How To Train For A Marathon, From Someone Who’s Done One

All the best tips and tricks

Running a half marathon (or full, if you’re crazy) is a feature on many people’s bucket lists, but the full-on training in the lead-up is a daunting task, to say the least. Author and baker Katherine Sabbath has decided 2019 is her year, enlisting in the Melbourne half-marathon, Run Melboune, in October and training with Nike ahead of the big day. Over five months, Katherine is undertaking challenges designed by Nike running coach Dave Ridley to ensure she hits her PB and crosses that finish line, as well as using the Nike Run Club to do the Go More, Get More challenge.

For anyone joining her – or considering it – Katherine has revealed all her training tips and tricks. Ready, set, go. 

How are you training for the half marathon? 

Every week, I’m slowly building up the driving strength in my legs, and learning how to pace myself better – oh and how to breathe better! For example, I started running maybe 4km twice per week, and focused on how my feet were hitting the ground and concentrated on deep breathing. Now I’ve slowly (over 2-3 months) worked that up to 5km three times per week. Over the next month I’ll start to experiment with going faster and going for longer distances.

What tips do you have for women trying running for the first time? And women training for a half marathon for the first time (if you’ve done before)? 

The right shoes! Definitely see someone with expertise in the area and have your foot fitted. For me, my first proper running shoe was Nike and I had my foot assessed by a Nike employee who knew her stuff! They made a huge difference! I then saw a podiatrist who fitted me with custom orthotics (most people won’t need these, but I had a weak left knee at the time).

I also participate in local group running activities like Park Run, which has a great social element to it and gives you consistent running buddies.

My last pieces of advice are to keep at it, but also get rest in between! You may have some days where your legs feel super heavy, but even the shortest jog will help with improvement. Recovery is also really important, so make sure you stretch afterwards and service your body with rest and lots of nourishing food (believe it or not, cakes and chocolate are part of my recovery too! Hehe).

How many times per week do you suggest running in the lead up to a half marathon? 

At the moment I can handle 3 x shorter runs (5km each) per week, but I’ll start increasing the duration to say, 1 x 10km run, and 1 x 15km run, with a short recovery run in the middle of the week.

People say the hardest part is getting out of your head when running, what are your tips for this?

I listen to music to help lift my mood and help with any negative thoughts or distractions. Listening to the sound of your own breathing and focusing on your core also helps me with “keeping the machine running”, haha.

Do you listen to music or podcasts when you run? If so, what kind?

Definitely music! And on reliable, bluetooth headphones! I listen to anything with a fast, driving beat to keep me going (like electronic dance music, hip hop, and metal music – I love a good double-kick when running), and more chilled music when I’m winding down and enjoying the view.

What keeps you motivated?

I have a very reliable running buddy and her name is Pluto, my 3-year-old Manchester Terrier! She’s the fastest dog in the park and LOVES to run with me, so it’s always really nice to have a little pocket rocket to keep up with. And this may sound indulgent, but CAKE! I love cake more than I should probably admit, but being able to burn off that butter and sugar so efficiently, means there’s always more room for butter and sugar! I run my fastest when I’ve had cake.

Do you follow other runners on Instagram for motivation? If so, who?

@annabelfendall@daveridley, and @finchyelder – For their passion, encouragement, and positivity! They are serious goal-getters and motivate everyone around them, which I find super helpful in my own training.

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