First Marathon Advice

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2009 6:17 PM GMT
    Hello fellow runners,

    I am training for my first marathon (Vancouver BC Marathon) and would appreciate any advice from people that have done this before. This last year has been focused on losing a lot of weight, which has resulted in a several 10ks, 5ks, etc. I plan on doing a half marathon in the midst of my training and am using Hal Higdon's Marathon Training Schedule. I look forward to learning from you.

    Jim
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    Dec 27, 2009 10:32 PM GMT
    When is your marathon? I would say dont start training too early, make sure you stretch and take some time off here and there. You dont want you burn yourself out too soon.
  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Dec 27, 2009 11:33 PM GMT
    A jump from 10k to 21k is a major one. I constantly run 10k, attempted a 21k with disastrous result (I cant finish it). I guess you need to do a lot of training with 21k in mind and distance. I will definetly attempted it again in the future with proper training .

    Good luck to you
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    Dec 28, 2009 1:24 AM GMT
    Congrats on deciding to try out your first marathon.

    I have not read the book that you are reading now but no doubt you should start training in January to start building your aerobic base. Follow the program accordingly and you'll be fine.

    Best piece of advice: Don't train for time, train to finish.

    Vancouver's course is decent. It takes you through some really ugly areas and through some nice spots too. Personally, I would have chosen to showcase the city better but this course was probably easiest for traffic restrictions. Burrard street bridge near the end is surprisingly a killer but the finish line isn't far away after you cross.

    Good luck! Careful you may become an addict.icon_smile.gif
  • Nelbob

    Posts: 10

    Dec 28, 2009 1:35 AM GMT
    I'd say build your distance gradually with at minimum 6 months of prep. I ran my first (and last) full marathon this year. They all told me that if you can do 20 miles the rest is downhill. Don't believe it. Get as close to the 26 as you can. Like the previous poster says, train to finish not for time. I ended up having to do a run/walk for the last few miles. I got cocky and thought I could keep up a 3:40 pace all day and hit the wall they all talk about. Good luck!! Oh, one more thing, drink Gatorade/water at every stop and take some Carbo gel every 45 min or so. They usually water down the Gatorade a bit so the gel doesn't get like molasses in your stomach.
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    Dec 28, 2009 2:01 AM GMT
    Dont shit on yourself...

    poop_runner.jpg
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 738

    Dec 28, 2009 2:10 AM GMT
    Congrats on your goal to do a marathon. You are smart to be following a training schedule. I have used HalHigdon.com and it's a great site because you can train at the right level for you. Just make sure you follow the schedule religiously. If you have to miss some runs, remember that your long run of the week is your most important. If for some reason you miss (schedule, traveling, sick, etc), make sure you make it up.

    As mentioned earlier, your goal is to finish. For your first marathon, that is your main objective. Plan on hitting the wall or having moments on the course when you don't know how you'll keep going. Be prepared mentally as well as physically. At some point in the race, the mental will need to overtake the physical and get you to the finish line.

    One of the earlier posters said to run more than 20 miles as your longest distance. And while it is very truethat there is a HUGE difference between running 20 and running 26.2, there is a reason that most experts would tell you not to. The body starts to break down after 20 so it can be difficult (particularly in your first marathon) to do training runs much longer than 20 without some adverse training impact. If you want to push a long run to 22-23 miles, you should be ok.

    Make sure after your long runs, that you use a recovery drink. I recommend Endurox R4. Also, soaking 5-10 minutes in an ice bath immediately after a long run (15 miles or more) will speed recovery.

    Have FUN. Get some training buddies. And if you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to ask. Good luck.



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    Dec 28, 2009 2:13 AM GMT
    - Cross train (spin & swimming are great for me) so your joints don't take a total beating from long distance running. Running fresh on race day is so important, don't over-train.
    - Don't worry too much about time, enjoy the route and experience.
    - Pace yourself, everyone might be passing you in the first 5-7 miles but fight the urge to power through.
    - If you start cramping stop to stretch, taking the extra few minutes at the onset can keep from a slowly decreasing pace from fatigue.
    - Drink at every opportunity water and electrolyte replacement.
    - Don't run more than 3 miles the week prior, don't run at all for 4-5 days before the race.
    - Don't stress about your time, enjoy the route, the people, the feeling of carrying yourself 26.2 miles. 90% of it is psychological so don't psyche yourself out.
    Good luck and have a ball! You will never be the same after your first is under your belt!
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    Dec 28, 2009 2:15 AM GMT
    26mileman saidCongrats on deciding to try out your first marathon.

    Good luck! Careful you may become an addict.icon_smile.gif
    I knew you would post on this... and I knew it would be great advice. ;)
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    Dec 28, 2009 3:25 AM GMT
    I agree with both opinions that you should and should not run more than 20 miles in preparation for the marathon. I followed the NYC marathon training program, which went up to 20 miles for a long run. I feel it would have been beneficial psychologically for me to do more. The jump from 20 to 26.2 miles was too much for me to mentally accept. During the race I "hit the wall" at 22 miles. I panicked. I felt like I had nothing more to give. I had to walk for awhile until I calmed down. Maybe running a 22 or 23 mile long run wouldn't have helped me, but I'll never know until I run another marathon.

    My main advice would be to be prepared to handle hitting the wall. I had not experienced it before and never thought about what I would do if it happened to me.

    My other advice would be to think about the race course and your running habits before hand. During my training runs I always carried water, but on race day I relied on the water provided on the course. I did carry my own gel with me during the race. In training runs I always drank water right after eating the gel. On race day, I found that the water stations on the course didn't match up with when I had planned to eat the gel. So instead of focusing on running the race, I was trying to figure out how to schedule eating the gel.
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    Dec 28, 2009 4:59 AM GMT
    Nelbob saidI ran my first (and last) full marathon this year. They all told me that if you can do 20 miles the rest is downhill. Don't believe it. Get as close to the 26 as you can.


    Similarly, I just completed my first full 3 weeks ago (Las Vegas Rock n' Roll). I followed Runnersworld.com's program for 16 weeks & did 2 20 milers for my long runs.

    The training program was great, but like Nelbob, I was really cocky & ran the first half under 2 hours. Of course, I ended up finishing at 5:30 b/c my adductors kept seizing on me (both sides).

    Use what the guys above have said. Find a training partner (key...especially for long runs & when you don't feel like running that day) Finish. It sucked. Don't get me wrong. It sucked A LOT! And I felt very much like Nelbob when I finished (never again). I'm still not fully back on board with doing another full, but only time will tell.

    Have fun with it tho. Many of your friends will call you insane, but a much bigger majority will admire you for being able to make your legs move for the whole race. Good luck!
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    Dec 31, 2009 3:20 PM GMT
    Caslon12000 saidDont shit on yourself...

    poop_runner.jpg


    OMG...that is horrible!! YET, a good piece of advice...I would put this at the top of your list.
    1. Dont Shit Yourself
    2. Stretch
    3. Drink water
  • Run4Life83

    Posts: 207

    Dec 31, 2009 3:50 PM GMT
    Congratulations, you are about to join a population that comprises 10% of all runners!

    I agree with a lot of the advice already posted, just wanted to add that doing a 22 miler isn't a bad idea. It gets you past the 20 mile wall and prepares you for the end of the run. For my first three marathons I ran only as far as 20 and for my 4th I ran a 24 miler and that made that last section a lot more manageable.

    Also, when you're out running, break up the run into smaller segments, at 20 miles think "I'm running a 10K, I've run many 10Ks before"

    Finally, trust your training when you're out. Also, HAVE FUN!!icon_cool.gif
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    Dec 31, 2009 3:54 PM GMT
    You should train for a year, or ideally two, before you put your body through the stress of running 26 miles 385 yards. You should certainly not attempt a marathon with less than 9 months running under your belt. This means, for example, that if you are thinking of running the London Marathon in April, you should start training by August the previous year. It is possible to run a marathon with less preparation, but you have a significantly increased risk of injury, and you are unlikely to enjoy the experience.

    The specific training to build up to a marathon begins about 3 or 4 months before the race. Before that, your running should be aimed at building up your fitness, stamina, strength and speed, to lay down a sound base for your marathon preparations.
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    Jan 01, 2010 1:05 AM GMT
    Thank you for all of the feedback thus far. I have run a half marathon in the past, so this will not be my first run. I am at my 9 mile long run currently and things are going well so far. I will now start to introduce food and water. Wish me luck!

    Jim
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    Jan 01, 2010 1:21 AM GMT
    I advise you to:
    1. focus on having fun during your training runs.
    2. build as big and deep an aerobic base in whatever way your body responds too.
    3. don't underestimate the mileage.

    cheers!
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    Jan 01, 2010 1:35 AM GMT
    DarkMatters said

    3. don't underestimate the mileage.


    If theres anything you remember from all this, make sure you remember this one!!

    Good Luck!!!!
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    Jan 03, 2010 11:20 AM GMT
    RnrActinTech saidCongratulations, you are about to join a population that comprises 10% of all runners!

    I agree with a lot of the advice already posted, just wanted to add that doing a 22 miler isn't a bad idea. It gets you past the 20 mile wall and prepares you for the end of the run. For my first three marathons I ran only as far as 20 and for my 4th I ran a 24 miler and that made that last section a lot more manageable.

    Also, when you're out running, break up the run into smaller segments, at 20 miles think "I'm running a 10K, I've run many 10Ks before"

    Finally, trust your training when you're out. Also, HAVE FUN!!icon_cool.gif


    This is all good advice, but I particularly agree with the above suggestion of running some 22 milers.

    In my best race I incorporated into training six long runs over 20 miles and two of those were 22 milers. I ran them slower than race pace and it made a tremendous difference.

    The key to a good marathon is in pacing more than anything. Know your limits and run a smart, conservative race. As they say, the marathon is really two races: a 23 miler and a 5K, with the latter often the most grueling physical experience you'll ever endure. It can be alternately humiliating and exalting, depending on how you prepare for it. Train and run smart and you're in for a real thrill. Train and run carelessly and you'll be joining the zombie parade at the end.

    Check out McMillan's running calculator for information about training and race pacing (and try to ignore the annoying music he has on the site):

    http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm

    And the best book for your money is Pete Pfitzinger's "Advanced Marathoning." It's extremely well organized with many training programs and full explanations throughout.

    Good luck!

    Rob