Miscellaneous Marathon Training Notes

I recently read multiple books to prepare for the 2015 Chicago Marathon, my first marathon. My official training schedule doesn’t start for another week, but I wanted to get my mind right, just as much as my body. I read 3 books: “Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide” (by Hal Higdon), “You Can Go The Distance” (by Bruce Van Horn) and “Marathon Training” (by Joe Henderson).

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When I am reading for research like this, I usually have a notepad and pen by my side to jot down the important notes. As a result below are the notes I took from reading these three books to help in my training efforts. Hopefully they can help those in need as well.

On Nutrition:

  • Amount of protein needed per day during training is 0.8 grams per KG of body weight.
    • Body Weight / 2.2 = Weight in KG
    • Weight in KG x 0.8 = Amount of Grams of Protein needed per day
  • Successful marathon diet:
    • 55% carbohydrates, 30% fats, 15% protein
  • Carbo loading should happen months before the race, not the night before

Miscellaneous Notes:

  • “By skipping a run, you are actually training your brain to do that next time”
  • To become a successful marathoner:
    1. Follow a proper diet
    2. Eliminate extra body fat
    3. Refrain from smoking/ heavy drinking
    4. Get adequate sleep
    5. Exercise regularly
  • High mileage training helps you better utilize glycogen (the substance stored in muscles and liver that creates energy for running)
  • To run a marathon well, change your habits in 5 areas during the final weeks of training:
    1. Cut total mileage (cut by about 50%)
    2. Cut frequency (days you run per week)
    3. Cut distance, not intensity
    4. Cut the lifting
    5. Cut back on calories
  • Get a race day routine and practice it during your long runs
  • You build strength when resting not running
  • Yasso 800’s = Run 800 meters (0.5 miles) at your goal pace per mile. Lightly jog another 800 and repeat.

On Taper Period:

  • Tapering = Taking your running miles down 2- 3 weeks before race day
  • Begin tapering 3 weeks prior to marathon (after your 20 mile long run).
  • During the 3 week taper period long runs should be 12 miles, then 8, then race day.
  • During taper weeks, cut your distance not your pace.

On Race Week:

  • To do week of race:
    • Drink more water
    • Sleep longer
    • Stay off feet
  • Focus on fruits, vegetables and grains one week before the race
  • During marathon week, watch food intake for first 3 days, then the next 3 days eat more than your normal intake, with a focus on carbs
  • You may want to jog the day before the marathon to reduce nervousness, but do not go too far

On Pre-Race:

  • Eat your first race day pre-race food as early as 3 hours before the race start
  • Run/ walk a half mile or so on race day in preparation
  • Types of protein bars for pre-race should be something that is mostly carbs
  • Pre-Race Breakfast:
    • 1.5 to 1.8 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight 3 to 4 hours before race

On Post-Race:

  • After crossing the finish line you must keep walking. Drops in blood pressure and cramping increases by resting immediately after.
  • Try to get your blood sugar back to normal as soon as possible with sugar based drinks (Gatorade, Soda, etc.)
  • Types of protein bars for post-race should be something heavy in protein
  • After the first 5- 10 minutes post run walking around, get off your feet. Elevate your feet to ease blood flow to your heart.
  • Keep any stretching post-race short and simple.

Books

Book Review: “Marathon Training” by Joe Henderson

The second book on my marathon training adventure was “Marathon Training. The 100-Day Program for Success”. This book was written by Joe Henderson.

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I do not know the official background on Joe Henderson, but his words can be trusted. He mentions in the book that he was a contributor to Runners World magazine in the 1970’s. Also he talks about running marathons all over the country (including the major ones like Boston and NY). So as far as advice goes he is someone’s advice that I respect.

Having said that, truth be told I did not finish this book. I got half way through before deciding to call it quits. Not because I thought it was a bad book. But it is truly a 100 day program for marathon training. Yes, I do realize that is in the title so this should not surprise me. But I took a chance on the book because I am new to marathon training and am not too good for anyone’s advice.

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Half Marathon #3 Weekend Is Here!

In 2 days I will be completing my 3rd Half Marathon. The Philadelphia Half Marathon. And I could not be more excited. Being able to hang up my 3rd Half Marathon medal after only starting to run in July 2013 is an exciting thought.

However this will be my first winter half marathon. And what I learned is training for a half in the winter is hard. Not the running part. Luckily if it gets too cold both my work and my apartment complex have gyms on site so it isn’t difficult to get a run in. For me it’s hard to find the motivation to run. By the time I leave for work it’s bitter cold and pitch black out. To say seasonal depression has kicked in would be an understatement.

So training has dipped off a bit. I have really only run a handful of times in the past few weeks. And with any luck I will get a run in today to remind my body what running feels like. As a result doubt has crept into my mind. Will I be able to do as well as I know I can? Am I ready? Can I even do it?

Luckily I have faith in myself. By no means am I a half expert, but I have been to the dance before. I know what 13.1 miles feels like. I know that by mile 3 I will be doubting if I can even run any further. I know at mile 7 I will start to get so hungry I could eat a full Thanksgiving turkey. I know at mile 10 I will be convincing myself “only a 5K more!” And I know by mile 13 I will sprint my hardest .1 mile I know I can. So from that standpoint I have been through the motions before and know what I am capable of.

I also had a 10K run a few weekends ago and walked away from that experience feeling very positive. My time was good, I handled the cold weather well and the course was very hilly and I didn’t let that stop me.

So naturally I am just going through the nerves anyone experiences when they know they are on the doorsteps of something very important to them. And as long as I am confident in myself, don’t get too high, don’t get too low I know I will complete my goal.

#3 is on its way!

2105 Running Goals

As I have previously blogged about, ever since starting to run in 2013 I have aimed for specific goals. Outside of the races I run through the year, I like to aim for a large goal that will really test me out. In 2013 it was my first Half Marathon. In 2014 the goal was my first Triathlon and 2nd Half Marathon (snuck in #3 as well).

Now for 2015.

Immediately the plan for 2015 is to run a Full Marathon. I know this is a physically and mentally tough goal, but I also know I will have 10+ months to prepare. Along with this goal I have decided on a few more as well. Nothing crazy, but some things that I know will test me (as well as be fun). I don’t want to put too many official races on the list, because I would rather focus on training for one larger race rather than jumping around from different race types.

So that being said below are my Running Goals for 2015. I always figure, if you write them down, you are that much closer to sticking with them.

  1. Volunteer at a race: The ultimate goal here would be to begin a race or trail a race with my motorcycle. I always think that looks like so much fun, and I love being on my bike. But I would take handing out water after someone just ran 13.1 miles
  2. Run 100 Miles In a Month: I run using Nike+. I have run 50 miles and won the Gold Trophy. But recently I saw they have a platinum trophy for 100 miles in a month. I’m coming for you platinum!
  3. Run a Full Marathon: Ideally it will be New York or Chicago. If I am going to do this I want to make it exciting. Plus I don’t know how many more Marathon’s I will run after I complete the goal.

So there is my 2015. A lot of running, but just 3 simple goals. 2013 was eye opening and 2014 tested what my body was capable of, so I am excited to see what 2015 has in store for me!

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Want to Run a Half Marathon? Go do it!

For me running started in June of 2013 and it began with 1.27 miles. Took me about 11:30 to finish and I remember it being very difficult. Fast forward a year and a half later and I am in the middle of training for my 3rd Half Marathon.

During that first 1.27 mile I will never forget how difficult it was. I was training for a 5K at the time. And I will always remember how I wasn’t sure how I was going to finish 3.1 miles. I didn’t want to do it but decided I wouldn’t give up. Immediately after my first 5K I decided to go on a plan for a half marathon. I figured if I work hard enough I could do it.

Fast forward two months later and I completed a half marathon! I always thought I needed to be a certain body type or needed to run track as a high schooler to complete that goal. But here I was, close to 30 years old, running for the first time in my life and finishing a half marathon with only 8 weeks training.

That’s what this post is about: if you want to complete a half marathon (or any distance you want) you just need to go for it. You don’t have to set a world record. You don’t need to have running in your DNA. You don’t need to be elite. Just pick a plan and go after it. Whether you finish in the top of your group or you are the last person across the finish line, you can say you finished.

For me personally I had always wanted to run a half marathon because I thought it would be a major accomplishment. But for years I avoided it because I always thought I wasn’t special enough. Until I finally got a plan and stuck to it. At the end of the plan I had a half marathon medal. A year and a half later and I have 2 Half Marathon, a Triathlon and countless other medals of varying distances.

You don’t need a special gene in your body to complete a goal. You just need a plan and an attitude that won’t give up. Like Nike says: just do it. It sounds so simple, however I know from personal experiences it is not. But don’t let fear or doubt get in your way. You are possible of so much more than you think. You will realize the only thing stopping you from achieving your goals is yourself.

Just as the picture says, don’t think about it. Just go out and run. Now go out there and accomplish your goals!

Marathon Training Plan Picked Out

I have posted previously that my goal for 2015 is to run a full marathon. And hopefully that will be the Chicago Bank of America Marathon.

As a result I have selected a 25 week (6.25 months) plan by the Salt Lake Running company. I researched a good amount and I wanted one that would spread out most the year since Chicago is October of next year.

It looks like a good plan for a beginner. A lot of the plans only went up to 20 miles and really only hit it once. From what I have learned in training for a triathlon and half marathons, you really only need to train to 75% of the total miles. The other 25% will work itself out on race day. So while I wasn’t concerned about just running up to 20 miles, I did want to hit that mark a few times. I wanted to make sure I would be comfortable getting to 20 multiple times before having to get to 26.2. Lets face it, if you can run 20 miles you can run 26.2.

So I like this plan because it gets to that 20-22 mile mark a couple of times and that will settle my nerves more than anything else. Running has always been a mental thing for me more than physical.

Now of course this is all contingent on getting into Chicago as it is lottery based. So fingers crossed. If not I will still plan for another one at that time. I have NY and Las Vegas as back up’s. Although I know NY is a long shot where as Las Vegas I can sign up for with no issue.

So here I am, on my way to a full marathon. Just your every day normal guy who chooses to put one foot in front of the other.

The Official Plan

Random Running Thoughts

This post is just all about what’s on my mind.

Tonight I participated in a #RunChat on twitter. For those of you who don’t know, it’s every Sunday night and a moderator asks a series of running related questions using the #RunChat tag line. It is a way for runners around the world to connect with one another. Tonight’s event really helped me realize how far I have come. It was just a year ago that I up and decided to start and run. Here I am a year later with 3 10+ mile races under my belt, a triathlon, countless 5K’s and in one of those 5K’s a top 3 finish for my age group. I am excited for what the future has in store.

This weekend I am headed down to the beach, specifically Wildwood, NJ. My family has a house down there so my immediate family and significant others are all going down. We have had the house down there forever and the family is selling it this year, so this will probably be the last trip. I was looking up things to do on the events calendar and saw there is a 4th of July 5K on the beach. Since I missed the Wildwood Half Marathon, I thought it would be good to take advantage of this. So I am. I am also excited because the 4th of July will also be the last day of my #RWRunStreak which started on Memorial Day. So what better way to celebrate the finish of this than a 5K on the beach? Can’t wait!

Tonight I thought about doing an Ironman Triathlon. As always I try and think of one major running accomplishment a year. Last year was my first half marathon, this year was my first triathlon and next year will be my first full marathon. So for 2016 I am thinking of the Ironman Triathlon, we shall see. I brought it up to my girlfriend and her immediate response was “When will it be enough?” She didn’t mean anything bad by it, and was more concerned about the health risks. But it immediately took me back to when I first started my running journey and how the woman I was dating at the time was so negative about it. If you have read any previous posts before you would know I was previously in a relationship with a very selfish woman. She was very unsupportive in my running journey and it made things very difficult and lonely for me. The way my girlfriend responded to the Ironman topic put me right back there. And it felt awful. I know she didn’t mean it like that and she was only looking out for me, but none the less that kind of response just triggered negative emotions for me.

But at the same time it also showed me how far I have come both in my relationships with women and running in general. First off I have reached the point where I will never let a woman treat me as poorly as my ex did. I could write a book about all the horrible things she did and put me through. And that I accepted because I believed things would change. To this day if a woman did an ounce of what she did to me I would be on my way and out the door, no questions asked. Also I will never let someone dictate my ability to complete my goals, whether it is running or anything else. If I think I can achieve it then by God it will get done.

That’s it for tonight. The running journey continues onward and upward!

Half Marathon #2: I’m a 2x Half Marathon Runner!

So this past weekend was the ODDyssey Half Marathon in Philadelphia. It was definitely by far the hardest run I have run to date (that didn’t involve some sort of cycling portion, just run). The run was the traditional Half Marathon course in Philadelphia. Which is running around the Schuylkill river (a pretty site for running). Although this one was a little different in the sense that you ran a portion through Fairmount Park. One of the largest parks the city of Philadelphia has to offer.

What made this one so difficult were the hills. There were 3 hills in particular. One right before mile 5, the second was about a minute after that one ended and the 3rd (probably the steepest) was at mile 13. The first two hills weren’t awful. They were steep for sure, but a lot of my training has been uphill so I ran up them without a problem. The problems started after the first 2 hills. I was worn out so I was still running, but at a much slower pace. The 3rd hill was a monster and at the very end of the race. If there were 40 people within my line of site at that hill, maybe 2 were actually running it (not this guy). So I walked that hill for the most part. It was very steep and after running 12 miles it just wasn’t in the cards to be running up that monster.

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1 Year Running Anniversary!

Today marks the 1 Year Anniversary where I decided to make running a regular part of my life. I have had a lot of fun in those past 365 days. There have been a lot of up’s and a lot of down’s. It started with the goal to run a half marathon. The summer last year started like any other summer. I went out for a few runs here and there. Nothing major. I had run maybe one or two 5K’s before I started last year. And in those two summers before that I would run one 5K and be done with it. Last summer I did my annual 5K, but decided it wouldn’t stop there. Shortly after the 5K I decided that I would run a Half Marathon. It was definitely a scary thought, but I am not one who scares easily.

So I printed out a plan and the analytical side of me said “if I follow each step on this plan I will accomplish my goal.” It was not easy. At the time I was dating someone who was not very supportive. She told me all of the reasons doing this was a bad idea. And when it got down to it the only reason she was so negative was because I was accomplishing something she wasn’t, so essentially being selfish. I didn’t let it stop me. It made me feel alone and like I was an idiot for even trying it. But I knew that I could do it. So I stuck to the plan and a few months later I had a medal around my neck that said I accomplished a half marathon.

Fast forward a year later and I have just about 10 5K’s, a 10 Miler, a 15K and a Duathlon  under my belt. And in the next 18 days I will accomplish another Half Marathon, Triathlon and one more 5K. I have never claimed to be a world class athlete, and this blog was never intended that way. But I decided a year ago to make this a part of my regular every day life and it has been amazing. I have made a lot of new connections in the running world, have so many great stories to tell, pictures from so many different places that I got to run in and have had so much fun along the way. And on top of all this I am almost at a sub 8 minute mile! If someone told me that a year ago I would laugh at them myself.

Lets see what the next year has in store for me…..

 

At the one year mark I am down 3 minutes per mile!!

At the one year mark I am down 3 minutes per mile!!

 

Let The Treadmill Be Your Friend

So tonight was the first night I ran on a treadmill in probably over a year.

I started this full time journey about a year ago. And at that time I had my fair share of treadmill war stories. When I was casually running. Scratch that. Barely running. I would always run on a treadmill. And then when I got out on the road it was always such a different feeling. The hard asphalt, the random inclines, the weather; it all made for such a harder run.

So when I decided to embark on this running adventure I told myself “no treadmills”. If I was going to do this I was going to know what the roads felt like. “That which does not kill us,” right? Regardless of the weather I have always stuck to the outside. I’ve run in 12 inches of snow and lighting storms where it was down pouring. I knew if I could do that than these runs in 80 degree weather would be a breeze.

However lately I’ve felt like I hit a wall with my running. I judge my time specifically by 5K’s. Anything longer I am happy I finished. But for 5K’s I really want to break a specific time. Specifically that time being a full 5K under 30 minutes. My fastest to date has been 31:30. And I just can’t seem to get under that. I guess I have issues with speed on the road.

So tonight I decided to jump on the treadmill for the first time in forever. I thought that if the ground was moving underneath me then I had no choice but to finish at a specific time. And it paid off. I didn’t get under my goal of 30 minutes, but I did run my fastest 5K to date. I ran in 30:28. Just a mere 29 seconds away from my goal. And this was just my first time, so I know with enough work at it I will hit the goal in no time.

The best part of it was that it really was one of the hardest workouts I have done so far. To say I left it all out there is accurate. I hit exhausted by the 1.25 mile mark. I ended at “I hope someone here knows CPR” level. Immediately getting off the treadmill I fell to the ground.

The 30 minute mark for most people may seem like a walk in the park, but for me it’s a major goal. And this has been what it is all about: achieving goals.

So now I have started to come around on the treadmill. I won’t spend all of my runs on it, but the two of us will definitely get more acquainted. Mixing it into my training plan to help me get a little faster will train my legs how they need to be moving when race days come around.

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