Marathon Training is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

October 7, 2010

First off, let me say to all of you Mad Men watchers, you knew that was coming, no?

Second, leave it to Favs’ guest blogger Bret to come with his training for the marathon story, putting my recent 5K run to shame. Always the overachiever! 🙂 Good luck Bret!:

The last time I completed the New York City Marathon® was in 2002, and it’s safe to say that in the past 8 years my exercise regimen consisted of running after my kids or running between the kitchen and the couch.  Well, being out of work opened up my calendar and I decided it was time to get back in shape.  Being a goal-oriented person, the only way that could happen was to train for the marathon (http://www.ingnycmarathon.org/).  Although I did a little exercise earlier in the year, my training for the November 7th event officially began on July 5.

If you think you can’t do it, you may be wrong.  Some friends and I, running for Team for Kids (http://www.nyrrf.org/get_involved/team_for_kids/), started very slowly running a few 3-mile runs in the first week, culminating in the dreaded “long run” on Sunday, which was 8 miles the first week.  The basic approach of our training, following the Hal Higdon Training Program (http://www.halhigdon.com), is to run shorter distances during the week and a long run each weekend that gets longer and longer — every once in a while you throw in an “easier” week with a shorter long run to let your body recover.  The longest training run you’ll do is 20 miles and you save the full 26.2-mile effort for the day of the main event.

I highly recommend this approach and my view is that once you get about halfway in the training and get to a 15-mile run, you can finish as long as you generally follow the schedule and don’t get injured.  The other key is to find the right stores for equipment:  I like Jack Rabbit Sports (http://jackrabbitsports.com/) and Super Runner’s Shop (http://www.superrunnersshop.com/) where they can provide great advice on shoes, clothes and accessories.  One of the coolest gadgets is a GPS watch that can track your time, show splits and even show where you ran on a map (and share the info with friends) when you wirelessly connect it to a computer.  I use the Garmin Forerunner 405 and love it.  I’ve got lots of other tips, including the necessity of using an all-over anti-chafing product like Body Glide (http://www.bodyglide.com/), an energy product like chocolate-flavored Gu (http://www.guenergy.com/) and comfortable socks like Feetures (http://www.feeturesbrand.com/).

For the record, my goal isn’t to beat the clock but to finish vertically and not passed out on a stretcher.  About 4 weeks to go – we’ll see . . .

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