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.


This Years Back To Back Training Plans

In 2014 I ran a few different race types that I had to have multiple training plans for. One for a triathlon, one for a half marathon and one for a Spartan Race. I don’t know if a doctor would support this but I essentially took 3 different training plans and Frankensteined them to make one plan. I essentially had one long training plan that lasted from February to October.

A little background on me, if I do not have a training plan I feel lost. If there isn’t something on my fridge telling me what today’s goal is I am like a lost child in a candy store. I am actually going through it currently. I don’t have a run to train for right now and I feel like I am a ship lost at sea just floating around aimlessly. I do have a 5 mile race next month so I am still in the gym and running, but it feels sporadic at best.

As I have blogged before 2015’s goal is a Full Marathon. I entered the NYC Marathon lottery so wont know for another month if I am in. But I do know whatever one I run it won’t be until late fall (Oct./Nov). And I picked out a 25 week training plan so training wouldn’t start until around May. So here I am a bag floating in the wind until May. I just don’t think I can do it. Am I becoming the type of person obsessed with running? I don’t think that is it. I think I am just afraid of getting out of my routine and not being ready to start the training plan. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is how my mind works.

So that brings me to how I am once again Frankensteining a few training plans in 2015. In April of this year I am running the Hot Chocolate 15K and one month later will be running the Broad Street 10 Mile Run. I am confident I can keep this “bag in the wind” mentality without a plan and complete those races but I have decided not to do that.

So I have gone back to the well and dusted off my 8 Week Half Marathon training plan. Only this time I have expanded it to 13 weeks. I essentially took the last 5 weeks of the plan and tacked it on to expand it to 13 weeks. So here are my plans for 2015. Starting on February 2nd I will begin a plan that takes me to the 15K and 10 Mile runs in April and May. And after the 10 Mile Run I will begin my Full Marathon Training plan. So I am looking at being on a training plan from February 2nd to November 1st.

I need structure, what can I say?


Training Plan #1. Starts Feb. 2nd


Training Plan #2. Starts May 11th

2015: The Year of My Running Mental Shift

As I look at my running schedule for this year I realize a shift in how I view running. When I put my feet to the pavement for the first time in 2013 I was so nervous to run a 5K. So much so that I would even find a training plan for them. As I look back after running a triathlon, Spartan Race, Duathlon, Multiple Half Marathons, 10 Milers, etc. I realize how funny that sounds. However as I think about that, I also am reminded of a quote (pictured below). You don’t get better at something without having to walk before you crawl.


So as I look out to 2015 I realize the shift in my mental approach to running. Last year I would sign up for at minimum one 5K per month. I would do that to make sure I was always training for something. I never wanted to get stagnate and stop running. And it was a lot of fun because I got to experience a lot more runs and expand my running community.

However, as I look at 2015 my first two registered runs of the year are 5 milers. In fact, as I look well into the year I do not have a 5K on my schedule. And that is where the mental shift occurs. The runs I want to complete are longer distances (10K’s, 15K’s and 5 and 10 Miler’s). As far as organized running goes I would like for 5K’s to be kept back in 2014. This is not because I think I am better than the 5K distance by any means, but for me I feel like I can go out and run 3.1 miles on the treadmill at the gym or around the neighborhood. I would rather run longer distances during my organized races.

This very well could be due to the fact that I plan on running a full marathon at the end of the year, who knows. But either way I can’t see myself running many official 5K’s this year.

That is what this blog has always been about: How running changes me not only physically but mentally as well. It was just 19 months ago that I had a 5K training schedule. And here I am treating that distance as a way to keep up with running versus being the ultimate goal.

For as many diffrerent runs that I have ran, I am still very much a novice at this. I am only in my 2nd full year of running. And this is a pretty decent mental shift for me moving forward. So 2015 will be known as the year I become a long(er) distance runner than in the past.

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!

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

2015 Will Be Here Before You Know It

So I have decided to run a full marathon.

Yes that is correct. The same guy who started running regularly about 9 months ago has decided to jump into the marathon ring. As I type that it’s scary as can be.

Ever since I started running I have set myself up with yearly goals. In 2013 it was to complete a half marathon. In 2014 it is a triathlon. So what else is there to do in 2015? Well it only makes sense to get myself ready for 26.2 miles.

This is all still in the preliminary stages. I still have a triathlon this year and two half marathons. But the wheels will be in motion.

I have decided that for such a major milestone that I just don’t complete a local one. I don’t plan on making a marathon a habit and it very well could be the only one I ever run. So as such I would like to make it a memorable one.

And of course when you talk memorable marathons you think Boston. However I am not the qualifying type. So that’s out.

So I have decided to throw my hat in the ring for the Chicago Marathon in October of 2015.

I say throw my hat in the ring because it is lottery based and there is no guarantee I get in. But I will put my name in the lottery system and hope for the best.

If I don’t get it I think I will register for the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon. I’ve heard really good things. And I’ve run a Rock N Roll Half before so I know they put on a good race.

So that all being said this will probably be the last post on this subject for quite a while. But either way I can’t wait!!