A note before we start: As you ponder what races to run this summer, don't forget to sign up for the Bentley Fund 5k hosted by Jordan Valley Community Health Center. This will be our next team race and will be a great chance to nail a 5k PR on a certified course. Use code BENTLEY417 for a discount for online registration, or give your forms (with payment) to Joy and she will turn them in to the race director. This is a wonderful cause as well, and it's a good chance to have some competition as the race has a large turnout.
If you want a training plan, please let us know soon. We are 11 weeks out from race day and we'd love to see you PR! Some of you have set some awesome 5k goals and here's a great chance to reach them.
Moving on. We've heard the words full, marathon, and 26.2 floating around a lot lately. So, we know many of you are contemplating one in the near future (by near future we mean in the next year or so). So, we wanted to take a moment to explore what it really means to train for 26.2. If you've ever run the full marathon distance, you can attest that the training and race itself take a lot of work, both physically and mentally. Not to mention an incredible amount of focus toward your end goal.
The first thing to do is to examine your motive. Is 26.2 a bucket list item? Something you simply want to complete? Are you trying to qualify for Boston? Do you have a specific goal time? Are you running for a charity? Think about why you want to complete/compete in this distance. What is driving you to make this decision? Whatever your reason may be, keep it in the back of your mind as you begin your training. This will be a good motivator for you when times get tough.
So how do you choose a good first marathon? Think about your preference. Do you like smaller races, or do you like the feel of the big crowds? Do you like scenic routes or something with a more urban feel? Take these things into consideration when you choose your race. Would it make you feel more comfortable to race close to home? Or maybe you want to use the race as a vacation getaway. Whatever you choose, get signed up and focus yourself so you can meet your goal!
Remember that marathon training takes time. Not just time as far as a long training plan (training plans tend to range from 12-25 weeks), but time each day. There's nothing wrong with this, but you need to be aware it isn't a simple task. Most runners will complete long runs of at least 20-22 miles prior to race day. When you think about it, that's a decent chunk of your Saturday. Plus, when you're done you might want to eat all the food. I mean all of it. That being said, beware of weight gain. You need to learn to fuel your body correctly.
It's smart to know your limits as well. If you tend to get hurt training for 10ks or half marathons, you may want to reconsider 26.2 or at least try to determine what it is that's causing you to get hurt so you can make adequate changes. It's also smart to start early. You want to ensure you're prepared, right? Make sure you have a plan that can adequately build you up to where you need to be and peak you out on race day.
If you haven't raced much, it would be helpful to start small and get some races under your belt. 5ks, 10ks, half marathons. This will help you learn what it's like to race and be in a race environment.
So what are the key components to training? First - base mileage. Build your base mileage before you truly start your training plan. This will help keep injuries at bay. It will also allow you to complete the workouts and feel mentally good about it. Second - the long run. On average, you'll be doing a long run weekly so your body can build up to longer distances. Long runs can go up to about 22 miles. Third - speed work. You'll want to start doing tempos as well as intervals to increase your cardio capacity and help build speed (especially if you're seeking a goal time). Even if you're only looking to complete the race, speed work still matters as helps your body become stronger both physically and mentally. Finally, rest and recovery. You need to make sure to give your body a chance to rest and recover to prevent burnout and injury. Also remember not to increase you mileage by more than 10% per week.
As you go through the training process, you want to make sure you are keeping your body hydrated and fueled properly. If you don't, your training will suffer and that's not something you want to happen. When training suffers, burnout occurs and injuries pop up. This isn't something you'll want to deal with when you have a goal race around the corner. Make sure you're taking in enough calories (and good calories, not junk food) to fuel your body for the long runs and hard workouts. Make sure you're hydrating all day as well.
Another tip is to make sure you have good shoes. Truthfully, you should have more than one pair of good shoes. You'll be logging a lot of miles. So make sure your shoes are properly fitted and comfortable. Along with this, make sure the gear you're running in is comfortable and fits well. Chafing sucks, and no one wants to deal with it. Good socks are also key. If you don't have a running watch (or a running watch you're happy with), it's time to invest in one. Whether it's a basic stopwatch, fancy Garmin, or something in between, make sure it can do what you need and that you like it.
So what can you expect your weekly training to look like? With a half, your weekly mileage would likely run somewhere between 25-35 (maybe more for some people). With a full, you're looking at 50+ mile weeks to get all of the mileage in. With the half, your long runs will be around 12-14 miles. With a full, you'll be running up to 20-22 with many runs of 12-18 in there along the way. Your speed work will probably also look a little different. Your tempo runs will be longer for sure! Basically, you're looking at a large time commitment. If you're going to do it, be ready to commit and go all in.
Many people don't need to fuel for a half, especially if you're running around 90 minutes (a 1:30 half). But, for a full this may be a different story. If you plan to drink or fuel along the way, you'll need to make sure you're trying out products during your training runs to see what works best for you. Does GU bother your stomach? Try something else. There are a lot of products on the market if this is the route you want to take. Oh, if you plan to use these items and have been training with them - don't forget them on race day.
What if you get injured along the way? Well, know you're not alone. Marathon training is no easy task, and your mileage is obviously going to increase. So, if you do get hurt, evaluate the injury. Are you just sore from training more? If so, this really isn't something to be super concerned about. Hop in an ice bath, do some stretching/yoga and take an extra rest day if needed. But chances are you just need to keep pushing that lactic acid out of your body, so lace up those shoes and head out even if it's just for a short easy run.
But, if you're looking at something more serious - shooting pain, persistant pain - more than just soreness you need to be cautious. What is hurting? Have you changed your routine recently? New shoes? Did you up your mileage too quickly? Did you wear shoes the day before that could effect how you're feeling today? Perhaps you ran on new terrain? Did you try a new crosstraining activity? You need to figure out what is going on so you can take care of your body. If you continue to run with an injury, not only will it take longer to heal, other injuries may pop up due to your gait/stride being off. For example, if your right foot hurts, you may develop an injury in your left knee. If your hips are tight and painful, you could develop knots in your calves and hamstrings. If you have an upper body injury that causes you to tense up, your lower body may become sore as well.
If you have to take time off, remember to build back up slowly and don't just jump into your training. It's okay if you have to deviate from your schedule a bit - no one follows a schedule perfectly (if you have questions about altering your schedule, just ask us). While you're off, take care to eat well, stretch, and take care of your body. If you're able to cross train (swimming, biking, yoga, rowing machine) do it. This will help keep your mind and body in training mode while allowing you to rehab your injury. Just know that you must get healthy if you want to be able to nail your race on race day. So, there's no shame in taking time off to allow your body to recover. Don't push yourself to the point where you don't even have a chance to race because you wouldn't let your body rest and get better.
Marathon training is a mental sport as well. It's a tough task physically, but when you look at the toll it takes on your "free time" it can sometimes see overwhelming and frustrating. When this happens, think back and remember why you are doing this. Remember that if you want to do well, you have to put in the work. Running/life balance can be hard when you're training for 26.2 but take a moment to focus and figure out how to make it work for you.
So, to wrap it up in a nutshell, make sure you have a solid training program and truly know why you want to run this distance. Make sure you have adequate time to dedicate to your training, and really focus on it. Make sure you have the proper shoes and gear and make sure you fuel and hydrate your body properly. Take care of yourself and you'll be ready to cross that line at your goal race.
Marathon training can be daunting, so it helps to find a training buddy. Maybe your buddy has the same goal as you. That's perfect. Even if they don't, simply meeting up to run can be helpful. It never hurts to have a strong support system as you embark on your marathon journey. Just remember to thank them when you cross the finish line. Your spouse and family likely gave up a lot of time to help you out as you trained for your big race, so give them a big sweaty 26.2 hug when you're done and then schedule yourself a massage :)
Happy Running! We will see you Tuesday for a mile time trial followed by some repeats to work on foot speed and turnover.
Who Picks the Topics?
Each week, we notice different things. We try to incorporate the questions we are receiving or the training issues we are noticing into our post(s) for the week. If there is something you'd like us to cover, let us know!