What to do while you wait for training to start

Who else is getting antsy waiting for marathon training to start? Spring marathon training really doesn’t get started until early January, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do right now.

The training plan I follow kicks off training for the Ottawa Marathon sometime around mid-January. That’s about seven or eight weeks away. Between now and then the goal should be to get ready to take on the hard work of training.

Maintain routines and stay healthy

My goals include maintaining and further strengthening the routines I’ve established over the past few months. That means putting together a fairly light schedule of running and sticking to it.

I’m also focused on staying healthy. Now is not the time to experiment with a Crossfit or to attempt to break a weekly mileage record. It’s time to keep things reasonable, and avoid injury.

Figure things out

There are also a few things you can and should do now before training gets started to make sure you don’t run into any surprises come winter. This is especially important for first-time marathoners who are heading up the training ladder for the first time.

Find a good pair of shoes that will take you through the training without causing issues. Better to find out the latest version of your shoe causes blisters now than in the midst of a 50km week later on. If you have a favourite brand, consider buying a couple of pairs now to take you through the 1,000km or more of running you’ll be doing.

You can also play around with different nutrition options to find out what works (and what doesn’t work) for you. Always wondered about chia seeds but worried about it causing stomach upset on the run? Try it some Sunday when there’s nothing on the line so if it goes badly, you haven’t lost an important training run.

Get your ducks in a row

One last thing you can do is to ensure that you’ve got all your ducks in a row before things get real: Sign up for your race; find a few tune-up races to run in between (like the Chilly Half, or Around the Bay); book your hotel if your race is a destination race.

Then get yourself mentally and physically ready to train. Two months might seem like a long time, but before you know it, you’ll hit day one of your training schedule and you’ll wonder where the last two months went.

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