I’ll make this short and easy to remember for those of you who are thinking of running your first marathon or for people who may get some ideas from this post to improve their PRs. During my 18 week marathon training this is what I learned up to the finish line of the San Francisco Marathon.
1) Training Programs
There is no such thing as a right training program, it all depends on which you trust.
Hal Higdon - Ran his first Marathon in Boston in 1959. Very popular choice for new runners.
Runs are 2-3x a week with a weekend run.
Long run = 20 miles ** runningmilecom approved!
Jeff Galloway – American Olympian, writes for Runners World and written several books won first place Honolulu Marathon 1974. 2:23:02
Runs are 2x a week for 30 mins with an easy walk and long weekend runs
Long Run = 26 Miles
2) Salt Packets
Use this to supplement your electrolytes
Do NOT get it moisten, it sucks when salt sticks to the paper
3) Body Glide
Used to be a fan of Vaseline but the problem is it has a minor scent and its too wet for me. Body Glide has a good texture and feels great on your body. You won’t chafe! Don’t worry!
4) Perfect Fitting Shoes and Socks
Every runner knows to get fitted with the best functional shoes NOT the awesome kick ass design. Go to a running shop and tell them you need the best shoes for YOU.
Sock are pricey but it’s worth every penny.
See more info here
5) Water Stops
Do not line up in the first few tables, you will bottleneck yourself. Go after the huge crowd.
Try to go before you step in the starting line. Remember that there will ALWAYS be a long line before a race. If you find a Starbucks, Mcdonalds or any fast food joint, you might have an opportunity to beat the crowd! Waiting in line isn’t too bad, kinda awkward trying to speak to a runner who wants to go!
7) Controlled Snacking
For a half marathon, you can live without eating anything depending on your endurance level. Gu or Clif Bar is good for a half but on a Marathon it gets a little complex. You do not want to BONK aka hit the dreaded Marathon wall.
Don’t over Eat/Hydrate I was close to doing this because I didn’t want to Bonk. I had 4 slim Jims, 3 packets of Gu, 2 Clif Bars, 1 Slice of Hawaiian Bread, 1 Clif Block. Geez! That was a lot of food, but that was a span of 5 hours.
There were also supplemental snacks on the race so you have some support.
Hydration: Just because there’s a water stop doesn’t mean you should take a sip. If you know the spots, plan your drinking accordingly. This worked well for me even without a hydration pack.
8) Hydration Pack
Personally I trained with a Camelbak and I felt very comfortable with it, but SF Marathon had security measures that prevented me from using my huge Camelbak. Technically, it’s not needed for a controlled course. As long as you plan your hydration ahead of time, there shouldn’t be a reason to wear it.
Alternative: I carried a water bottle, up to mile 6 since I didn’t finish the water before the starting line. ( I hate wasting resources). I realized that I got rid of it around mile 6 which leaves me with 20 miles to hydrate on course. Not a bad plan because the first 10k I was fully hydrated.
9) Leg work
I knew the San Francisco Marathon was going to have hills so about 70% of my long runs were in rolling hills. It was at Lake Chabot for you bay folks out there! I wasn’t ready! I neglected to change up the leg work resulting in VERY SORE Quads.
Solution: Strength Work outs targeting major muscle groups in your legs!
10) 3 hours of sleep
What can I say, I was pretty excited and barley got sleep. I wasn’t worried about it, I knew I could do it. One time I did the Spartan Beast with only 2 hours of sleep. I’d trade it for a full night sleep but you just can’t do it sometimes!
11) Run with a Buddy
I had a few running buddies along the way in training and on the race. I feel blessed to have them! You need to develop a relationship with your running partner.
I’m telling you right now that your best friend who doesn’t run is NOT a good partner, but they may be a good drinking partner! HA–
You must have someone who has similar goals…like me!
12) You will Hate Stairs
For first-timers just finish the marathon. It’s an achievement if you do it at 3 hours or 9:48:52 Heaviest person to do a marathon .
So don’t be too discouraged if you didn’t meet your goal time. Your goal in the first place was probably “finish a marathon” NOT finish @ XX:XX:XX time.
I went about 40mins over my goal time, but that just means I have to evaluation my training, standards and everything else!
The Marathon is no joke because it’s tough. It is doable if you have the mental state for it. Your physical body can do it, you just don’t want it bad enough. When you hit Mile 20 just in your training, you start to think about running differently. It will change your life. But always remember, just have fun and don’t worry about time.
And here’s a video to Get Lucky