How was your long run this weekend? Humid, eh? For me, this weekend marked the 'official' start of Fall Marathon training, as I am planning to run my 5th full Marathon this November. I did an 8 miler (despite my App only crediting my for 7.81) this week as I follow Ross Martinson's plan for Team Philly for the most part, though my tennis schedule keeps me from doing speed workouts with my group. If you're starting your training, especially for your first half or full Marathon, I thought I'd pass along a couple of things I've learned along the way which may help you run 26.2 miles with confidence. (If you're an experienced Marathoner/Half-Marathoner, you may have some additional tips which you can Tweet at me and I will add to article as I see 'em!
HAVE A PLAN
If you're planning to run your first half or full Marathon this Fall, hopefully you have a plan in place by now. A training plan is very important for you to increase your mileage properly to avoid injury, while also increasing mileage enough to prepare you properly. If you don't already have a plan, join a running group that is training for the same goal or check out Hal Higdon's plans HERE. You can also use an App like Runkeeper (Thanks @Cashdonkey1) to help manage your training.
FOLLOW YOUR PLAN
This is the hard part, as training for a full Marathon is definitely a time commitment, especially when your weekend long runs start getting to 16-18-20 miles. To help me follow the training plan, I literally enter each and every training run into my Outlook calendar and plan (at the beginning of training season) the rest of my schedule so I can keep the appointments. Obviously, life happens and you will miss a run here and there, but having it as an official part of your schedule will help. (Also, I update my calendar to reflect how many miles i actually ran compared to the goal for that day)
DON'T MISS YOUR LONG RUN
My alarm goes off every weekday at 5a, so the last thing I want to do is set an early alarm for Saturday; however, that's the only way I will consistently get my weekend long run in. And, if you plan to run 26.2 (or 13.1) miles this November, it's important that you keep up with the weekend long runs and gradually increase your mileage. (We will look at the Physiology of Marathon training in a future blog post)
EXPERIMENT WITH NUTRITION
At least they call it nutrition (energy gels), though they don't seem very nutritious to me. If you're going to run a Marathon or Half Marathon you will likely need to energy supplements throughout your run, to replace your depleted energy reserves. There are a lot of different products to choose from, and I suggest you try a variety to see which works best for you. For me, I've found that some irritate my stomach and others taste like garbage. These products are found in any decent running store and include carbs and electrolytes (sodium, potassium and magnesium) while some also include caffeine.
Find a good Sports Massage. I'm not talking about a regular Deep Tissue...I'm talking about a legit Sports Massage which may not be relaxing while it happens, but will help complement your stretching and also help protect you from injuries after you start logging lots of miles. (I recommend PhilaMassages)
ENJOY EVERY MILE
Most people who don't run, think you (and I) are completely nuts for running long distances. Somehow I've convinced myself that I enjoy running, even though it's hard. I know it's easier said than done, but the more you can program your brain to look forward to your runs the better you'll do in your Marathon/Half-Marathon.
ADDITIONAL TIPS FROM RADIO 104.5 LISTENERS/RUNNERS
I surveyed some of my running friends on Twitter for some additional tips, and here's what they shared (also embedded below)
@LaurenRunsHere Keep your fast runs fast and your recovery runs slow. Not every run should be the same speed. Don’t be afraid of recovery runs. #marathontraining
@runtripletdad Never experiment on race day, that’s what your long runs are for and never skip long runs. Try figuring out which gu gels work for you and when to take them.
@polarbearlopez Stick to your regimen but take a break if you need it.
@BreatheBlog Rest and recovery is just as important as training. Get a foamroller. Get more sleep!
@BobNashak All about the weekly long run
There are definitely a lot of things to consider as you train for your big run and we will continue to explore them in depth. If you train properly, you will likely be surprised at how achievable your Half or Full Marathon actually is and possibly you'll want to keep doing more!
If you've got advice for first timers....or if your a first-timer looking for insight/encouragement, you can Tweet me @Radio1045Johnny