Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pre-Marathon Advice, Please!

Today's run: 10.47 miles/1:32 mins/8.51 avg pace/904 cals

Clair N. posted some great pre-marathon questions as a comment on my blog today. Having only run one marathon, I can give my two cents, but would love some feedback from you all more experienced marathoners:

Question #1: What to eat in the week/days leading up to a marathon?

I took advice from the Ultramarathon Man ("50 Marathons in 50 Days") on this one. I do think it helped me during my run. Usually I am a GI mess when I run longer than ten miles, but during my marathon I had none of that and had only one pit stop (just to pee). Also my energy was good for the entire race. This is what I followed:

Question#2: What to wear.

Running through the Colorado winter I learned a lot about layering. I also learned that it is much better to start out cool/cold and warm up than to overdress. Starting temp for my marathon in Phoenix in January was 40*. I brought throw away clothes that I discarded on the sidelines once the run started. My rule of thumb is that if it's going to be an average of 50* or higher, go with the shorts and minimal layers that you can toss.

Question #3: To iPod or not to iPod.

I was dead set on not using my iPod during the marathon. Felt like I might want to be social and I'd want to take in the sights and sounds of the experience (hah, hilarious I know). When I told Ken this the night before, he looked at me like I'd lost my mind. He kindly reminded me I would be running for at least four hours, and that I might like the option of music. I took my shuffle with me tucked in the teeny front pocket of my running shorts (I'm kind of anti fuel belt if I can get away with it). It was the best decision ever. I found the last thing I wanted to do was to be social or to take in the sights and sounds after about mile seven. That's when the headphones went on. I swear, repaying Green Day, AC/DC, etc saved my ass and kept my energy up.

Any advice for Clair on these issues (or any others)? She is running the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach on Sunday.


  1. Hmmm.....I'm biased so take all my replies w/ a grain of salt

    1) Don't worry about it too much. Have a few extra carbs the day before. Don't try new stuff. Have a fairly light, high-carb breakfast at least 2-3 hours before the race and go to it. I don't have stomach issues though, so whatever works for the folks at home.

    2) Less than you think you should.

    3) Really biased here. I hate wearing these things during training so I don't think you could pay me to wear one during a race. Wrong person to ask. I would recommend to see if the race director has a policy against these during the race. This is happening more and more.

  2. Thanks for the advice! Headphones are banned during my marathon, so I'm hoping the scenery and other runners will entertain me.

  3. All great advice! (And thanks for swinging by my blog.)

    My only tip is to do a couple dry runs of waking up and running on the weekends before the race. I'm very much an evening runner during the week and a mid-day runner on the weekends. Doing anything that early is a challenge for me, so I knew I wouldn't be ready to bounce up and run on marathon morning without some prep.

    Good luck, Christina!

  4. 1. I think sticking with the general foods you eat is a good plan, then slowly decrease fiber for about 2 days prior to the race. Don't feel like you need to go CARBO crazy the day before it may not work that well if you haven't eatten like that.

    2. They say once you start you'll feel at least 10degrees warmer

    3. personally I loooove my music, it gets me going when I start to fade!

  5. My marathon (or long distance) go-to food is BANANAS!!!! They help with the potty problem AND provide potassium. It's a win-win :)

  6. Not having run a marathon (yet) I cannot offer any sound advice. I will be seeking some from you when my time comes.

    Have a great weekend!

  7. Just reading the words "episiotomy" made me cringe. I wonder if that's how boys feel when they see another guy get hit in the balls?