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Marathon Wisdom!

Most of you know that I had congestive heart failure in 2011. Since then I have run 7 marathons. A marathon is always 26.2 miles. My blog is usually related to fitness and weight loss. Today it is about things you need to know about a marathon.

Please vote for it anyway. Sympathy votes are like make up sex.

So you want to run a marathon? Here are some things to keep in mind. They are from my next book.

- A marathon is nothing like a half marathon. It's the difference between waking up after a glass of wine or two and waking up after five or six shots of tequila.
- Even when you have trained hard, expecting to run a faster pace then you did in any of your training runs is pathetic.
- Small races are much easier logistically, but they can get lonely those last 10 miles.
- Big races are awesome if you need crowd support.
- If you are planning to walk the last six miles after you hit the wall, why not walk the first six miles and finish stronger.
- The halfway point of a marathon is 20 miles.
- You need to practice fueling on all your practice runs.
- The shoes that work for your 5K and 10K - even your half may not work for a full.
- Any training runs longer than 20 miles can cause more damage than they can fix.
- Long slow runs are as effective for building VO2 Max as long fast runs. Use them to stay injury free.
- Run/Walk is not an option for an untrained runner. It is meant to give you a faster finishing time than running the entire time.
- Get your 20-miler in 6 weeks before the race. That way you have time to fix things and try it again. Or go with the confidence you nailed it.
- The last 6.2 miles are subject to change very quickly.
- Negative splits are essential for a good marathon. (slower miles to faster miles)
- Train with the hydration brand provided on the course.
- During big-city marathons be sure to sit as much as possible. Two or three hours on your feet before a race wastes energy you will need.
- Bring throw-away clothes. Space blankets are cheap! Bring two. One for the ground and one for cover up with.
- Pre-load electrolytes starting three days before a race.
- Hydrate well starting two days before a race.
- If you are going to carb-load, do it two nights before the race.
- Always practice you pre-race meal before a long training run.
- Most courses have hydration every 2 miles, some more often. Small sips during training during these intervals.
- During hot races it's a good idea to bring hydration. Water stops can be a zoo.
- My chiropractor said walk for an hour before sitting down after a marathon.
- To help you go out easy, warm up and stretch during the first mile or two.
- Study the course map. Knowing where hills are is helpful. If you are planning on walking, hills are a good place regardless of your intervals.
- Leg cramps are COMMON in the later miles of a marathon. Bring salt packs!

Thanks for the votes and comments.

58 votes + -


cbmcphillips wrote 75 months ago:
I don't foresee any marathons in my
The most I do is a 5k, and that's about 45 minutes give or take...

But I admire your stamina ... Stay Boston Strong

PlantBasedRnr wrote 75 months ago:
Well were I ever to run a marathon ( or even THINK of it ) I will definitely keep this in mind... for now I think I will just stick with my pathetic little halfs and let the big dogs run the fulls.
swat1948 wrote 75 months ago:
I couldn't if I wanted to run a marathon or run at all in fact because of artificial knees, but I admire your dedication.
dsjohndrow wrote 75 months ago:
That's interesting. We have a gal in our run club who had both knees replaced and runs. I never thought about it.
4julhan wrote 75 months ago:
Love these tips...will be printing them out and referring to them as I prepare for our November marathon - my biggest fear right now is the humidity - Space Coast marathon in FL - it could be very ugly... Gonna have to practice with salt pacs for sure! :)
Leigh_b wrote 75 months ago:
love this... especially points #1 and #6... the perfect description of the experience!
wxchic wrote 75 months ago:
Great tips!!
celticlass69 wrote 75 months ago:
Good information for runners. I think it can also be applied to other activites, in that preperation, evaluation and learning if part of any fitness activity. Thanks John! ;)
Anonymous wrote 75 months ago:
Once you get back home or hotel. Take an ICE bath, your muscles will thank you for it later. We will feel much better later and be able to walk the next day much better than those that didn't take one. If you are in a touring city, you will be able to tour vs limb around town.
UltimateLover wrote 75 months ago:
These are great tips to remember! I want to run a marathon some day but first I gotta start running again!
tamannchambers wrote 75 months ago:
Good info. I just signed up for my first marathon this October.
Rachel0778 wrote 75 months ago:
Absolutely true in my experience, especially regarding the shoes and fuel. Thank you for sharing!
farmboyphotography wrote 75 months ago:
Good comments. I might aspire to a half marathon one day, but for now, 5Ks and 10Ks are enough work for me. :-) Stay strong, sir!
nats2508 wrote 75 months ago:
Very useful tips, thanks. One day I will be brave enough to try..
Rica03 wrote 75 months ago:
Great info-I am training and running my first marathon on the 15th of May and quite frankly am terrified! :)
rightoncommander wrote 75 months ago:
I agree with almost everything you've said, very helpful for beginners and recent beginners (like me). I wanted to come back to you about pace in long runs, as I've heard so much contradictory information about this. Some agree with your version, others insist improvement is impossible without pushing the pace a little in these runs. I've previously run marathon pace+60-90s for long runs, and then made major pacing errors in the race. Last time, I tried including marathon-paced intervals of 60-75 mins about every 3rd long run, but ended up injured before the marathon, so I have no idea if this would have helped.

If your long runs are slower than marathon pace, how do you get your marathon pace sorted out? Do you just run a little slower and a little further in a mid-week threshold run?
cblue315 wrote 75 months ago:
Thenks for the tips. These are things that no one tells you.
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