Sunday, September 19, 2010

Marathon Training - What I've Learned So Far

I've just completed the first 10 of 18 weeks of marathon training. It will be my first marathon, so I'm learning as I go and know there's still a lot more to come. Here are some random thoughts about my journey so far.

- If you live in the South start your training at least in late September, and not early July like I did. The oppressive heat and humidity take not only a physical toll, but affect your psyche as well when your body can't deliver.

- Hammer Endurolytes in capsule form do not do well in the pocket of your shorts. They are good at preventing muscle cramping, however.

- Training for a marathon is a lot more difficult than it sounds. Before embarking on this I thought of marathons only in passing. A lot of people do them so it can't be too hard, right? Wrong. Maybe my perception is skewed because I'm trying to qualify for Boston and jumped right into an advanced training plan, but this is anything but easy.

- My training plan is pretty balanced. It pushes me hard when it's time, and backs off every few weeks to give my body time to adjust. Despite this, I actually look forward to rest days now. I've even adjusted my schedule to make sure I'm doing nothing on a rest day. No recovery runs, fun runs or strength training. Just rest.

- I use Body Glide in more places than ever before. Let's leave it at that.

- Long runs can get to be really long. I generally don't mind the solitude. In fact, I relish in it much of the time. But when you're out there alone for 2-3 hours you eventually start to consider distractions like podcasts or music. I haven't got there yet, but it's on the table.

- If you want to simulate a ride on the SS Minnow run 9 miles on a treadmill and then step off. I had to steady myself on a conveniently located wall for a minute.

- You become more finely tuned into your equipment. Shoes you once loved are no longer good enough. You'll need another type for long runs and maybe even some specifically suited for track work. And you are now more sensitive to things that never occurred to you in the past. These socks are too thin for these shoes. I need to wear this shirt with my hydration pack to prevent chafing. These shorts are the wrong material for a long run. The list goes on.

- You don't just need extra shoes for different types of runs. You need them to be used on a rotational basis. They need time to dry out and rebound before the next thrashing. And they don't last as long either. Force (Hal Higdon) = mass (you) x acceleration (tempos, intervals and hill sprints).

- Joints recover from a workout much more slowly than muscles. My quads and calves are a little tight from yesterday's 20-miler, but my hips and knees are where I still feel it the most.

- Showering all the time gets really old. After a daily running workout, of course. But then there are days where I'll get in strength and core training and have to do it all over again. And that doesn't include cleaning up after yard work, etc.

What nuggets of wisdom you can pass along about your marathon training experiences?


  1. Obviously I have no nuggets about marathon training, but I'm so happy to read all of this. Track accomplishments as well as eccentricities, Drew. Think of what you never thought you'd do and what you're doing now. So cool! Rock on!

  2. I'm with you on the Body Glide. I also have figured out a lot about hydrating and fueling...