Running on the same path can make for a mundane marathon training routine. Break up the monotony by changing the scenery and the terrain of your running. Good news, not only will this help keep your motivation up for your runs, it will help build your leg, foot, and ankle muscles. The uneven surface forces you to use muscles that don’t usually get too much of a workout on even surfaces. Running on trails or sand causes you to run slower, so don’t plan a lot of miles on these surfaces. Be careful with trail running, however, it is easy to twist an ankle if you aren’t careful where you step. If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach, hit the sand a couple times in the next few weeks. If you plan to do some beach runs, stay in the firm wet sand, and try to avoid sloped surfaces.
While we’re talking about terrain, if you’ve been doing much of your running on a treadmill to avoid the heat, be sure to get some miles on the pavement. You want to train your body to run on the race surface, and for most marathons, this means concrete. If you do all your training on a treadmill or on trails, your legs will suffer on race day from the shock of a hard surface. The treadmill and trails have a lot more cushion and absorption of the shock of impact, so you suffer from less joint issues. If this is you, start slowly building your running time on the concrete now. Be sure you do a couple long runs on the pavement before race day. Your knees and hips will thank you come mile 26 at Twin Cities.
Next week: Finish Fast!