Marathon Survival Guide?

Joes Barbell
Comments Off on Marathon Survival Guide?

In my last post I mentioned the fact that many past, and competitive, marathoners have offered up some helpful words of advice and encouragement.  The following is what I considered the best tips, what I believe will help me get through race best, and what I remember.  I have asked a lot of questions and most likely have forgotten more about marathon running that I know.  If you have something I can add to the list and can actually use one day out of race day let me know.  Thanks again to Josh, Kyla, Bob, Peedi, Michelle, Ingrid, and everyone else I have talked to about the race.  If you gave me a good tip and it didn’t make the list don’t take it personal, I probably just changed one too many diapers this week and forgot it.  If you really thought it was important re-remind me. 

·       Hydrate before the race.  Easy enough.  Specifically I should be drinking coconut water and watered down Gatorade (1/3 to a ½ Gatorade to water). 
·      Wake up early, get a little caffeine into the system to clean the pipes.  I was specially told that one of the worst things that could happen to me is that early in the race I’d find myself squatting between cars, using my hand to clean up, and then find myself running the rest of the race with a rash, not to mention weirded out by sinking to the lowest level of human existence.
·      Relax.  This is the second best tip I received.  I was told that when I feel tension in my face I’m probably tense all over, which in the end leads to a shortened and inefficient running stride.  Relaxing my face will be first step in loosening my shoulders and opening up my running stride. 
·      Take big steps.  Most likely the first thing to go will be my hip flexors.  Again, this is most likely because I’m not a strong runner and a shortened stride will be putting my hip flexors through the ringer.  With that in mind if I do use a run walk mention (most definitely) when I do walk I should take large strides with keeping my hip flexors loose in mind.  If you catch me doing the sampson stretch mid race you know why. 
·      Keep Moving.  I have been told by many people, and this was true of the hurt 100 loop as well, that one of the worse things I can do is to completely stop moving forward.  Even if I have to rest I should do so while walking. 
·      Run my own race/pace.  This comes from many runners as well as Patty, the lady at marathon pick up that gave me my packet.  As much as I’d like to complete this thing in as close to 4 hours as possible the truth is that I am not a marathon runner, have no aspirations of being one, and won’t really care about the results when all is said and done.  If I get too hung up with times and keeping pace with other people a lot of bad things could happen, like getting hurt and wearing myself down to early; I believe the term runners use is bonking out? 
·      Stay comfortable as long as possible.  This is best tip I received.  Have the right shoes (easier said than done), nibble on some easily digestible food sources when you can, and maintain a pace where you feel good and can maintain a conversation.  At some point, and everyone seems to say it’s around mile 20 this will be impossible to do.  With that in mind I need to do whatever I can to avoid it as long as possible.  Doing so will make the race enjoyable longer.
·      Lube it or lose it.  Multiple people, men and women alike have stressed the importance of proper lubrication.  I have a stick of body glide and I will put it everywhere where skin rubs other skin, including my nether regions.  Strangest thing here is that I was also told how important proper nipple condition will be and that lubing them up will be as important as any other area.  Men seem to have issues with their nipple during marathons.  Something I would have never thought about had I not consulted a few pros.  Although, as you can tell, if you google image marathon nipple rash the number of images is alarming.   
·      Have good timing.  Toward the end of the race if I feel frisky I should get some jet fuel (coke and a double caffeine gel pack) into my system.  The trick with this tip is timing.  My body will most likely respond well to caffeine and some other goodies.  However, if I use them to soon I will find myself fizzing out.  On this same note I have also been told to take Aleve the night before while I have some food in my stomach to avoid the inevitable pain that will undoubtedly rock me at some point.  I think the more of these races a person runs the better they probably are at implementing tips such as this one.  Which leaves me SOL.  Not only have I not run a marathon before, but the longest run in the last 6 months is less then 5 miles. 

That’s about all I can remember at this point.  Oh yeah, there is one tip I received from Eliza that didn’t make the cut.  She believes that timing my facial hair will make me less wind resistant and more than likely “shave” a few minutes off my time.  If you’ve seen me lately you know I haven’t used this one.  Good try hun, but you know what has to happen for the beard to go.  
If I forgot something or you can think of something else let me know.  As long as the tip keeps me gluten free, isn’t completely embarrassing, and will help me finish with a smile throw it my way.  One thing I didn’t mention is music.  I’m not planning on listening to tunes but rather Robb Wolf pod casts featuring John Welbourn.  Music isn’t something that turns me on.  Really!  Just yesterday at the box I was repping through my recovery workout and static mobility to the soothing sounds of soulful Christmas renditions.  Music won’t help me, but I do figure that learning something and hearing training tips from one of the best programmers out there will be helpful.  Not to mention be a constant reminder that finishing this marathon injury free is goal number one.  Wish me luck.