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I want to be a marathon man

KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
After getting quite a few races under my belt, and waffling about it I finally decided to do a marathon in early December. I already been training and sticking to a running schedule, and since I run regularly I'm not worried about sticking to a training plan.

I'm just looking for general advice, and see if you guys have experience doing one. I'm finding that keeping to a pace that I can maintain for 26 miles is the hardest thing so far. Right now in my long runs I feel more tired at the end than I should.I also know a marathon is a completely different beast than the halfs and other races I done and that the body is suppose to do weird things around mile 20 (Currently on mile 13 on my long runs).

Also, how hard is it to do a sub or exactly 4 hour marathon. My half times have been in the 1:56:00 to 1:54:00 range.


  • ChorazinChorazin Registered User regular
    Have you checked out r/running over on reddit? I'd be shocked if there also wasn't an r/marathon over there.

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  • kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    It's really easy. You just have to have the discipline and ability to devote yourself to longer training runs on a regular basis.

    Running a marathon once you've trained is the easy part.

    I like Hal Higdon's book.

  • BlazeFireBlazeFire Registered User regular
    Stretch, lots. My hopes of doing a marathon have been dashed due to issues that maybe could have been prevented if I had done more stretching. This is frustrating because I WAS stretching, just not enough I guess.

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    Steve Moneghetti used to run a marathon every day, and an ultramarathon every weekend.

    But then he was an Olympic level athlete.

    There's plenty of training guides online to help you improve your running form, your fitness, and your mental endurance.

    It's just a matter of getting the miles under your feet.

  • MorranMorran Registered User regular
    During the race, make sure to eat and drink plenty. You will burn much more energy during a full marathon compared to half.

  • The JudgeThe Judge The Terwilliger CurvesRegistered User regular
    Done two fulls - Marine Corps Marathon in '06, Portland last year. Trained the same way both times: 4 days a week, long run on Sundays bumping twice, back off once (7, 8, 5, 10, 11, 7, 12, 14, 8, etc). The three runs during the week combine to usually equal or better the mileage for Sunday. Both times I made the marathon the next bump in the long run. So the most I've done for a long run in the training period is just shy of 23, backed off with like 10-12 the next week, and then the race.

    Two of the things mentioned up above are ones I swear by: stretch (IT Bands and calves are what tighten up for me when I get beyond 14). HYDRATE.

    Fatigue on the long runs is pretty normal, especially when you start getting to the 16, 18, etc. Sometimes, however, that tiredness is actually dehydration. Again: water. Lots of it.

    However you set up your long runs (clothing, gear, water bottle, gels, music, etc), mimic that for the marathon as much as possible. If you're rolling with music (and the race is media-player friendly), a pretty good way to keep pace is to find the BPM that puts your feet in "x minute mile" category. Then find songs that match it. Then sprinkle those in every so often on a playlist to keep you in line. If you have no idea what the BPM of a song is, this site can help.

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  • AmpAmp King of Card Games Registered User regular
    A really simple one is to go at your own pace. Its really easy to get caught up in the press and want to hare off at a hundred miles an hour but just get set your pace and stick to it. Unless you are setting out from the off to win it you are running it for you so do your thing.

    Oh and vassaline on your nipples and crotch. Trust me just do it.

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  • The JudgeThe Judge The Terwilliger CurvesRegistered User regular
    The tiny, circle-sized band-aids and some body glide for the thighs also works.

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  • AmpAmp King of Card Games Registered User regular
    Nothing sets the stage for marathons more than a bunch of fit people covering their bodies in lubricant.

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  • Raif SeveranceRaif Severance Registered User regular
    I ran my first marathon last December. I ran a half before that at around the same time you did - 1:50s. The full marathon I ended up at just under 5 hours. I made it to about mile 21 when things started to go bad - it involved peeing blood (yay!). I ended up walking for 2 miles and that really screwed up my time. I used Hal Higdon's training guide and I continue to do that for the half marathons I run.

    Some things I learned:

    - Nipple chafing exists and it is extremely painful, evaporating sweat leaves salt which is like sandpaper between your shirt and your tender bits- Nip guards are good for this as well as body glide
    - Gu is disgusting and makes me want to vomit - you may tolerate it, but I preferred the cliff's shot bloks
    - Running a full is completely different from running a half - I don't like full marathons, I'm glad I can say I ran one but I think I'm done with 26.2
    - Training for a full marathon is a part-time job - it sucks up a lot of time - you can't miss the long runs
    - Get a routine down for pre-long run meals and don't deviate - you don't want to eat something the night before the marathon that you've never tried before just because you want to carb-up and have gas or worse

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    I also prefer the "shot bloks" and part of training involves eating these at like a halfway point. Part of training also involves running with water, although you won't need this during the actual raceday, most likely, since there should be a lot of water stops.

    The hardest part is the training, in my opinion, since you need to train a lot for your first and it's time consuming. You have to eat a lot, which is kind of fun, though. You should basically be able to run about 70-80% of the final distance, meaning you should have a couple 20 and 22 mile days under your belt before you do the marathon, ideally a month or so out. When I was training, I did weekdays of 5-8 and weekends in the teens, between 12-16, and then did two long days a month out.

    Mile 19-21 is typically where things start to suck for most people. That's why you want to do those longer training days. Doing a half is relatively easy in the scheme of things, which is why you can't neglect your training for a marathon. You can't just keep a slow pace and expect to finish for a marathon, since you need to have the endurance to actually last that long. Also, many marathons have a cut-off time of 6 hours, so you must run for most of it.

    I wouldn't do it again just because the training is so time consuming, but I'm glad I did one. If you keep running and stick to a good schedule to get some long days under your belt, and practice eating some energy thing at set points while running, you shouldn't have trouble finishing.

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  • ArdorArdor Registered User regular
    I trained using Hal Higdon's marathon guide (ran 4 days a week instead of 5 because I was doing some weight lifting during the training as well) for my first marathon. There's also a book a co-worker lent me called Four Months to a Four-Hour Marathon that I read a little bit, but she said helped her run a faster marathon. Neither of us beat 4 hours, but I got close with 4 hours, 13 minutes.

    What I hear runners tell me often is that running longer distances is a mental challenge along with a physical challenge. The longest training run I've ever done was 20 miles and at a 1:30 pace for both marathons I've run, but never beat 4 hours. I think a part of it is that I'd never run more than 20 miles, so once I get to mile 21 in a marathon, it's new territory and tougher both physically and mentally. Plus, you see a lot of people around mile 21 start to slow down or start walking. If you're aiming to beat 4 hours, you have to realize that you're going to be passing a lot of people who are walking, and walking might look like a fantastic idea at that time!

    One thing to consider, depending on your geographical location, is how the weather is going to impact you. Both marathons I ran were ideal in weather conditions (50 degrees F in the morning, maybe 70 by the time I finished), partly cloudy weather with low humidity and a light breeze. Running in December could mean you're running in adverse weather conditions, or weather conditions you're not used to.

    A few tips (Raif has good suggestions above):

    1) Find out whatever energy drink your marathon sports and use that during longer runs or after those longer runs. A friend of mine trained with Gatorade and his marathon uses Powerade, he got sick during his run.

    2) I was told to only start using things like Gu Gels or FRS chews after 10+ mile runs. Try not to use those things if you're doing a 4 mile run because chances are, you don't need the energy that bad for a shorter run.

    3) Find out if your marathon allows headphones or figure out how you can distract yourself during the runs. If your marathon prohibits the use of headphones and you run ti your iPod mini, you might be in for a really big challenge when not being able to listen to your tunes.

    4) Try to run your long runs at the same time your marathon will start. If your marathon starts at 7am, try to get your last few big runs in around 7am to get used to working hard at that time.

    5) Nipple issues. I wore band-aids over mine and never had a problem. I also used Body Glide over every inch of my body that might even remotely touch any clothing. This included my feet. I never had bloody nipples during training runs, but I got some pretty bad chafing under my arms against my shirts. (I agree with Raif on these)

    6) Clothing. Try to wear appropriate clothing for the run. This includes either using double socks (I've never done this) or socks that wick away moisture during the run. This helps reduce blisters during your run. The marathons I've run allowed you to dump clothing during the run and it got donated to charity. So if the run is cold in the morning, you might bring a sweatshirt or something you don't care for and plan to use it until you start getting warm, then you can just dump it.

    7) Food. Whatever you're eating for breakfast before your runs, try to eat that same thing on the day of your marathon. It helps reduce chances of having stomach or digestive issues due to a change in diet.

    8) Learn the race environment. I've run the Twin Cities Marathon (MN) and the Chicago Marathon (IL). There are bottlenecks in both where you will pretty much be stuck at the average running speed for a few miles. In the TC marathon, the first 2-3 miles you have some ability to move around crowds and from about mile 4-8 I think, you run around some Minneapolis lakes where the road is now about half the size it was previously, and you really can't get around anyone. I didn't find a big issue with the Chicago marathon, but with upwards of 50k people running that one, it was simply a matter of keeping ahead of everyone else if possible.

    Best of all, good luck! Keep to a training schedule so your body gets used to it, try to enjoy the run and find methods of keeping a pace that work for you. I ended up running both marathons with a friend (different friend for each) and we pushed each other to keep going. Otherwise, try following someone else's pace if that works for you.

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