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The purpose of this page is to allow anyone with questions to post them. I will answer them promptly. My hope is that others will learn from your questions, so please don’t hesitate to ask.
I was intrigued and inspired by all of the blogs and I had a question for both you and Lori. What time do you wake up for your morning runs, about what time do you actually hit the road, and on average how many miles are you running, and when do you return from the run? Do you eat or drink anything before heading out?
I’m going to answer this one because Rick generally isn’t a weekday morning runner (outdoors)- he usually works out on the treadmill, stationary bike or does another form of indoor workout. As for me, I set my alarm for 5:20. I get up when it goes off, drink a tall glass of water, get ready, sometimes check my email/weather/news headlines (I like to check my email because it sometimes gives me food for thought for my runs), warm up a little (pushups) and head out by 6:00. I run 4-6 miles depending on how much time I have and I am usually home by 7:15 (I also run by our barn and feed the horses on my way). I don’t eat before my runs, but I do eat upon my return. I could be ready much quicker if I didn’t get on the computer!:-) Also, if I have to cut my run short, I might even get on the treadmill for another 2 miles when I get home.
Thank you. Kudos for braving the cold each morning! Wow- so you run every morning? I would be drinking black coffee first!:) I love to run in the morning too, but sometimes I go to the gym instead because- I fear falling on ice etc during the deep winter months. I am encouraged to hear that Rick does the same by working out indoors.
It is so great to hear from you.
Rick, you’re an inspiration to so many runners…that said…how do you get so many people so motivated? How do you get them engaged and keep them interested?
Thank you for your kind comments and your interesting questions! There are several things that allow me to motivate runners and to sustain it over the course of our training.
My running history and experience provide a credible platform for everything that I do. My runners see that I am willing to do everything that I’m asking them to do so I’m not driving around drinking coffee telling them their form looks great; I cover the same distance, often more, during training each week.
I also try to get to know each of my runners as much as they allow. I am then able to identify what’s important to them. Connecting them to a purpose like finishing the Boston Marathon is a great place to start but taking it to another level (e.g., raising money to make a significant difference in the lives of others) is the capstone to a perfect motivation model.
I always try to be a great resource and provide advice that’s relevant to each stage of their training. I also always speak from my heart and have fun each week at training. The one significant variable that can’t be learned from a book is passion…I love being a coach and inspiring others to do far more than they ever imagined!
That’s 90% of my keys to successfully motivating others…the other 10% I have to keep to myself !
I just left this question on Facebook for Lori before I noticed the link to your page- oops! I’m curious to know what would be involved in training for a marathon. I have always wanted to run Boston, and recently found a friend who is also interested in training and running a marathon someday. We’ve been toying with the idea a lot lately, but I was wonderring waht kind of time commitment we would have to give to our training, and how long it would take to be ready for a half marathon and then eventually a full marathon (to qualify for Boston.) She’s in better shape than I am, but neither of us are in a real ‘running’ shape (I’ve been out of this game fo years) so we’re pretty much considerring starting from scratch. We aren’t toally sold on the idea, but I thought it couldnt hurt to explore it a little further. Thanks!
I’m replying for Rick because he’s traveling to Phoenix. First of all, I think it’s awesome that you and your friend are interested in running a half marathon and maybe even a marathon. As you said, starting from scratch is a good idea because it will give you a base of miles to build on, and therefore you’ll be less likely to get injured. After dealing with your hip injury, you want to avoid that at all costs.
Training for a half marathon really is manageable from a time/schedule perspective. You’re looking at about 12-14 weeks of training with your weekly mileage building from 10 miles (3mi, 3x/wk) to 30-35 miles(a 12miler long run, an 8miler, and 3, 3-4milers for your last week before tapering). You could also get away with less mileage if you cross train on the bike or elliptical trainer.
For the marathon, you would need at least 5 months. You’d start the same way, but continue to build your long runs and weekly mileage until you reach 20 miles for your long run. Then you’d taper for 3 weeks, cutting your weekly mileage by 20%, 40%, then 60% the week before the marathon.
So, as a basic explanation, it would take about 31/2 months to train for a half marathon, running 4-5 days/week, with one of your runs being a long one (and that distance increases 1-2 miles per week). You’d need at least 5 months to train for a marathon by the same principle as the half, just taking more time to build your mileage.
Consistency and moderation are the key components in training for either distance, because they will help you prevent getting injured. Additionally, having the desire to do it is as important as having the physical ability since endurance running requires mental strength.
So, if you have a positive attitude and you’re committed to getting to the starting line, you WILL- and I KNOW you will.:-)
Now, not to get too far ahead, but there are a couple of half marathons you might consider: Boston’s Run to Remember in May http://www.bostonsruntoremember.com/boston/index.html, and the Worcester Half Marathon in June http://www.usrahm.com/Events/worcester.htm. There are many more as well. Be sure to let us know what your plans are!
Hi, Rick. Do you have or can you point me to a training plan for the half? I recall you gave us one for the Marathon. I’ve run 2.5M six day a week for 2 weeks and 3.5 six days a week the past 2 weeks. Trying to prepare to run the Hyannis half with Laura Duplesia Feb 26th. And I want to keep up with her! Thanks, David
Thanks Lori!! I DEFINITELY am not in the mood to deal with an injury, so if starting from scratch is the best way to go then so be it! Fabiana (the aforementionned friend) and I were thinking that we would begin training some time after I graduate (because it leaves a more flexible schedule) in May. Therefore, it looks like the Boston and Worcester half marathons are out for now, but perhaps we could start with a different one and eventually run one of those two. Ultimately, I would love to run Boston qualified, but I have to survive thirteen miles first.
It’s great to know that cross training is useful! I’m not the biggest fan of stationary bikes but I enjoy the eliptical. I never would have thought of that!
I absolutely will let you know what our plans are- if you think I’d train with anyone other than you and/or Rick or someone you reccomend, you’re crazy!
Your plan sounds good Carly, and smart (I’m not surprised). Since you are thinking of summer/fall training, you might consider the ING Hartford Half Marathon http://www.hartfordmarathon.com/marathonnew.htm in October. It’s a great race. There are many others also. As for the stationary bike… since the weather will be conducive to road biking, you might try adding that to your training if it works better for you.
On another note, I can’t believe you are graduating in May- good for you!:-)
Perhaps then it is time to get a road bike- or atleast a tune-up for the mountain bike that’s collecting dust in Mom’s garage! Thanks for all your help- we’ll be in touch
So my question is about the ice/cold bath after a long run . I actually feel pain . But I am amazed at how this helps with the leg fatigue and muscle tightness after a long run/snow shoeing.
Last week and this week I also opted to sit in the snow allowing the cold to sink in. It was a more gradual approach to cold. so as i sat there I wondered… am I doing this right?
What is the timing??
Thanks to both of you for this blog. I check it often and it’s really helpful even if one is training for half the distance
The same principles that we describe here would apply to someone training for a half-marathon as well. Too many of our runners have felt they needed to apologize for ‘only’ running the half.
Lori and I have never differentiated between the two distances…they are both significant !
Sitting in the snow is a great idea…one that I had not thought of doing. Once you’ve completed your post-run stretching routine than you should begin your ice bath/snow routine as soon as possible. Ten minutes in an ice bath is sufficient. You can go longer if you opt for the snow routine.
Thank you for your great questions. Good luck with your training!
Thank you ! Of course I was hoping if I was training for l/2 the mileage I could do have the time in the ice LOL
It does work…that’s for sure.
Coach Rick – I’m currently training with you and the coalition for the Boston Marathon. I was interested in running the Martha’s Vineyard 20 miler on 2/19, however, it’s 3 miles longer than our scheduled training run. Would I be pushing it if I ran the 20 miler as opposed to the 17? This is my first marathon so want to avoid any set backs, especially due to overtraining. Thanks for your advice!
My coaching philosophy has been steeped in encouragement and empowerment. This approach has served me and all the runners I’ve coached extremely well through the years. I’ve always felt if someone wants to do something and is willing to invest the necessary effort, then I should support them.
There have been rare instances where I have had to advise a runner not to do something. There are several things that concern me about you running Martha’s Vineyard on February 9th. Mainly, it’s 3 miles beyond our scheduled mileage. My threshold has always been not to exceed the longest run you’ve had in the last 7-10 days by more than 2 miles. Additionally, you would likely run faster than you would at training so this combination would be extremely risky.
Since Boston is going to be your first marathon I would recommend that you not run Martha’s Vineyar. While I suspect this is NOT the recommendation you were hoping to hear, my primary responsibility is to get you to the starting line on April 18th healthy and confident. You can ill-afford an injury or setback at this stage of our training.
I know that you’ll appreciate my advice more on April 18th than you will today!
Coach Rick – I am NOT disappointed to get a no go on a 20 miler – besides, the Vineyard is probably nicer in the summer Thanks so much for your input – I value your expertise and training advice – there is a reason I am able to run 16 miles this Saturday and I attribute that to great training advice and motivation. Looking forward to this weekend’s long run and getting to April 18th!
oh my… I scrolled up and read Katy’s post. thanks for the answer before the question
Thanks for being so receptive to my advice! It will be great to see you at training this Saturday!
I don’t know if this is something training marathoners would want to know but is it recommended to do a race within a couple of weeks of the marathon or l/2 ? As race date approaches and it’s been a long winter I wonder if I’m helping or hurting training by entering a race. If I should enter one-is there a rule re: the distance?
to make it more clear-if one is running a l/2 marathon is it helpful or harmful to do a 10mile race the week before? Likely it would be a considered a good training run rather than a true “race”.
for a marathoner would it be reasonable to do a l/2 1-2 weeks prior to a race or is particuarly important to adhere to the schedule to start winding down?
The one thing about training is tempering patience with motivation without frustration. Hmmmm I hope I live long enough to get it right .
Hi Love the Snow,
This is actually a great question, and the answer is different than in Katy’s case. Since Katy would be doing a 20 mile ‘race’ instead of a 17 mile training run, she would be breaking the ‘don’t increase your longest run by more than 2 miles’ rule, AND she’d be racing (whether or not the intention is to race, or go at training pace, it inevitably would be faster than a normal training run). Given that, the safe and wise choice is to forgo this race (due to the distance), not all races. However, one must keep in mind that all races do have an inherent risk of injury, but so do training runs. Therefore, one should always weigh the risk against the reward.
In your case, you are looking to do a 10 mile race a week before your half. By this point you’ve likely already run 10 miles in your training (and at 2 weeks out, you should have at least a 12 miler under your belt) so this race would fit in your taper (although it is just a bit long, it shouldn’t be a problem). The general rule for tapering is to decrease the mileage, but maintain the intensity. You can also adjust your total weekly mileage to account for the extra 2 miles in the race to ensure that you are rested enough for your half. So, I would say it’s okay to do the 10 mile race a week before your half, based on the facts that:
1. You’re considering it a ‘good training run’.
2. You’ve run 12 miles prior.
3. You’ll adjust your weekly total mileage to ensure adequate rest for the half.
With all of that said, you still need to listen to your body… if you feel tired or run down, don’t push it. Racing when you need the rest can compromise your health and risk injury, leading to missed races and a long time off. Train smart and race smart and good luck!
P.S. Which 10 mile race are you looking at? I might be tempted too…:-)
First of all thank you so much passing along all of your running wisdom and your motivation! It has helped me more than I could have hoped for during my training! I had a really good 17 mile training run last week, but on my run on monday the side of my foot was killing me. I tried to keep it up and iced during the week. I did one other 4 mile run midweek and had no pain. The 18 miler this weekend was good until the last 2 miles…. my foot, knee, and hip on the same side was suffering. Now it is still hurting. I have plantar fasciitis in that foot already… mostly in the arch. I had switched to new shoes, but they are same model I’ve been using for years. How much should I rest mid week? I don’t want to get behind, but I also want to make it to the finish line in April. I’ll see my chiropractor on friday for treatments on my foot and back… is there anything else I can do?
Thank you for everything!
See you saturday!
Thank you for updating me on your training. Marathon Sports sells a massage ball for the foot for $7.00 that would be helpful. I would use it throughout the day and ice at the end of the day. Using the foam roller and stick will aslo be beneficial. I would rely heavily on cross-training (i.e., water running ,spinning, yoga and the elliptical trainer) most of this week provided you’re still experiencing pain.
Please keep me posted on your improvement.
I am training for Boston for a charity, although not with your group (this is my first marathon although have run several halves and many races). My good friend JoAnna French (who trained with you a few years back) turned me on to your blog–love it! I’m wondering if you have some thoughts for me: I’ve been following a schedule that is working well and most recently ran 18 miles last weekend. I run with a couple of different groups and individuals depending on my schedule. I’ve found the Melrose running club’s schedule works really well for me, however their Sunday runs schedule is off-synch with mine. I’d like to pick up with them for the rest of the long runs, however this means running 20 this weekend where my current schedule would have me dropping down to 13. I feel like I could handle switching it up but wondering if there’s some danger in doing this for a newbie. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Thank you for your question and also for following my blog. I would recommend taking a step back in your training this weekend to 13 miles. Our TEAM is running 13 miles after running 18 this past Saturday.
We’ve been gradually increasing our mileage for several months so a step-back week will provide a much-needed and well-deserved physical and mental break. I also don’t recommend running beyond 20 miles in training as the risk of injury is far too great.
You are welcome to join the Marathon Coalition TEAM for our training this Saturday. You can e-mail me directly (email@example.com) if you need more details.
On one of your recent posts (and during the Sat. morning talks) you mentioned that you change into your race shoes once you reach the pavement at the starting line. What do you do with the shoes you were wearing? Abandon them? What about wearing plastic bags around the shoes you are wearing and just removing the plastic bags at the starting line.
Can’t wait to get to that starting line, no matter what shoes I’m wearing
Hey Mark! Just saw this after posting a message for Rick and thought I’d offer my two cents. When you pick up your stuff at the expo, you’ll get a bag. You’ll take this with you to Hopkinton so you can check your gear. Buses transport the runners’ gear from the start to the finish in Boston. So you’ll want to put your extra sneakers in your gear bag.
I have always preferred to change into my racing shoes just prior to entering the corral rather than wear them for hours prior to the start…it’s just a personal preference. But wearing plastic bags over your shoes is another option.
Yes, I choose a pair of running shoes that have the most miles and that’s the pair that I wear. I do make sure they’re clean, though
I know you’re going to have a great race on Monday. You’ve really trained hard and done so well throughout training.
My strategy for Monday is taking shape and I have a quick question for you. I’m planning to run negative splits through mile 6. Initially, I was planning to run 25 seconds slower than race pace, however, this obviously leaves me with a lot of time to make up over the last 20 miles. I’ve read some articles that suggest 15 seconds is sufficient for negative splits. What are your thoughts?
Thanks in advance!
My recent blog post on running the marathon in segments is what I recommend. For instance, I would run conservatively through mile 6 and then open it up until you get to mile 16. Back off the pace to mile 21 (Heartbreak Hill) and then place all your cards on the table.
I wouldn’t micro-manange the pace too much because you’ll likely become erractic and waste energy. You’re only going to be able to run as well as your body is capable of on Monday so you simply need to closely monitor how you’re feeling at the various stages and try to run even splits to at least 20. You can make up a lot of time the last 10K.
That’s was precisely my approach when I ran 2:38 in Boston!
Thanks, Rick! I definitely appreciated your post about breaking the race into segments. That has worked well for me in the past, including last year’s boston. And I completely agree with the specific segments you call out. Your point about paying attention to how I feel on race day is well taken. Thanks for the reminder!
Hi Coach! I’m getting excited! I’m trying to make some clothing decisions. during our 21 mile run my legs and feet started cramping between 16 and 17 miles. I was wearing capri-length pants. Typically through the cold weather I had been wearing full length compression-esque plants. Do you think there’s anything to wearing the longer tighter pants when it comes to comfort, excluding the warmth factor? Thank you!
I absolutely think there’s merit to running with full-length tights. Capri type tights look great but the full-length tights provide warmth and support to your calves. The cramping you experienced was likely do to your calves not being warm with translated to your feet.
You’ve training extremely hard for the marathon. I’m confident you’re going to have a great day!
Hello. I ran the Boston Marathon on 4/18/11. Also my goal finish time was 3:30:00, I ran a very disappointing race. My qualifying time was 3:36:00 at one race, and 3:43:00 at another. I am 41 years old and Boston was my 9th marathon. Although the challenge was not going out too fast, fatigue or injury, I was plagued by stomach issues somewhere around mile 16 or after. At that point, I stopped several times at the Port-o-Johns and whenever I resumed running, the stomach issues would continue. It was a nightmare. I was beyond humiliated run/walking past continuous crowds of cheering people. I thought the race would never end. I wanted to run more than anything. I have done all of my training right, got enough sleep and followed a balanced diet. (The cause of the stomach issues may have been taking a handful of vitamins before the race without thinking it through.) Now it is one day after the race, and I have struggling with this disappointment. I had planned on that day since I BQed in May of 2010. I am not sure how to get past this. I did not enjoy the race and performed way below par. When I look at the photos from the weekend, I have a knot in my stomach. While I appreciate the fact that I got through it and finished and luckily without injury. As running is how I identify myself (along with being a wife, mom and teacher), I feel like I have lost my identity. I wonder if you can help me sort through this and accept this? Many thanks, Tracey Bib #14462
Thank you for your message. First of all, congratulations on your Boston qualifier, 3:36:00 is an impressive time; one that you should make your extremely proud. I looked at your Boston splits and you rain extremely impressive and consistent times every 5K. It looks like you ran into trouble about 18 miles.
If you took vitamins without food, it may have contributed to your problems. Another possibility may have been that you lost significant sodium from the wind and the heat and didn’t sufficiently replace it. I’ve developed the habit of taking 3 Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes every 5 miles during my long runs and marathons. And you may simply have had an off day. Unfortunately it just happened at the Boston Marathon.
I realize you’re disappointed but you should focus on learning from this and turning it into a positive. It’s done and over and there’s nothing you can change except how you learn and benefit. It’s clear that your running means a great deal to you. Focus on properly recovering and appreciating that you’re a talented runner with plenty of marathons in your future. There are so many runners that would love to have just one opportunity to run times that you have…don’t be too hard on yourself.
We tend to learn and benefit more from our disappointments, setbacks and failures than any of our successes. If handled with a positive attitude, you’ll come away from this disappointment a wiser and more appreciative runner.
Congratulations on your Boston finish…you weathered a major storm…one that many runners could not have conquered. I’m confident you’ll ultimately benefit from this…it may just take some time.
I noticed you are the coach for the Mass Mentoring Boston Marathon team. Do you know when the 2012 team will come together and start training together etc? I am very interested.
You will be able to apple for the Marathon Coalition TEAM in September. My e-mail address is rickmbmw@aol if you want to send me your e-mail address and I’ll connect you to my contact at Mass Mentoring Partnership.
Thank you for your interest!
When running how do you keep your legs from fatigue. for example I run a 5 mile run saturday and no problems. I rest on sunday and do a light run monday about 2-3 miles but my legs are very heavy and I tired out quickly. Not sure if it is diet, or training but it is frustrating I can run far one day and not even half that at a slower speed days later.
Thank you for your question, John. There are several factors that can cause heavy legs or a feeling of fatigue. Without knowing much about your or your training, I suspect it could be related to diet, particularly what you’re eating 30-60 minutes upon completing your runs. If this is a consistent occurance it’s a little more concerning than if it only occurs occassionally. There are other factors such as hydration, rest, intensity of your workouts and the type of course you are running on. I can provide more specific insight into your question if you can e-mail me @ firstname.lastname@example.org and provide more insight into your running background (i.e., how many years have you been running, what is your current weekly mileage and whether there have been any significant changes recently with your training)?
I am a 17 year old girl from burlington mass. I have run 4 half marathons and am running the one coming up on sunday. I am so very excited because this course was the first one i had ever run. I am interested in running the full marathon but i am 16 days under the cut for being 18. Your page has inspired me, thanks to my moms friend who sent me this link. Thank you so much for the ideas. I lost a friend a few weeks to suicide, he was taken at the age of 16. These running fundraisers ideas have given me a few ideas, i am so eager to use them to raise money for mark, who’s life was taken way to soon. I agree with you that running frees everything from your mind, it is a huge stress reliever. I love your page and will be reading all of your updates and fundraising ideas.
Thank you so much for following my blog. I was touched by your kind comments . I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, Mark. I’m sure you will find an inspirational way to honor his memory. You may want to wear a picture of him on the back of your shirt in your next race. Running will likely be a great outlet for you to grieve and to also focus on the positive aspects of life. I would love the opportunity to meet you and be your marathon coach some day. I will begin training my runners for the 2012 Boston Marathon on Saturday, December 3rd. I would like to invite you to come to one of our training runs. We will train every Saturday near Mile 20 of the Boston Marathon course near Newton Centre. You are also welcome to e-mail me at email@example.com anytime you like.
Coach — another great session this morning – even the thought that it was my shoes made my hip feel better! I went out and bought another pair of shoes today and then came across the inserts — I cannot remember the name/ brand you recommended to replace the insoles — Please let me know. I arrived this morning wondering how I was ever going to do this — Thanks for your energy and inspiration!
I’m so grateful you are on the Marathon Coaliton TEAM. Thank you for your kind comments. The insoles I referenced during the shoe clinic are Super Feet. I’ve used them for years and have been extremely happy with them. I have no doubt you’re going to be able to finish the 2012 Boston Marathon!
It was nice to meet you in Summit on the track this morning. Getting 10 miles in on the track is tough, you should check out watchung reservation next time you are in town.
Just to follow up if you want to shoot me some information about training or continue talking my email is firstname.lastname@example.org . I look forward to chatting.
It was an absolute pleasure running with you this morning. I’m very impressed by your 2:31 PR. I’ve sent the training program we discussed to your e-mail address. I look forward to helping you get into the low 2:20′s.
What’s the advice for resuming running after an injury? I twisted my ankle running off a curb yesterday. It’s swollen and stiff but not painful. Doing the RICE bit. No run today and will probably push Saturday’s run to Sunday. What’s the general advice for this type of injury? Obviously I don’t want to extend the injury yet don’t want to lose mileage either. Thanks from sunny Aruba.
I’m sorry to hear about your ankle injury. I suppose if you’re dealing with an injury, Aruba is the best possible location. I would continue with the RICE protocol and don’t resume running until pain and swelling are completely gone. You can cross-train by riding a spinning bike or water running during the transition. Then walk before you gradually attempt running. Don’t worry about the gap in your training with respect to lost mileage, I can provide a plan that allows you to gradually return to running without risking further injury.
Rick, on Tuesday I ran 8 miles and pulled my back muscle. I’ve had issues with my back in the past. I usually rub some muscles relaxer on my back before I run but this time I forgot. I’ve bee icing and stretching since Tuesday and its getting better each day, although slowly. My question is should I run on Saturday? How do you determine, when you have an injury, if you should run or not? With 7 weeks to go I want to make sure I gel my miles in but at the same time I don’t want to make my injury worse and not be able to run on marathon day. Your thoughts?
Thank you for the update on your back. I would recommend that you soak in a hot Epsom Salt bath and rest with a heating pad on your back.
See how you’re feeling in the morning to determine whether to modify your run relative to distance and pace. Pain is always a barometer of whether you should run…i.e., any pain that persists after the first mile is not good pain.
A well-timed and much needed rest day can be as important to your training as a great workout. Don’t stress over having to possibly forego tomorrow’s run. It’s better to err on the side of caution…I can always modify your training schedule if necessary.
Albert — Sorry that you hurt your back! I hope to see you out there if you are feeling ok.
Rick, what are your thoughts on an IT band compression wrap? Do they work? What should I be looking for if I buy one?
Here is a link that should be helpful:
I’ve not tried and IT Band wrap but many of my runners have and they all seem to think it helped them.
Thanks for a sharing such a great site! My question is; I am planning to run my first 1/2 marathon in Oct. (the ING Hartfor). Based on what I have read elsewhere I am planning to start training around the beginning of July, waht should I be doing now to help get ready for that training?
Thank you for your positive comments. I will send a 1/2 marathon training schedule later today for Hartford. Once you receive my message, it would be helpful if you could provide some background on your running and what you’re currently doing for training. That is a perfect time of year for a 1/2 marathon as you’ll have several months of great weather to establish a sound training base. I’m sure you’ll considering moving up to the marathon once you accomplish this goal!
I am running my first marathon in a month in PARIS! I am very excited however I am trying to establish a running approach for the race( maybe intervals of 3 min run/2 min walk). I am trying to find a watch to help keep me on track–do you have any you recommend? I would like one that vibrates so I don’t have to keep looking down at my wrist the whole time? If not do you have any tips on hearing your watch over the marathon hustle and bustle and iPod?
I had to take a few weeks off during the peak of my training(I am now back on track as of this week) will I be okay? Could I have lost any fitness?
Also any tips on running a marathon abroad?
Thank you Rick and your blog is awesome!
Thank you for your question and for following my blog. Paris is going to be an exciting marathon! I wouldn’t worry too much over the disruption in your training and the possibility of lost fitness. It seems your training is back on track so the most important aspect of training to focus on now is your taper.
You should be completing a 20 mile run three weeks prior to the race date. Three weeks prior to the race you reduce your mileage by 20% of your weekly mileage leading up and including the 20 miler…two weeks prior to the race is 40% and the final week is 60%. This is a very counterintuitive process for most runners (i.e., reducing your mileage so significantly when you’re tempted to put the final touches on your training by running more), particularly first-time marathoners. Your body needs and will benefit from the rest.
I recommend you adopt a strategy of a brief walking breaks of15-20 seconds through each water stop to provide your body a respite and to prevent spilling of any fluids you’re drinking. You may also want to consider 1 minute of walking for every 9 minutes of running. It’s far better to be proactive when incorporating walking into your race strategy. You’ll be thankful for the more frequent stops after you reach the 20 mile point.
You may want to research Nike watches as they have a voice that provides running feedback through your iPod. You may be able to program it to notify you of your scheduled walk breaks.
WIth respect to being in another country, I would try to get there as soon as your schedule allows so you get acclimated and can settle in. I try not to introduce any new foods or drinks and would definitely bring your pillow from home…don’t leave anything to chance.
Good luck and please let me know how you do.
I have been training for Boston for the last 12 weeks and I have been following your posts for guidance and inspiration, i am writing to you for some feedback of you would be so kind. I have run two twenty milers but over the past week I injured my IT Band…I took five days off and tried to run yesterday and I still hurt and had an awful run….I am so afraid that I won’t be able to run Boston…I am afraid I losingy cardio and conditioning everyday I miss a run, I would appreciate any feedback/advice youth have…thanks mary
I would take 4-5 days off from running and cross train in an effort to maintain your fitness. When was the last 20 miler that you did? Running in the water is the best option. You simply wear a flotation device (i.e., aqua jogger) and run in the deep end of the pool with the same form as you would outdoors. You could also using a spinning bike or the elliptical trainer.
I don’t recommend stretching the ITB but I would use the roller or the stick and ice it morning and night. Many runners will take anti-inflammatories but I suggest you take a more holistic approach by eating fresh pineapple or papaya, both of which contain natural anti-inflammatories.
You are also welcome to e-mail me @ email@example.com if you have additional questions.
Thank you so much fr getting back to me so quickly. My last 20 miler was the 11th of march. I am tempted to join you in the run on Saturday if I wld be allowed to however I am not sure that wld be the best thing for my leg. I am panicking as I lose my cardio fitness day by day. I will attempt the water running…how long do u recommend?
Don’t worry too much about losing cardio…you’ll be able to maintain your fitness through cross-training. The beauty of water running is that it parallels running outdoors with respect to time and effort without the impact.
My recommendation is to postpone this week’s long run until next week and you’ll still have a two week recovery.
There is a 10K race this Sat., 4/7 and I’ve started tapering for the Boston Marathon on the 16th, I was wondering if I should run this 10K or just go for an 8 – 10 mile easy run?
Running a 10K 9 days prior to the Boston Marathon is fine. Just be sure that you are thoroughly warmed up before you push the pace. The only risk is that of an injury.
What is your best advice for a IT band injury? I am a novice/intermediate marathon runner and while training for Boston this year developed an injury. I can barely run 2 miles without severe lateral knee pain. I have been to a PT and have been doing the stretches and strength moves on my own. Not running is making me crazy, especially in this glorious weather! What is your advice for a speedy recovery?
I’m sorry to hear about your ITB injury. It’s the most common injury I see in runners. It’s important to identify the cause. It’s mostly an overuse injury resulting from running too many hills or too fast-many runners do both simultaneously and that simply is more than the ITB can handle. Overpronation can also cause ITB syndrome.
I differ with most PT’s in their recommendation on stretching the ITB while it’s still inflamed. I recommend taking time off from running by cross-training and with low impact activities (i.e., water running, cycling and the elliptical with low tension, etc). RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) along with using the foam roller or the stick should also be part of your protocol.
I wish you well with your running!
I agree, the constant stretching seems to be making me more sore the next day.
Thanks a bunch!
i have a PR of 3:08, so looking to break 3:05 (and 3:00) as I want to make Boston.
I pulled up after 17miles in a marathon today – it was hot, humid and I was starting to feel bad, and just could face another 60+ mins in the heat. Never quit a race before, but it just wasn’t going well.
I ran a poor 1/2 (PR is 1:26) a few weeks before, really started to struggle at mile 8 and jogged home in 1:31. 3 days prior I’d done a hot 20miler at about 7:50/mile as part of marathon training. A cold immediately followed so affected a week of training.
Mileage is/was 35-50/week (hard to train much more with work commitments), but I feel I’ve been stagnant for a year or so.
My gut feeling is I need a break – no running of any sort for 1 month, eat plenty, sleep plenty and forget about racing until I feel the urge again.
Can I put recent poor performance down to overtraining/sickness/weather?
How much is the heat affecting me? I moved to the south from much colder climes, and I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten use to running in the heat and humidiy – could this be part of feeling of stagnation?
Is a total break a good idea? Can people come back stronger from a decent rest?
Is it realistic to try and knock 9 mins of a PR, and if so can it be done on 50week or do I need to think about more miles, harder speed sessions? I think I’ve got it in me, I just don’t know how to bring it out.
Also I’ve never broken 40mins for a 10k – is this something I should work hard at, or maybe just accept I haven’t got much pure speed in my legs.
Thanks so much.
Thank you for your questions. My intitial impression is that you’re focusing too much on time and not enjoying your running very much. It’s so easy to fall victim to the quantitative aspect of running and lost sight of the pure joy.
You undoubtedly have the talent and ability to qualify for Boston. I hope that you’re starting to accept that a DNF is part of chasing BIG goals and shouldn’t be devastating. I’ve dropped out of several marathons, including Boston. Yes, it’s frustrating and can certainly have a negative psychological impact, but you made the right decision under the circumstances. I recommend that you keep the proper perspective and utilize this small setback as a motivator.
I do sense that you need a break. I don’t think you need to take more than 1-2 weeks away from running. I would recommend trail runs and leaving your watch at home. Focusing on enjoying running, nature, maintaining proper form, particularly later in your runs when you’re tired.
Racing at shorter distances (i.e., 5K, 5 miles, 10K) will benefit your marathon time. Teaching your body to run fast when you’re tired is another key element to reducing your marathon PR.
I’m basing these recommendations solely on the information you’ve provided. I don’t know a lot about your running history or how your diet or lifestyle may also affect your training.
I hope this helps.
I have been training for my first marathon for the last few months and things had been going very well. When I was on one of the long runs (20 miles) I started feeling pain in the top of my thigh into my groin area. It turns out I pulled my groin which has kept me out for the last 6 weeks. I am now to a point where I feel confident about the injury but I am very worried about how much time I have taken off. The marathon is in 13 days and I am uncertain if it is still a possibility for me. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your question. With the marathon only 13 days away, I recommend you cross train until race day. Water running and spinning are very good choices. Please let me know which marathon you’re running and what type of physical therapy you’ve pursued and I’ll be better able to provide additional insight. I suspect you may be running Chicago. If so, that’s great because there aren’t any hills that will test your groin. Certainly the 26.2 mile distance will be a significant test but it won’t be exacerbate the challenge.
Hello my name is Ariana Gillen I am 18 years old, I wanted to run my fiorst full marathon this year and was wondering how to get started in a training group, I have run 6 Half marathons and want to complete the 2013 Boston Marathon, My dream. Would love any feed back you have on how to start your group. Thank you !
Thank you for your message. You certainly seem to be off to a very ambitious start with your running at a young age…I like that. Please let me know where you live so I can make several recommendations. If you prefer, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi there! Are there official pace groups at the Boston Marathon (you know, the outstanding runners who run the distance of the marathon while holding a 3:30 card the ENTIRE time)? If there are no official pacers, are there any “unofficial” pacers? If so, how do we get in contact with them??
Boston is so different than most marathons. There are no official pace groups. The majority of runners are qualified so they tend to run their own pace. The qualified runners are seeded based on their qualifying times. The intent is to have the faster runners up front so the flow of humanity out of Hopkinton is as seamless as possible..
Hi Rick. First of all thank you for your inspiration and guidance through this process. You might have answered these questions elsewhere but: Can you describe the race day portapottie and water station situation in a little more detail? Will we see the same water/nutrition stations that we saw during the 21-mile run, or is it different? How much of a disaster is it if you have to stop for a potty along the way? Is there a point in the course where the potties are less crowded? Are there woods? Thanks!
This is a series of questions I’ve never been asked. I have no idea where the porta johns are located and whether some will be less crowded than others. The water stops will be much for frequent than what you experienced during the 21 miler. There won’t be water stops every mile the first several miles but you can expect to see water stops every mile fairly early in the marathon. I went to the Boston Athletic Association’s website (www.baa.org) bit couldn’t locate specific information.
One more! What is the most sensible way to get across the start line? In a normal, small local race, I usually go to the back of the field and walk to the start. That way, the field is already dispersing, and I can start moving at my pace right at the beginning. In Boston, is it better to get with your pace group, or will that be all clogged up? Thanks!
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