Newbie Marathon Questions

  • RunnerMD

    Posts: 157

    Apr 08, 2012 3:52 PM GMT
    Per the advice from the other thread, I figured I'd post my newbie training questions here. I'm currently training for a 10K for May and if that goes well, so far so good, then I will be shooting for a marathon at the end of the year. Questions I have about training for and running the marathon are:

    1. Is it reasonable to enter a marathon if my race pace will be slower than 10 minute mile pace? How slow is reasonably slow? Right now I train at about a 10 minute mile pace, which I think means I'll probably be more like a 12 minute mile average. I haven't done so yet, but I was planning on using Jeff Galloway's pace equation when I get down to it.

    2. I really like running with my GPS unit and heart rate monitor. The computer geek in me loves downloading the data and looking at the charts and all. A friend of mine however said that running that long with the chest strap on is going to be a bad idea. Is that a general consensus thing or a personal preference thing? I really couldn't find much about the topic through googling.

    3. How does one flex the training schedule appropriately? For example, a friend of mine wants me to run a 10K with him at the end of September. Looking at the marathon training program that I'd be running the weekend run for that would be on a different day and at a good deal more mileage. Would it throw things for a loop if I run on a different day and at the reduced mileage? What about if you miss a week or a day, is it best to just keep going with the schedule or press forward? Unfortunately it seems like the training aligns perfectly with the race day, so I don't know how to account for hiccups that would naturally occur over a four month period.

    4. I was considering buying a utility belt to store gel packs, hydration et cetera for the marathon. I assumed once I broke the 10 miles distance I should start running with it to get used to it. Are there any recommendations if that is a good idea and what a good product for that would be?

    5. It seems that there is some strong bias against running with headphones on. I love the groove I can get into with my music though. I was going to get an iPhone holder for my arm and use that as my music player (as I do now but with it just shoved into my pocket) and as a means to have people track me via "Find My Friends." I keep the volume really low so I can hear what's going on around me (for example if anyone nearby is cutting grass I can't hear my music over the lawn mowers and I can hear a person who is getting ready to pass me long before they get right behind me). What are the thoughts on all that.

    I have more questions, but I figured this is a good first batch. Thanks to everyone for their responses.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 08, 2012 5:38 PM GMT
    RunnerWannabe saidPer the advice from the other thread, I figured I'd post my newbie training questions here. I'm currently training for a 10K for May and if that goes well, so far so good, then I will be shooting for a marathon at the end of the year. Questions I have about training for and running the marathon are:

    1. Is it reasonable to enter a marathon if my race pace will be slower than 10 minute mile pace? How slow is reasonably slow? Right now I train at about a 10 minute mile pace, which I think means I'll probably be more like a 12 minute mile average. I haven't done so yet, but I was planning on using Jeff Galloway's pace equation when I get down to it.

    2. I really like running with my GPS unit and heart rate monitor. The computer geek in me loves downloading the data and looking at the charts and all. A friend of mine however said that running that long with the chest strap on is going to be a bad idea. Is that a general consensus thing or a personal preference thing? I really couldn't find much about the topic through googling.

    3. How does one flex the training schedule appropriately? For example, a friend of mine wants me to run a 10K with him at the end of September. Looking at the marathon training program that I'd be running the weekend run for that would be on a different day and at a good deal more mileage. Would it throw things for a loop if I run on a different day and at the reduced mileage? What about if you miss a week or a day, is it best to just keep going with the schedule or press forward? Unfortunately it seems like the training aligns perfectly with the race day, so I don't know how to account for hiccups that would naturally occur over a four month period.

    4. I was considering buying a utility belt to store gel packs, hydration et cetera for the marathon. I assumed once I broke the 10 miles distance I should start running with it to get used to it. Are there any recommendations if that is a good idea and what a good product for that would be?

    5. It seems that there is some strong bias against running with headphones on. I love the groove I can get into with my music though. I was going to get an iPhone holder for my arm and use that as my music player (as I do now but with it just shoved into my pocket) and as a means to have people track me via "Find My Friends." I keep the volume really low so I can hear what's going on around me (for example if anyone nearby is cutting grass I can't hear my music over the lawn mowers and I can hear a person who is getting ready to pass me long before they get right behind me). What are the thoughts on all that.

    I have more questions, but I figured this is a good first batch. Thanks to everyone for their responses.


    For your first Marathon I wouldn't suggest running for time but rather finishing the damn thing hehe. If I were you I would definitely try runnning and testing out your legs in a casual 15-20 Mike run a few weeks prior to the actual race just to see how you hold up. I use headphones but you would have to check the rules and regulations for that particular Marathon. I guess its up to u if u wanna use your heart rate monitor just to see where you're at at all times. 26.2 mikes hurts..
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 08, 2012 8:43 PM GMT
    RunnerWannabe said

    1. Is it reasonable to enter a marathon if my race pace will be slower than 10 minute mile pace? How slow is reasonably slow? Right now I train at about a 10 minute mile pace, which I think means I'll probably be more like a 12 minute mile average. I haven't done so yet, but I was planning on using Jeff Galloway's pace equation when I get down to it..


    Most marathon's have a cut of time by which you have to finish. For the Austin Marathon I think it worked out to be about a 15 min mile. So, look at the race your want to do and see what the cut off time is. If you can do that or better and a marathon is what you want to do then your pace is reasonable.


    2. I really like running with my GPS unit and heart rate monitor. The computer geek in me loves downloading the data and looking at the charts and all. A friend of mine however said that running that long with the chest strap on is going to be a bad idea. Is that a general consensus thing or a personal preference thing? I really couldn't find much about the topic through googling.


    The concern here is chafing which certainly can happen but there are lubricants you can put under HRM will help.


    3. How does one flex the training schedule appropriately? For example, a friend of mine wants me to run a 10K with him at the end of September. Looking at the marathon training program that I'd be running the weekend run for that would be on a different day and at a good deal more mileage. Would it throw things for a loop if I run on a different day and at the reduced mileage? What about if you miss a week or a day, is it best to just keep going with the schedule or press forward? Unfortunately it seems like the training aligns perfectly with the race day, so I don't know how to account for hiccups that would naturally occur over a four month period.


    You can shuffle your days and it really won't make a huge difference as long as you leave your recovery days in-between workouts. For me most recent build up my original plan was to do long runs on Sundays (same day as the marathon). I ended up moving my long runs to Saturday so that I could get a long bike in on the weekend as well and have it not impact my runs. So, you should be good moving around days like that. If you miss a day you miss it and there isn't much you can do and there really isn't a way to makeup workouts. Since the week over week build tends to be small you should be able to just stay on track. I have missed entire weeks before and managed to keep with my training plan.



    4. I was considering buying a utility belt to store gel packs, hydration et cetera for the marathon. I assumed once I broke the 10 miles distance I should start running with it to get used to it. Are there any recommendations if that is a good idea and what a good product for that would be?


    Most courses are pretty well stocked with hydration and nutrition but if you want to go with one I have heard good things about Fuel Belt. You will definitely want to wear it on the long runs if for no other reason to get used to it.


    5. It seems that there is some strong bias against running with headphones on. I love the groove I can get into with my music though. I was going to get an iPhone holder for my arm and use that as my music player (as I do now but with it just shoved into my pocket) and as a means to have people track me via "Find My Friends." I keep the volume really low so I can hear what's going on around me (for example if anyone nearby is cutting grass I can't hear my music over the lawn mowers and I can hear a person who is getting ready to pass me long before they get right behind me). What are the thoughts on all that.


    A lot of events don't allow them so I would say follow the rules of the event. If the event allows them and you want to wear it, do it. I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think. I know a lot of serious runners don't like to wear them because it takes away from your focus during a run. But if you are not looking to be competitive then it doesn't really matter. A lot of people do it.

    Remember the key is to enjoy it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 08, 2012 9:49 PM GMT
    Already great advise from San Jose and Ginger...I agree with the advise, do not worry about time/mile pace but just on completing the race.

    Anti-Chafe - use BodyGlide

    GPS- use it, there is no restriction. I used it for all my regular runs and for the last Marathon.

    Camelbak - for equipment - they make several backpacks and I used them for my training runs and Marathons.

    Just have a good time and enjoy the process.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 08, 2012 9:58 PM GMT
    I've only done two 10K runs so far. Prior to that, I only ran for fitness. But here are my thoughts on your questions..

    1) Like Gingerhead said above, most events have a max time. I think 10 min mile is good, and should be well within the limit for most races. Also keep in mind that not every course will be flat. There will be some down grades in elevation, where you can pick up your pace without extra effort.

    2) Tracking gear can be beneficial, only if you understand the data and use it to improve your running/training. If you do it just for the sake of logging your runs, then it won't be of much benefit. Personally, I hate carrying stuff when I run. If I need to get an idea of my abilities, I wear a stopwatch and use the lap marker to mark certain points on my route. Then I check Google Maps or MapMyRun to coincide the lap times with route locations. I can see where I start to slow down or speed up, and I can also see changes in elevation.

    3) I don't have much to offer here. It really depends on your body and how much energy you have and how quickly you can recover.

    4) Hydration systems are great for long distance running. But may not be necessary since most well organized races will have water stations. Also, consider that even those little 12oz water bottles will start to feel real heavy after a while. So you may want to test it out way before race day. Gel packs are great. I use them. There are running shorts out there that have storage pockets for gel, usually in the center back. So you may not need to buy a separate belt for gel.

    5) I don't listen to music when I run. The beats from the music distract me and affect my running rhythm. Plus, there's a bit of a safety factor. Even if you keep the volume low, you may not be able to hear other runners come up behind you. Or cyclists. Or animals. Or hybrid cars. And on race day, some event won't allow you to listen to music/earphones.
  • anhphl

    Posts: 28

    Apr 08, 2012 10:09 PM GMT
    I recommend a big marathon for a first timer whose goal is to finish the race. The nice thing about a big marathon is that even if you need 5 hours or more to finish, there are still runners running with you, volunteers still manning the fluid stations, and spectators still waiting for friends and family members along the course. Today, a big marathon should have more than 10,000 registered marathon runners (not including those running a half-marathon or a relay on the same course at the same time). Be sure to check to see how long the course will be officially open. Most big marathons allow runners at least 6 hours to finish. One of the down side of big marathons is that they fill up quickly so you need to watch out to see when registration will open, and sign up right away, even when race day is still 10 months away.

    I like running with my GPS unit but I don't care for the heart rate monitor around my chest. I don't care for the chafing and uneven tan line. It's a personal preference.

    My training schedule is very flexible. I mix my runs around if I need to go to a happy hour or other social functions. This is also a personal preference. I'm also not a newbie so I know what I must do and what I can get away with. If you think you'd better off sticking to a schedule, then don't let anyone or anything get in the way.

    If you need to carry gels, keys, money, or a cell phone with you during your run, consider these options:
    Shorts with many built-in pockets http://www.raceready.com/category/mens-running-shorts.html
    Running purses that don't bounce http://www.nathansports.com/our-products/runners-paks-music-carriers/runners-paks

    Good luck and have fun!



  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 08, 2012 11:02 PM GMT
    Hi, ran 12 marathons so thought I would throw in some extra advice. I really love that you are doing a 10K first. Training for that is going to build your base and give your legs the strength to do the training. The biggest mistake most people make is jumping into a training program for a marathon and injure themselves because their body can't handle the amount of work you put it through. So you are off to a great start already.

    For your first marathon don't stress too much about your pace. Finishing strong and running the whole thing is a bigger success than being too fast and burning out early in the race. I used Hal Higdon program for my first. Here is a link http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51135/Marathon-Training-Guide
  • RunnerMD

    Posts: 157

    Apr 08, 2012 11:26 PM GMT
    Thanks for the replies so far. My replies to some of the questions comments:

    a. I've worn the chest strap for upwards of 6.5 hours to do timing tests on the equipment and it didn't chafe me, nor has it ever during my runs. I would assume that would be something that would come out during the marathon training as distances and times accumulate. The body glide thing could help with that too.

    b. My timing comment came more from reasonable finish times, not to be a particular speed. Fro the record I'm planning on having this marathon be my first one:

    http://www.rbmarathon.com/

    It only has 900 participants, but it is flat and it's at a time of year where it's going to be a bit chilly out. It seems like it would be relatively scenic too which is another reason why I chose it over the DC Rock & Roll Marathon.

    c. For training routines (both for my 10K and the marathon) I'm doing a nice measured training program. The ones to choose from that I was looking at was here, the Hal Higdon one someone posted and the Jeff Galloway one. I'm not sure which of those I'll end up selecting, so if someone has a preference would love to hear.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 09, 2012 1:28 AM GMT
    I've never tried the Jeff Galloway program, but Hal Higdon's programs have suited me very well.

    Like you said, there are races out there that ban headphones and it can be fun as well as safe to go without. Several marathons have bands along the route and hearing support from spectators can be an energy bump. It's nice to have some interaction with the spectators and your fellow runners too. And if you want to run the 10K with your friend, I don't think it would throw your training off too much to do it. If you're going to enjoy it, why not? It might remind you of why you're running in the first place.

    Good luck!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 12, 2012 3:20 AM GMT
    Plenty of good advice here, to which I will add a few more thoughts.

    The mean [average] finish time in the BIG races [Boston excluded] is near 5½ h, roughly 10:30 per mile. So you will NOT be the last finisher, by a long shot.You'll make lots of friends on the course bitching and commiserating with your companions.icon_wink.gif

    Most people over-train rather than under-train. which is to say they do their long runs too fast. Monitoring your heart rate on the long run will keep you from going too fast and burning out. For experienced runners, HR is important to track for other work-outs.

    Remind yourself every so often that your having fun. And if you're not, maybe a reassessment is in order. Distance running isn't for everyone. But race walking, power walking, or hiking will all get you to the same point, just take a little longer.

    ENJOY your new found fitness, and keep posting for us.
  • RunnerMD

    Posts: 157

    Apr 13, 2012 11:35 AM GMT
    MarathonManiac saidPlenty of good advice here, to which I will add a few more thoughts.

    The mean [average] finish time in the BIG races [Boston excluded] is near 5½ h, roughly 10:30 per mile. So you will NOT be the last finisher, by a long shot.You'll make lots of friends on the course bitching and commiserating with your companions.icon_wink.gif


    Oh wow, cool. The way my average pace during my 10K training keeps dropping that may actually be reasonable

    Most people over-train rather than under-train. which is to say they do their long runs too fast. Monitoring your heart rate on the long run will keep you from going too fast and burning out. For experienced runners, HR is important to track for other work-outs.


    Now that I'm going above three miles, on my long runs I'm trying to keep my heart rate in Zone 3 rather than Zone 4. I have my second 3.5 mile run tomorrow so will see how that goes.

    Remind yourself every so often that your having fun. And if you're not, maybe a reassessment is in order. Distance running isn't for everyone. But race walking, power walking, or hiking will all get you to the same point, just take a little longer.


    Always! I'm also of the mindset that I'm not going to plow through pain but listen to my body. The end goal of this is also to be in better health at the end. Having blown out joints or feet or a run down body isn't in the proper direction for that. I'm just struck by how many people try to power through those periods, as they say.