MARATHON TIPS

Running a marathon is a great personal challenge that requires dedication and perseverance. I have run three marathons with steady improvement with each attempt. I am occasionally asked for marathon training and running tips. These are my top tips:

1. Have a good reason to run a marathon. It takes about 16-20 weeks of training to prepare for a marathon. If you are not already a regular runner it may take even longer. The only way to stick with the regimen is to have a good reason.

2. Remember a marathon has two halves. The first 20 miles and the last 6.2 miles. Almost anyone can run the first half. Running the second half is 99% mental. Be prepared for the anguish that comes when you hit the wall.

3. Practice consuming electrolyte drinks and snacks during your training runs. On race day actually walk through the fluid stations so you can drink the fluids instead of throwing them on your face and chest. Study yourself and learn what kind of nutrition gives you the best results.

4. Plan your fluid stops. Just because there is a water stations every 1.5 miles does not mean you should drink every 1.5 miles. Measure your sweat-rate during one of your long-runs of over one hour. You can do this easily by weighing yourself naked before and after without consuming any liquids or food.

5. Like almost everyone else I just want to add, don’t start too fast. Know your goal time and pace and stick to that pace. I tend to feel really good between miles 8 and 18 so that for me is the toughest time to control my pace.

6. For men, know and prevent the danger of nipple chaffing. I have tried single band-aids in every direction. Most recently I have switched to a two-layer band-aid cross placement. It seems to work.

7. Tell someone your route, approximate return time, and wear or bring identification. I run a lot of lonely miles, many times after dark, on the streets and rural roads of rural Ibaraki prefecture Japan. I always wear my RoadID to help emergency responders identify me and contact my family if I should become ill or injured while training.

8. Make eye contact with spectators, especially the ones with cow bells. If you need an extra boost just say, “I need more cowbell.” That almost always gets me the extra cheers I need.

Finally, share your training successes and challenges with family and friends. Ask them for their support and encouragement. You never know you might inspire one of them to get off the couch and join you.

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