This afternoon I was asked by a friend for any and all information I could give to a non-runner who is interested in marathon training. After thinking about it for a few hours and realizing I’m a few days away from registering for my first marathon, something that has been 2 years in the making, I realized I have consumed a ton of information, why not bring it all together.
Running Shoes & Gear
It took me pain, discomfort, and almost 500 miles before I made the decision to go to a specialty running store and get fitted. In my case that was a shop similar to Road Runner Sports – i.e. they sell running shoes for a living. Immediately some of my consistent aches, blisters, and shin splints dissipated. Wearing the right shoes made all the difference. Since then I have continued to run in the Asics GT-2xxx series shoes and will continue to wear them.
I started off running using my iPhone 4S and Nike+ but when logging long miles it became more of a burden than a help. It was great at first, but wearing that armband for multiple hours is the worst. I switched to a Garmin 410 at the start of 2013, oh happy day. Not only is it easier to utilize while running in a much smaller form factor, the battery can actually last through multiple days worth of workouts.
The goal for most, especially when doing their first marathon is to finish. That means the long run each week is the most important, can’t skip, run. Doesn’t matter the plan, that is the one run you have to accomplish. It is designed to do a few things, the first being to slowly work your body into those longer distances. Initially I would hit the wall around 12 miles or so, now my top end is around 18-20 miles. The second is to acclimate yourself to what you can and can’t eat/drink during the long runs. It is the time to test Gu, dried fruit, cliff bars, gatorade, etc. until you find the combination of what works and what doesn’t.
Finding out what being low on salt feels like at the 16 mile mark is weird the first time, and not a place you want to be a second time. You need to train yourself on when to hydrate and how much.
This is definitely something that varies based on current physical fitness and degree of how hard you are able to train. Without question I suggest any of the Hal Higdon plans.
Core and Stretching
I have to start with this video from Jason Fitzgerald at Strength Running, it is the end all be all for a standard core routine.
My second piece of the puzzle is foam rolling. It is something I absolutely could not live without.