How to survive running your first marathon

June 24, 2010

Early in my training for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon in San Diego on June 6, an acquaintance told me to write down why I was running. She said I would need to remind myself often.

But after four months of hard training, halfway through the 26.2-mile race, “To fit into a bikini again,” just didn’t seem a good enough reason.

Here are some other things I learned from running my first marathon:

• Bring your running gear on board the plane, especially your running shoes.

• Believe in good luck signs and symbols. In addition to purple New Balance shoes, wear a matching purple running top, a gift from my sister; Inca cross necklace to summon the strength of my ancestors; “Love to run” earrings for a silver sprinkle of luck; bottle with water-Gatorade mixture; chocolate Gu.

• Attend the prerace expo. You never know who you’ll meet.

My friend, Eleanor, and I met Olympic runner Kara Goucher! Tell her I am running my first marathon.

“Running my first marathon (in 2008) changed my life,” Goucher tells me. A good sign.

The 6:15 a.m. marathon start is cloudy, in the high 60s. Perfect running weather. Another good sign.

But the 25,000 other bodies warm things up pretty quickly. Just after the half-marathon mark, the sun pops out, baking us like moving pot pies. Still 13 miles to go. Bad sign.

• Remember the reams of running advice: Keep the top of your body quiet, don’t let your ponytail swing, hydrate, keep your head up, shoulders down, tuck in gut to keep your chi from spilling.

After a while, forget form perfection and just run.

But force your brain to think: What is the real reason I am running this?

• Think about the surgeries that put you in bed and out of work for months. Think about the debilitating injuries and illnesses. Think about how much pain this body has been through and how strong it is today.

• Think about my sister who flew in from Boston with her husband and two children, just to cheer me on.

Think of her screaming “Happy Birthday!” at mile 8, and “Go Karen!” at mile 15.

Realize why people call marathon a mental sport. The race becomes a battle with the remains of your brain. The last eight miles on an island — pretty in theory, hell in reality — sap your sanity with hot, stinging sand.

Foot pain will throb, insides will form a mutiny from excessive salt loss, skin will be sticky with sweat and spilled sports drink. Everything hurts, everything hurts.

• Think: do not stop now. There’s the finish line, raise your arms over your head. There is your sweet sister, crying, holding out her arms and saying, “I’m so proud of you.”

No bones broken, no tendons torn, face red as a rotisserie chicken, but spirit intact.

Think, I can run 26.2 miles, without stopping, in 4 hours, 5 minutes. And that’s a good enough reason to run.

From Citizen-times

From the Track to the Road

June 24, 2010

The story of Shalane Flanagan switching from racing around the tracks to running full marathons on the road.

Shalane Flanagan, who has steadily progressed toward track stardom and currently holds American records for women in the 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 meters, is about to race a few more times and then disappear.

From racing, not from running.

She’ll actually be running more than ever — so much, in fact, it scares her a little.

After racing the 1,500 and 5,000 this week at the U.S. track and field championships and competing next weekend at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., Flanagan will start what she calls the “lengthy apprenticeship” of marathon training.

As much as the wispy (5-5, 113 pounds) strider from Marblehead, Mass., cherishes her track records — and her Olympic bronze medal in the 10,000 two summers ago — she has said that she considers the ultimate test of a distance runner to be the 26.2-miler.

Flanagan, 28, announced last week that she would make her marathon debut at the Nov. 7 New York City Marathon.

So, after next week, the marathon quest she set for herself as a little girl begins in earnest. “We’re going to pony up to some real serious training,” she says of the goals being laid out by her coach, Jerry Schumacher.

Flanagan ran 100-plus miles a week heading into her half-marathon debut in Houston in January. That resulted in a course record of 1 hour, 9 minutes, 45 seconds.

“Now we’re going to take a bigger step,” Flanagan says. “We’re going to go up to 120-mile weeks … if I can take it.”

The New Englander was tempted to make her marathon debut in Boston, but she was swayed to choose New York because of timing and also because of a strong relationship with the New York Road Runners, the organizers of the race.

By running a fall marathon this year, Flanagan can still compete on the track circuit next spring and summer and try to qualify for the 2011 world championships in South Korea in the 10,000. Then she can get back into marathon training for the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Houston in January 2012.

Her Olympic goals for London 2012 could include either of those events, depending on how she performs between now and then.

“On the world level, the 10K could still be my best event,” she says. “I want to create as many opportunities for myself as I can.”

Eventually, though, she will be a full-time marathoner.

“I’ve always just felt naturally gifted and drawn to the longer distances,” she says.

Distance runners have a successful track record making their marathon debuts in New York. The three fastest marathon debuts by U.S. women have taken place on the streets of New York: Kara Goucher in 2008, Deena Kastor (2001) and Marla Runyan (2002).

New York Road Runners race director and CEO Mary Wittenberg thinks Flanagan has a chance to break Goucher’s U.S. women’s debut record (2:25:53).

“I firmly believe Shalane will hold every distance running record there is for an American woman before she is finished,” she says.

As Flanagan begins her transition into a marathoner, she won’t have any shortage of advisers. Her mother, Cheryl Treworgy, is a former marathon world recordholder (2:49:40, in 1971), and her father, Steve Flanagan, competed in cross country and marathons with a personal record of 2:18. “I chose my parents well,” she says. “They are a wealth of knowledge about marathoning. They have so much passion for the event.”

From USAToday

Marathon Training Nutrition

June 14, 2010

When you are running for a marathon you will find some essential nutrition requirements you should be conscious of.

Firstly, we all know that we are what we consume. This is all of the more important when running for a marathon because your body will probably be demanding the right minerals and nutrients due to the physical exertion it is going through. This is the reason that you must have a well balanced diet plan throughout your marathon preparation and avoid eating junk food simply because it will not supply your system with the nutritional needs it demands.

The power you have to carry out your training sessions and during the race comes primarily from the glycogen stores in your muscle groups and blood system. The more glycogen you have stored, the better you will perform. Glycogen could be thought of as being comparable to your endurance levels.

You will find two methods to effect the quantity of glycogen saved in your body. The very first is to train more. The more you exert your body through, the much more efficiently glycogen is stored in your body. Consequently to increase the quantity of stored glycogen is to train more miles.

The second way to influence the amount of glycogen saved in your body with a marathon training nutrition plan is to increase the quantity of carbohydrates inside your body. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose. Glucose is a kind of sugar. Glucose is then broken down additionally into glycogen. It’s this glycogen that is then saved inside your muscle groups and blood vessels and is slowly released whenever your body demands more power.

This is not to say that your whole diet should consist of carbohydrates. This would only make you sick. Your system requires a balanced diet to perform at it’s greatest. For this reason, you can try having a diet plan throughout your running preparation that consists of say 25% proteins, 25% fats and say 50% carbs. Obviously, this will depend on your nutritional needs and also you should consult a medical practitioner prior to substantially changing your diet.

When looking at incorporating carbs into your diet plan, you should know that you will find two different types of carbohydrates. The very first carbohydrates are simple carbs. Simple carbohydrates are introduced rapidly out of your muscle groups and blood vessels when your system demands energy. These aren’t of much value when running for and competing for your marathon due to their rapid release time. Simple carbs are found in meals such as sugar, honey, jam, sweets and fruit. They act to give your body a temporary power increase.

The second type of carbohydrates are complex carbs. Complex carbohydrates are saved in your muscles and blood stream and are released slowly over a period of time during physical exertion. It’s this long-term release of power which can be ideal for running a marathon. Complex carbohydrates are found in meals like pasta, rice, beans, vegetables, bread, legumes and potatoes. The more of these complex carbohydrates you stuff into the body, the more long-term power will most likely be available to you during your running sessions and during your race.

Within the week prior to your marathon there is an additional procedure known as carbohydrate loading. Carbohydrate loading is increasing the percentage of complex carbohydrates inside your diet plan for a period of time. This in turn aims to stuff more glycogen into the body that can then be released as power when your system requires it during the race. Usually, your diet should consist of approximately 70% of these complex carbohydrates through the last 3-4 days prior to your marathon to become effective.

As you can see, there is a lot of value that can be obtained from following a marathon training nutrition diet plan and nourishment strategy. Not just can you improve your overall performance on race day by carbohydrate loading prior to your race but you can also improve your endurance levels within the lead up for your marathon by creating a nutrition plan that contains a big percentage of these complex carbohydrates.

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Marathon training guide

April 7, 2010

for new and experienced runners alike, there is never too much information. endurance runners and running science are always evolving and and finding new techniques to improve their marathon training and maybe some aspects such as running form or nutrition. a solid marathon training guide will help runners to perform better and set new PBs. Marathon training guides help provide support in both good times and bad times when runners experience them.  a new training suggestion for when runners feel good and recovery and mental support when runners feel down.

sticking with a certain program and training style would be important to keep improving your running time and overall health.

marathon runners diet

March 19, 2010

as a marathon runner making so many miles a week we need to think of a solid base in the form of nutrition to keep you going every week. a good  marathon runners diet is helping you cover all those many miles every day.

for more information on marathon running and training programs and many more subjects concerned with marathon training have a look at marathon training diet guide.

Motivation for marathon running

February 11, 2010

With summer just around the corner the many people want to get involved in a marathon. This is something more and more of us tend to consider now a days. Not only is it beneficial to your health and a great way to get in shape but it is also a great opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause. There are various fund-raising possibilities and support groups if you need some extra stimulus.

For those of us who don’t even own a pair of training shoes, running a long distance is a terrifying prospect, but thankfully hypnotherapy is there to help give you that little push.

Some of you might already know how successful hypnosis is for motivation and the same applies for running or jogging. Maybe you are running or jogging on a regular basis but have recently found it difficult to make time, or maybe you haven’t jogged before and are finding it difficult to find the motivation. Whatever the circumstances, there’s a way.

Motivation is what is needed to help you stick to schedules and routines but of course this is easier said than done. The first thing to do is to remember that motivation begins in the mind, so this is a sensible area to work on before you start training.

Hypnotherapy can access your unconscious mind and can then help to programme it with the motivation it needs. Once you feel as though you have gained as much as you can from one to one hypnotherapy sessions you can continue on your own with self hypnosis at home.

The motivation you have gained could help you to look forward to your daily jog or training session, feel good each time you have exercised, run a greater distance, steadily increase your endurance and strength and look and feel better as time goes by.

See you at the finish line!

PS) For additional information on how to train and prepare for running a full marathon, I suggest you visit this marathon training guide.

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February 10, 2010

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