamin C for normal formation of collagen for normal function of cartilage. Manganese or Copper contributes to the maintenance of normal connective tissues, to the normal formation of connective tissues.
2. Daily intake of 250 mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) helps support normal heart function. 250mg DHA daily helps support normal vision and brain function.
3. Protein contributes to muscle growth and maintenance.
4. Daily intake of 250mg EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) helps support normal heart function. 250mg DHA daily helps support normal vision and brain function. Vitamin D helps support the normal function of muscles, the immune system, normal bones and plays a role in cell division. Food supplements should not replace a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
5. Magnesium Contributes to Normal Energy-Giving Metabolism
Food supplements should not replace a varied, balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.