26.2 Marathon Tips & Advice

By editor March 21st, 2017

We asked Pacers to share their tips or suggestion on all aspects of training for and running a marathon, here's what you said:


26.2 Marathon Tips and Advice

1. The Marathon is a race to the few, and an Endurance event to the many!


2. Start Slowly - the race is in two parts: 20 miles and the last 6 miles! It's an often quoted adage - and the finishing miles test you the most! Preserve your energy stores for later miles by pacing yourself from the beginning.                                                                                                                                                           

3. Marathon training is not just slower long mile runs, don't neglect your speed work to improve Marathon pace and increased leg speed. Mix your training distances and speeds. Consider cross training and resistance training as part of your plan. Also train for the fatigue of miles 20-26 by making the end of your long runs faster!                                                                                                

4. From the start of your training to Race day - consider using two pairs of alternating running shoes for the duration. This way the spring and cushioning of two pairs is likely to be retained. You will not be running in tired, worn shoes on race day.                                                                                 


5. Be as Calm as you can before, and in the race. Don't waste energy of what if's - your training is the delivery of all your effort on your Marathon day.


6. Listen to the advice of many people who have run Marathons and long race miles. Take the points, tips and experience they share; then make the ones you feel most relevant work for you.


7. Mimic the Course. Train specifically for the terrain or climate or time of the day you will encounter. Consider the course for its gradient, likely temperature and start time.


8. Practice taking your nutrition on the move during your training runs - gels, shot-blocks, energy bars, water and also the course sponsorship provided sports drinks to ensure you can or won't run on it!


9. Look at what you intend to wear on the day - practice in it! - trial runs with everything you plan to wear. Use vaseline, tape or plasters to avoid friction.


10. Create a plan for your training, but keep it adaptable - record your run distances and keep a log of how the run went and how you felt. This reinforces your training achievements and gives you perspective when you're tired. "Be stubborn about your Goals but flexible with your methods!"                     


11. Rest & Recover- Only with adequate rest and sleep can you're body make good the gains from your training. Piling training on training leads to fatigue and injury. Recognise the fatigue you frequently feel and switch an easy run to a swim or bike or just rest. Arrive fresh at your training sessions.                                                                                                                 

12. Increase your training volume/mileage by approx 10% each week. This gives the running body time to adapt to the runs each week and not overload you. Include some reduced mileage sessions on your long runs also!


13. Have three Marathon finishing times; a challenging time - an achievable time - a fall back time. Generally take the added pressure of time away from you - you will run more relaxed. "Go into race weekend with expectations and goals, but also with forgiveness and the ability to adapt!"                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

14. Write some key times against distances you want to achieve either on your arm or with a timing wristband. It allow you to concentrate on the run and stops you trying to make wrong calculations about time when you're tired. 


15. Look at your diet - Fuel yourself for the training you undertake in advance. Increase your Carbohydrate intake through the week - Ensure you have a varied diet to support your vitamins and mineral requirement. Your training performance is aligned in part by your diet.                                         


16. Change one thing well. Each time you do a marathon - change something for the better. Look at your previous performance, training, diet, pace, speed, fuel, running technique, recovery.  


17. Goal Marathon Pace - whatever time you intend to run - it will equate to a miles per minute. Work all your training runs and distances around that time. Either 10% of it, 10 seconds under it, or on it. After all its the time you will be running for 26.2miles.                                                           


18. Work out if you internalise yourself in the Marathon or use the location, the crowd and the atmosphere to motivate you - especially when you feel tired. Most people find motivation or energy when fatigued by distraction.


19. Whilst running drink and eat before you fatigue - Pinch the drinks cups at aid stations to a point that way you can drink from them better! Work out in advance when you are going to take on water or sports drink and nutrition - Have a plan, this will take away the poor decisions you can make when tired.                                                                                                                                                                 

20. Check in with yourself periodically! During training and in the Marathon, check how you feel and how it's going? Reinforce how well you have done. Check yourself for nutrition and water. Play games in your head with the distances to go, and equate it to previous runs, pace or distances completed.                                                                                  

21. Relax! Perhaps easier said than done. However you have trained for this event, the Marathon is about you running smoothly at a pace you can feel comfortable at and trying to enjoy the experience. Don't lose sight of how hard and well you have trained.                                                                


22. Approximately 2 weeks before the marathon Taper your training. The long weeks of long mile runs are completed. However, avoid decreasing the intensity of what you do. Just reduce the volume and mileage aim to arrive at the race fresh not fatigued.                                                                                                       


23. The morning of the race - don't skip breakfast, eat well and don't change anything in your preparations. Ensure you have drunk enough water to feel hydrated. Dress to keep warm, many Marathons have collections for disposable clothes.                                                                                                                           


24. If it works for you - don't change it! If you like ice baths to eating ice buns; keep with all the rituals that give you confidence and belief during your training and up to the Marathon day. "Leave nothing to chance!"


25. Get to know the course - Look at the course profile for gradient, look at a race distance video and familiarise yourself; even walk some of the course and visualise where you are going to be and how you'll feel.


26. Believe! Whatever happens, good or bad, indifferent or positive - you will end the day with a Marathon medal round your neck - very tired legs - but an overwhelming feeling of achievement.                                                                               Dispel any negative thoughts about your time, or performance its only you that will remember it! It's a huge endeavour to run 26.2miles, however don't underestimate how hard it is to train for and run that distance on the day.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

And finally the .2 - The advice of the 3 times Boston & New York Marathon Winning Legend: Bill Rodgers

26:2. "Your training Partners are key to your success, and friendships based on your runs together are strong"