THE ABC’S OF SUCCESSFUL MARATHON TRAINING
THE MARATHON COALITION
Always listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly. It is important to monitor your resting heart rate each morning by placing your index and middle fingers on one of your carotid arteries. Count your heart rate for six seconds and add a zero. After 5-7 days of normal training conditions you will be able to establish an average resting heart rate that will serve as a baseline indicator throughout your training.
If you have an elevated heart rate your body is providing signs that it’s taxed and you should consider the following options:
- Reduce the intensity and the distance of your run
- Cross-train (e.g., water running, spinning/cycling, elliptical trainer, etc.)
- Take the day off completely
Provided that you receive sufficient rest, eat well, stay hydrated and minimize stress, your resting heart rate should return to normal the following morning.
Being connected to something more than just running provides a far greater degree of meaning to this journey.
Cambered roads can wreak havoc on your hips by placing considerable stress one side of your body. When possible and safe, switch to the opposite side of the road to balance the stress on your hips and lower extremities.
Don’t be tempted to increase your training too dramatically. A good rule of thumb is to not increase your long run by more than 2 miles of any run during the last 7-10 days. Another useful guideline is to not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10%.
Efficient running helps to reduce stress and will provide significant dividends in the marathon.
Fundraising can be as daunting as the actual marathon training. It is equally important to have a similar plan and remain committed to it.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. You will hear me repeat this endlessly throughout our training because it’s so relevant to preparing for the marathon, achieving your fundraising goal, and living a fulfilling live. I have discovered it is also the cornerstone for achieving far more than I ever imagined.
Having the goal of finishing the marathon in ‘relative comfort’ will serve you well throughout training as well as on marathon day.
Ice baths should become an integral part of your weekly post long run routine.
Joining a team provides a far more meaningful marathon training experience. You have an opportunity to meet new friends, learn from everyone’s experience, and develop an incredible sense of belonging to a unique group. Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has!”
Keep your entire family as well as all of your friends and colleagues informed of your goal of completing the 2011 Boston Marathon. You will rely on them heavily to achieve your fundraising goals, to stay motivated throughout your training and to pick you up when you need it most.
Lowering your resting heart rate and increasing your lean muscle mass will be only two of the many benefits of becoming a runner. You also develop an empowering sense that you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible!
Marathoner! Once you complete the trek from Hopkinton to Boston, that will be a well-deserved and extremely unique title forever attached to your name and your life!
Nutrition plays such an important role in preparation for, and recovery from your runs. It will impact your performance in training and in the marathon as much as your actual running.
Overtraining is one of the most common mistakes first-time marathoners make. Don’t be tempted to run more than the mileage that is prescribed in your training schedule.
People are always going to question ‘why’ you are training for the Boston Marathon. Don’t pay these naysayers any regard. They tend to be part of an extremely large group that tends to sit on the sidelines as casual observers of those committed to making a difference in the world.
Quiet is the word that best describes what you should be emulating with your running form. There is definitely a strong correlation between running quietly and efficiency.
Rest ranks near the top of important components of a successful marathon training program. A much-needed and well-deserved rest day is as important to your training as a great training run.
Shoes should be properly fitted and closely monitored during training. Most runners wear shoes that are too small. You should have at least a thumb’s width between the end of your longest toe and the shoe. Your feet are also going to swell while running, particularly on your long runs.
Training schedules are not etched in stone. Don’t make the mistake of following the schedule precisely every day. You are going to be forced to miss days for various reasons. Don’t try to make that missed mileage up in one fell swoop. Your primary goal should be to achieve the total weekly mileage. If in doubt, refer to the aforementioned training guidelines to avoid injury and burnout
Under no circumstances should you attempt to run through pain. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) should always be your normal protocol at the first sign of any pain.
Visualization should be of paramount importance in your training. The mind is extremely powerful and if you allow negative thoughts to dominate your mindset you will fall well short of your potential and expectations.
Weather is an additional challenge you have to prepare for when training through the New England winter. Avoid cotton altogether! Layering with anti-microbial wicking material is your best choice. You should also dress as though it’s 30 degrees warmer because your core temperature will rise quickly and you’ll be shedding layers otherwise.
Xeric conditions still exist during the winter. Hydration during the coldest months of the winter is as important as during the heat of the summer.
Your ability to adapt to change (i.e., weather, distance, fundraising, etc.) will define the degree of success you achieve during this journey. Be flexible, have fun, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Zone out all negative thoughts and stay focused on all the benefits of pursuing your goal of running the Boston Marathon. I am confident this experience will be one of the most memorable and inspiring of your life!