Shades Marathon Training



  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    edited September 2017
    Shades, is it worth posting that document you wrote again about what to do in the lead up to a marathon?  I know it's based on London Marathon, but I have it mind a lot when prepping for a marathon.
    John - you'll be familiar with the advice to either wear an old sweater or a bin bag to the start line of a race and as you have a big city race that can often mean more standing around.    

    Last weekend on the start line at Loch Ness we were standing in a very cold wind and there was a girl wearing her dressing gown, she looked a bit odd but we were jealous of her obvious comfort!

    If it's going to be cold, gloves on the start line are useful too, there were quite a few runners wearing vinyl disposable gloves, I've never seen them being used at a race before but it makes perfect sense as easy to chuck away when you no longer need them.   I've now packed a couple of pairs in my race bag.

    In very cold wet weather they would keep your race gloves dry.

    Big G - OK, I'll go and find it.
    John - I wrote this several years ago when I was coaching a group to do their first marathon, it was aimed at London marathon.

    Congratulations!!! You have now completed your marathon training. The next stage is to taper ready for the big day.


    This is the period that allows your body to recover from all that hard training and prepares you to be at your best by race day. Many runners find this a very difficult and frustrating time as you can feel that you should be out running. It is quite normal to feel quite lethargic at this time, but don’t be tempted to go out for an extra run, do any speed training or ‘test’ an injury. No training now will help you for race day, you need to take things easy.

    Running –Your last Sunday run should be no further than 10 miles, pace very easy and relaxed. During the week one or two easy runs of 4 or 5 miles. No running after Thursday.

    Food – Eat normally until Wednesday evening, but don’t skip any meals, try and eat something every 3 hours. From Wednesday evening until Saturday lunchtime reduce the amount of protein and fats in your diet. Proteins and fats stop you feeling hungry. For this period base all your meals on carbohydrates, you can still eat fruit and vegetables but avoid those that are filling but low on carbohydrates e.g. cabbage. You can eat plenty of rice, pasta and potatoes. Double the amount of these you would normally eat but only have half the usual amount of sauce or toppings. Bread, teacakes, bagels, scones etc are fine but try and use very little or no butter/spread. Warm teacakes etc in the microwave and you can probably do without any spread at all. Use jams or honey instead. For snacks, try oatcakes (no spread), rice cakes, high carb fruits – bananas, mangoes, etc -energy bars, breakfast cereals etc.  During this period you do not need to eat more than usual just increase the % of carbohydrates. For Saturday evening, I suggest you eat whatever you fancy (within reason). You will sleep better and feel more relaxed if you can eat what you want. Don’t eat a huge meal and don’t eat too late in the evening. A moderate portion of chicken, fish or meat is fine, with some carbohydrates too. This is not a time to try out anything that you have not eaten before.

    Water – From now until race day you must ensure that you are well hydrated at all times. Keep a bottle of water in the car, at your desk, in your bag when shopping, whilst travelling to London and all the time you are in London before the race. As you increase your carbohydrate intake you will need to increase the amount of water too. You are eating more carbohydrates to enable you to store glycogen in your muscles and extra water is needed to store glycogen. You may find that you put on a couple of pounds, don’t worry, as soon as you start using the stored glycogen on race day that extra weight will go! If you allow yourself to become dehydrated, particularly in the last couple of days before the race, this will affect your race performance so don’t forget to take water to the Expo too.

    Alcohol – Try and limit your intake this week. If you do have a drink ensure you take on extra water, all alcoholic drinks will dehydrate you.

    Sleep – Try and get plenty sleep in the last week, no very late nights. The extra carbohydrates should help you sleep well.

    Other – this is not a time to do anything strenuous, so postpone any spring cleaning, decorating etc., and don’t take up any new sports or activities that could give you an injury. Avoid people with colds, sore throats etc., wash your hands more often if you are concerned about catching viruses after contact.

    Stress – Try and not to worry about your marathon debut. You have done the training, now by following these guidelines you will have prepared yourself to the best of your ability.

    Saturday Evening

    At the Expo you will be given a large plastic bag, affix the adhesive number (same as your race number) to the bag. Pack everything you will need for race day:-

    Drinks for pre race
    Food for pre and post race
    Warm top (you will chill very quickly once you’ve finished)
    Showerproof jacket
    Sun cream
    Bin Bag
    Mobile phone
    Bin bag or old t-shirt
    Enough money for hot drinks/food post race and transport
    Bum bag with sweets etc
    City Centre map

    Affix the Championchip to your shoe

    Affix your race number to your running top (check the weather first!) 


    Race Day Morning

    If you don’t sleep well the night before the race, don’t worry, this will not affect your race performance.

    Get up in plenty of time – use an alarm clock or your mobile phone.

    You MUST eat breakfast even if you don’t feel hungry, it’s important to top up your glycogen levels before the race. If you find it hard to eat much at this time take some food or sports drink to the start with you.

    The Race

    There is no need to try and place yourself close to the start, go in your allocated area/pen, your chip will start your timing when you cross the start line. It may be congested for the first mile or so, be careful not to step on discarded bin bags etc in the early stages.

    As with all races, don’t go off too fast. In a shorter race you can often recover from a hasty start, you CANNOT do this in a marathon and you will suffer painfully for this in the latter stages. Anyone who wants to know their ideal marathon pace, email me your most recent race times. Discipline yourself to go no faster than this pace until you get to halfway. Once you are at the halfway point run as you feel. By not going to fast for the first 13 miles you will find yourself overtaking many runners that started too fast and this will boost your confidence but not theirs.

    Start taking on fuel (sweets, gels, sports drinks) nice and early, at the 4 or 5 mile point, don’t wait until you feel that you need something. Don’t rely on there being supplies of sports drinks available, it may have all gone by the time you get there. Take a drink at the first drink station which is at 3 miles. There are drink stations every mile thereafter, it is not necessary to take a drink at every station, every 3 miles should be adequate.

    There are toilets en route, don’t waste time if there’s a queue. You will pass lots of pubs, garages, hotels etc., use those, nobody minds on marathon day.

    You will experience a whole range of emotions when running a marathon and most people do have a spell when the going gets tough. Don’t think that you are going to feel like that for the rest of the race, your blood sugar will have dropped, take on some fuel, ease up on your pace and try and remain cheerful by talking to others around you. Other runners will be suffering too and a chat with a complete stranger can distract you and you may be helping them too. Take a walk if you need to, you do not have to run every step of the way to have a good race. There are lots of mental tricks you can use to remain focussed. 10 miles will be double figures, 13.1 miles (21km) is halfway and you will then be heading for home and counting down the distance from that point will help. Or you can divide the race by time, so if you’re aiming for 5 hours, divide the race into 5 x 1 hour chunks.

    There is a lot of crowd support on the course and especially in the last mile and this will spur you on, try and smile as you run through the finish line – they’re taking your photo!

    Collect your medal and your bag, put on your warm top as you will chill very quickly and have a drink. If you are unwell seek medical attention immediately. Make your way through the finish area (this area is not accessible to non-runners) and to your pre-arranged meeting point.

    Eat and drink something as soon as you can after finishing, this will aid your recovery.

    Congratulations – you are now part of 1% of the population – a marathon runner


  • JellyJelly ✭✭✭
    Booked on to cider frolic but missed out on Giants Head, now on waiting list.
    Jelly - didn't realise that both races sold out so quickly.
  • JellyJelly ✭✭✭
    It's because everyone wants one of those ice creams lol
    There must be an easier way to get one of those ice creams!   But they're allowing transfers now between runners aren't they so I'm sure you can find someone to transfer nearer the time.
  • JellyJelly ✭✭✭
    Should be fairly high up the list and it's not a race you would run if you was carrying a injury or not trained for. 
  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Shades, that document is great and I often think of bits in there.

    Looking back, when I first did London (2010) and didn't really have a clue what I was doing, I had an awful race for a whole host of reasons.  But when I read that I think it was at least partly been down to hydration.  I remember travelling up on the Saturday, rushing to the expo to get my number (which was stressful as I was pushed for time), getting back to the hotel, all without really drinking much.

    Also, more recently when I was at Leiden, I was on the start line thinking I was going to have a bad race, and so went out really steady, then ran to feel and ended up with a good time (to date, my second best time).  For me, assuming well trained, hydrated etc etc, that's the most important advice for race day.  Do not, under any circumstances, go off too quickly for your first one!  I think if people end up doing a few marathons it's okay to risk it and see if they can surprise themselves and take some time off their PB, and then just slow down later if it doesn't work out, but I think for a first one (where one of the aims should be to enjoy it) going out too quickly can jeopardise the whole thing.
  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Oh, gawd.  Davey has said I can do tomorrow's event instead if I want.....  I am feeling much better today, and he wants to know by this evening.
  • Shades. - thanks for the above marathon advice. Just what I was looking for. Looking forward to my 14 miler tomorrow. Can I just check I don't need to do a Tempo run in the week leading up to the marathon Shades  ?
  • Shades - that's a shame that you're having to DNS this weekend's marathon, but sounds like the right decision.

    Just a word of warning to those carb loading - I think I overdid it a bit on the sugar when trying to carb load for London this year. I was so stuffed with pasta and hot cross buns that I topped up my carb levels with Lucozade sports drink. I'm pretty sure this was a factor in me getting zero hours sleep the night before!

    I had a rubbish run yesterday. Ran 4 miles to a cinder track and then just felt really tired and weak! So had to walk a mile and then run slowly home. Not sure if I was just hungry or whether I have picked up Max's bug. Helped a friend marashal at parkrun while OH ran it. Then spent the rest of the morning going through the whole contents of my loft. I thought I'd hidden an old iPhone in there when we went on holiday & needed to find it to give to Max for his birthday. Spent 2 and a half hours making a mess and getting dust everywhere and then my older son found it in my chest of drawers!
  • This is he advice re gels to take from the Yorkshire marathon and High 5! Never listen to a gel manufacturer re dosages!
    Big_G said:
    Oh, gawd.  Davey has said I can do tomorrow's event instead if I want.....  I am feeling much better today, and he wants to know by this evening.
    Ha,'s up to you.   Forecast is rain I think.

    Re hydration before a marathon, travelling to and then across London, all the hustle and queuing at the Expo is almost as dehydrating as running the marathon, that's why I put that part in.

    John - you are excused your tempo run during marathon week, but if you feel you want to put a mile in at marathon pace during one of your easy runs, then do so.

    SK - I'm sure you're right about your pre marathon loading this year, but sometimes you just have to try all these things to actually find what's right for you.   I don't think using sports drinks for loading is a good idea, they're loaded with artificial sweeteners as well as the sugars.  

    Likewise those instructions re taking of the gels was written by a salesman not a sportsman or coach.  Take 2 gels before the start is terrible advice, if you want the caffeine have a coffee instead.

    Hope you're feeling OK now, must have been exhausting all that searching in your loft, thankfully you found what you were looking for, even if it wasn't in the loft.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    This is my 2 cents on gels. I'll take a maximum of 3 during a race.  At 60,90,120 mind. This is the "magic"  formula for me. I'll also make sure I hydrate enough and I've got a good electrolyte balance as this is my weakness more than hitting the wall
    Emmy - you've found exactly what works for you, interesting that you don't take anything on after 2 hours.

    But you probably take on the same amount of carbs that I do in a race, I just spread mine out over a longer time.

    I wasn't able to book a Pilates class for next week as when the bookings opened my plane was taking off, now after a week of haunting the website I've finally got a cancellation place :)  

    Good luck to all racing today.

  • Good luck everyone racing today.
    Not so good news for me. My lower back and hip (TFL, I'm sure) have not improved at all despite a week off running. I've done yoga and gone out for some walks but nothing has changed. I'm having another massage (and I'll ask him to ultrasound me) tomorrow in the hope that it will help. But I've a plan B. Seeing as I'm being sponsored and the cut-off time is generous, I can walk Royal Parks. It's not what I'd like to do, but at least I won't let down the charity. Hopefully I can get running before then but after a week of no change, I'm not hopeful. :(

  • Well that wasn't too bad. One cumbrian run half marathon done in 2:17:13ish. Legs got to the feck off no more running point around 9.5 miles this time so i am getting further before this happens ;) Just stick a few walk breaks in and they'll carry on moving to a certain extent.

    Annoyingly garmin clocked 13.03 so it wont flag as a half for strava....Still tis start of month so i guess i'll just have to do half+ distance as a trainig run later in the month. Now for the important bit, ordering refueling food from dominos (Have to use them or wait for othes to open 4:30 which isn't happening as i am hungry.

    As for gels during longer races i would say i never do but i have very occasionally when they are provided by the race and only on marathons. I barely drink during halfs unless hot so why would i wnat a gel. Prefer jelly babies or ideally cookies ;)
  • JellyJelly ✭✭✭
    Really enjoyed Cardiff Half today, didn't manage to get sub 2 for friend as her shin was hurting too much. 2:04 it boosted my confidence for Birmingham as I found it really easy all the way and had a whale of a time. Definitely going to do next year and friend has a score to settle. Next year I will race it. Well done everyone who raced today. Weather was kind. 
  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Really sorry to hear the Cal. Maybe walk it then and you'll probably get chatting to people towards the back and have a great time. 

    Nice run Keith. I don't use gels either, but mainly because I don't like the taste/texture and the 'manufactured' feeling. 

    Well, I turned up at Plym Trail today....and had an absolute shocker :-)

    Obviously I had no intention of racing it, but I've done 4:30 on the course before (the week after London) so kind of loosely had that in mind. 

    The first couple of hours was raining, but I took the jacket off after less than a mile as I was too hot, and tied it around my waist for the whole race.  This race is two lots of out and back with the outward leg downhill and the return leg uphill.  The first half went fine (2:05ish) but half way down the hill for the second time I just stopped running. I thought to myself 'what are you doing you t*** - start running!', but it was tough.  And this was on the downhill, so I knew I was going struggle on the uphill return...which I duly did :-)

    I run/walked the last 10k (mainly walked if I'm honest) and put the jacket back on as I was getting cold (it wasn't raining).  I got it done in 4:45 - not that it matters but I think Davey called out 4:44:59 at the finish, but I'll wait for the results. 

    So why is it, even when taking it easy, it was still so tough??!  I obviously didn't have the best prep this week but I feel ok and RHR was totally fine this morning. Head feels fine and my nose isn't streaming, so I feel I okay to do the event.  If I hadn't felt ok I'd have DNSd - no issue there as I've DNSd other races. 

    Anyway, it's done.  That's my 10th of the year, and I'm pretty sure I've got a couple of blisters to mark the occasion.
    edited October 2017
    Cal - so sorry to hear that there's no improvement in your injury even after all that rest.    Good decision to walk Royal Parks, folk are sponsoring you to finish not run fast, there'll be lots of others walking too.

    Well done Keith. hope that course wasn't short!   Does your Garmin often under measure?  

    Big G - well you did tough it out, it was very humid today here and that would have made it a bit tougher.   Even if you walked the whole marathon it would still feel tough as it's still 26.2 miles, and you haven't been 100% this week.  

    You will be fine for Munich.

    Jelly - well done at Cardiff, your friend will get that sub 2 next time

  • Shades - Er no not usually, one of the local 10k's its been known to be slightly under but i can cut corners more than a bike measuring the course on that one. It was a diff route to last time at the end thru Carlisle plus the athletic stadium is still being fixed from storm damage so finish was not the usual spot.
  • Great running to all who had events today. I personally had a great time at the Glasgow half. Rained for most it only really stopping in the final 400 metres however so glad the forecast of 30mph wind gusts didn't actually happen. I started in my usual way of too quick for what I wanted to run at first few miles were 7.20, 7.36,7.16,7.32 when my target was 8min miles so I thought should I slow down or just keep going so me being me decided just keep going and see where it takes me. Shades I tried something you suggested in putting some of my hydration tablets in cling film and add to the water at thewater stations. I did this at every station and I believed they did the trick . I also took advice from a friend who does I iroman events who said to take an energy gel every 3 miles. Started to feel twitches in my right hamstring as I normally do when setting of to quick in events so slowed my pace down to about 7.35 miles and managed to finish cramp free in 1.39.39 so was well pleased with my effort. Now trying to look for what event I can do next.
  • Thank you so much everyone for carb loading advice and Shades for the posting of the pre marathon info I will have a good read later. I was just home from my last long run before York of 10 miles when my daughter phoned from uni very poorly. I have done a 4 hour round trip  to collect her for a few days tlc and r and r and she will return on Wednesday so I am very tired now!
  • What a lovely mum you are, Lily, hope your daughter feels better soon.

    Cal - sorry to hear you're still suffering. That's a pain re RP, but a good plan B to walk.

    Nice racing from Keith and Steven and good pacing from Jelly. Sorry you had a tough one, Big G. It sounded like you've not been 100 percent this week, so give yourself plenty of time to recover.

    I did a local 10k today which I've done every year since 2012. It has a horrible hill in mile 3 which is about a mile long! I managed to do the hill 20 secs faster than last year and got a course PB of 40:29. I was over a minute faster than last year but was 3rd lady (last year I was 1st!), 1st in AG. And my club got team prizes for men and women (I think we were the only club to field 4 women so not much/any competition!!)
    Keith - maybe just a blip with your Garmin.   I'm sure you never cut corners ;)

    Steven - that's a great race result for you, and now you can take that fuelling plan to your next marathon too.   I watched the race on telly, conditions looked good and the course looks good too, if I was closer I'd want to run that race. 
    First time the race has been won by an Englishman since 1993, I was pleased to see Chris Thompson do so well, he's been to hell and back with his injuries, but I don't think he'd have won if Callum Hawkins had been on top form.

    Lily - sorry to hear your daughter is poorly, hope she recovers well.  But I want you to get some rest and not burn yourself out this week.

    SK - great running at your race, congratulations on your prizes and CB.  20 seconds faster on a hill is significant progress, do you think maybe your fitness classes are giving you more leg strength?

    Well I finally got out for a run today, first run since Loch Ness.  I am never going to miss a recovery run ever again, I expected my legs to be fresh but completely the opposite, legs felt heavy and sore. :'( :'(   If folk don't do a recovery run the day after a race no wonder they take so long to recover from the race.  

    So all you weekend racers, get out today for a gentle recovery run :)

    Heel was fine, just a tiny bit tender by the time I finished.

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Ooooph.  I am broken (I don't mean injured or with a cold).  Head throbbing (not enough water, presumably), blisters, chaffing where I didn't know I could get chaffed (as well as in more obvious spots for chaffing), legs shredded, muscles hurting in such a way that it was a struggle to get out of bed.  I don't feel great...!  I was talking of attempting a double this weekend, but if the second one was today I am really not sure if I'd have turned up for the race.

    I am planning a recovery run though, but probably only 3-miles.
  • Iain LoveIain Love ✭✭✭
    edited October 2017
    Morning shadies. 
    Now that I committed myself to a slightly mad weekend in November I got out for my longest run since my last marathon.  I did 18miles and got home just before the rain came down. It was a slow run which I have learned to do but I felt good all the way through and could have easily run another 8 so I think I'm in good shape. I plan to do another 10-12 today so hope my legs behave.. 
Sign In or Register to comment.