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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Running a marathon

Jennifer writes: "You may recall I came and saw you some time back and was aiming for the Wellington Marathon. Well I did it! My training went pretty much exactly to your plan and I had no injuries – only hiccup was a head cold a couple of weeks out.

Even though we had a perfect day the run was tough! I knew my knee would go at some time but was not prepared for it to start hurting at the 25km mark and be as painful as it got. However chugged on through and finished in 3:50 – my aim was to do under 4 hours so can not complain. I learnt a lot from the run and think next time my build up would be slightly different. But thank you so much for your advice and guidance.

Even though it obviously was not the quickest time I ended up the 10th woman home and 3rd in my age group so for a first timer it puts a little shine on things. Next half in September… I took one carbo shot during the marathon (had practiced in training runs), which meant a quick dash to the bathroom but not convinced it was as beneficial as just water. I think for me personally as I am a bit slower, I would do maybe a 3.5 hour run leading up to next marathon and not back off quite so soon in the lead up – just a few tweaks that I think my body would work better with".
Gary Moller Comments:
First of all, congratulations to Jennifer and all the others who completed the Wellington Marathon and 1/2 Marathon.

It is not necessary to run more than 3 hours in training, even if the marathon race is going to be 4 or so hours. The risk of injury is just far too great, as is the risk of just getting too exhausted to be able to train properly for several days after.

Gradually build up over 12 weeks to about 3 hour runs that you do once a week. There should be short runs during the week that develop speed and running form. Run a short race about every 2nd week - about 3-8km races. The long runs develop the stamina to run long distances efficiently utilising your body fat stores. The faster runs, including races develops your peak oxygen consumtion capacity as well as your ability to use a higher percentage of this capacity during long runs. This means being able to run longer, faster.

Once the big event is over, take 10 days break, then start the cycle again.

Jennifer's experience with the single carbo shot illustrates how different training conditions can be to actual competition. It is very difficult to ingest anything while running without suffering some kind of upset. Substances like concentrated corn syrup need to be taken with caution and lots of water. While I recommend that long training runs be on an empty stomach, some runs need to be set aside to practice taking in fluid and food.

Finally, marathons are murder on joints. Take additional joint food before and for a few weeks after the event.


Wayne said...

you need the long runs but dont do too many of them if your legs arent recovering from then. NEVER do a long or hard training session if you are sore or tired before hand, stick to short runs until you really feel up to running them again, losts of short runs keep you fit and fresh, building you back up between the longer runs,

Anonymous said...

Over time I have found that the benefits of carbo shots in running events are very much hit and miss. Sometimes they seem to give you a boost where as other times I have felt quite uncomfortable. Overall I don't think it's worth the effort and have stopped using them.