I hit the wall

afternoon all


I have recently completed the Chester Marathon, my training went well, my run was on schedule, i had even taken energy gels at a few of the drink stations....however i hit the wall at 22 miles, i walked for about a hundred yards, shouted at myself and carried on....my finish time was 3 hrs 51 mins....of which i was chuffed with...i now have this niggling in the back of my head saying you could have done better if not for that WALL........any suggestions for any future marathons i may take part in?


  • That doesnt sound like hitting the wall - just that you had a bit of a crisis ?

    Hitting the wall is when you run out of energy and walking 100 yards won't cure it. 

    Well done on the race - now you know that in order to improve on that you have to do more training for the next one. 

    Did you have a strategy for nutrition ? Did you get your long runs in ? Did you get any speedwork done ? Look at what you could improve and you should get faster.

  • Agree with Cougie that it sounds more like a minor wobble and not The Actual Wall. Unless when you say you carried on, you mean it was more of a grim death shuffle rather than an actual run?

    Anyhoo, yes, congratulations. Sounds like you did pretty well in what I'm assuming was your first marathon. My suggestions for future marathons would be to get in at least one 22+ mile run in training, and to practice more with gels to see which ones give you the best boost. (Rather than just taking what's on offer at feed stations, which might not be what you want or exactly when you want it.) Caffeine laced ones tend to be pretty good for giving you a kick up the bum. Then you can make sure you've got a couple stashed in a pocket for just before the 22 mile point.

    Marathoners often make a huge deal out of The Wall but remember ultra runners do 50 mile, 100 mile and even longer races without running out of steam at the 20 mile point so sometimes I think the marathon wall is often psychological rather than physical. Like, if everyone tells you to expect it and you're thinking about it, it's more likely to happen.

  • I'm interested in what you say about the possibility that hitting 'the wall' is actually  psychological. It happened to me 20 miles into the London Marathon and now l'm almost expecting it to happen again during the New York - do you think I could mentally overcome this?


  • If you've trained well and fuelled then there's no need to hit the wall.

    What happened in London ?
  • Lorraine:there's no need to "hit the wall". If you've trained adequately, pace correctly, get your hydration, electrolytes and nutrition right, then a marathon is just another race. There's nothing huge about miles 20-26; they're just six miles, and you've already completed the bulk of the race.

    One way to think about it: when you reach 20 miles, all you've got to do is a couple of parkruns. You can do that, surely? Just a couple of parkruns. Easy!


  • Also, a bit late for you now for New York, perhaps, but you could do worse than go over distance in training: I trained for and ran a 50K before my first marathon. So miles 20-26 were just six more miles - I'd done them (and more) previously. No mystique, no "the last six miles are the second half of the race", just six miles.

  • This is soo true possibly exasperated by the fact most marathon training plans out there that beginners follow dont actually get you up to race distance before the day which sorts of adds to the mystique of the last few miles.

  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭

    any biochemists here?

    Im interested in whether the body simply burns through its glycogen and then has to be able to switch 100% to metabolising fat stores (in which I suppose you have to improve your running economy and glycogen storage and/or be able to run well on lipids rather than carbs).

    Or does the body burn a mix of glycogen and lipids throughout - in which case do you train your body's ability to do taht somehow?

    I also read that doing some running when you are glycogen depleted (eg before breakfast) can help - anyone in the know about what works best?

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