While the Edmonton Marathon is still two months away, the thousands of athletes who will compete in various events have already been training for weeks or even months.
This year’s marathon will take place August 18, with events including a five-kilometre race, 10 km, the half-marathon, and the main event, the marathon itself.
The Running Room’s founder and president John Stanton has run more than 60 marathons in his life and says any of the competitors in this year’s event have the ability to finish the race. He suggests keeping the run gentle but also progressive.
“The best way to do that is a combination of walk-run,” Stanton says.
“We have people running for one minute, walking for one, and then gradually over a period of time, take them up to 10 minutes of running and one minute of walking. And then they can run any distance they want.”
Stanton says anyone training should feel a “pleasant” tightness in their muscles the day after a speed run or hill climbing, a sign that your muscles are getting stronger. But if you have a sharp, pulling pain, any further exercise could put you at risk of injury.
Before you head out on the course, Stanton says you should follow Canada’s Food Guide so you can eat in a healthy way. And when you’re in the midst of a run, he recommends getting into a rhythm with your breathing and steps.
Many running guides advise focusing on deep belly breathing instead of shallow chest breathing, and try to breath through both your nose and mouth in order to get the most oxygen.
Runners should try out several different breathing rhythms and choose the one that feels most comfortable to you.
It’s also key to drink plenty of water.
“If you’re well hydrated, not only does it improve your performance and your enjoyment while you’re out running, but a lot of that residual soreness we get from afterwards is being dehydrated.”
When it comes to the day of the run, the start line can be daunting for a first-time runner but as soon as the starting horn blares, Stanton says that gives way to the energy that comes from running in a large group and the cheering by onlookers.
“It’s kind of like an Olympic moment when you come in across the finish line… and in the Edmonton Marathon we have members of the Royal Edmonton Regiment (in attendance) and a soldier in uniform puts a medal around your neck,” Stanton says.
“It’s a pretty special moment.”
And if you don’t want to compete in an event but you are still focused on staying active this summer, Stanton suggests joining a running group.
He says when you’re exercising with others, not only will you learn something new from a fellow runner but you also get a sense of responsibility and safety.
“You get to explore Edmonton and find some of the trails that maybe you’d be a bit cautious of when you are by yourself.”