Running a Fall Marathon (Part 2)


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If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s that running long distances in the heat is not for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I love summer and I’ll take 100 degrees over -10 any day, but the heat and I do not make good running buddies. So during summer, I run 10 miles and under races and train either at the gym, late evenings or early mornings.  By the time Fall comes around, I’m filled with anticipation and bursting with energy..all revved up and ready to go.

Establishing your base & building mileage

These days I’m running 5x a week and truly that’s the best way to build up you running base and mileage. Each day I try to increase by as little as a mile but the important thing is running consistently. Six days a week isn’t too much to aim for and increasing your mileage by the week is much more realistic. Say you’re running between 20 miles this week, you want to slowly increase that to 25 by next week and then 30 and so on. That’s ideally of course, but there are those with a slower pace, here you want to focus on consistency over pace.  Let’s say you’ve never raced before and this is going to be your first marathon, then you would benefit from starting slowly and gradually increasing pace and mileage but ensuring that you stay consistent with your running.

Building Core Strength & Upping Your Fitness Level

It’s said that good running form is essential to completing 26.2 miles.  There’s really no contesting that. Good running posture ensures economy of movement, which in turn maximizes your speed, strength and endurance.  However, this all begins in your core area, which needs to be strong to help you perfect your running plans.  Core exercises such as planks, crunches and push-ups are very helpful as are Pilates as it deals with contracting your abdominal. Also, swimming, biking and weight-training are great cross-training methods. It is also important to get proper sleep and maintain a nutritious diet high in protein and to ensure post-workout recovery; proper stretching, eat, drink and rest.

Long/Tune-Up Run

This is super-important. About 3-4 weeks before race day do a couple long runs. So 4 weeks before, then 3 weeks before; whether it’s a half marathon, 18 or 20 miler, this allows you to know where you’re at in terms of your race day goal as well as it gives you the opportunity to run at your goal pace, determine your fitness level and practice your nutrition and hydration strategies..which work best for you..that you’ll use on race day.

Race Day

All your perpetration culminates on this day. By now you know your level of fitness, you’re comfortable in your skin and you’re ready to run the race of your life. There is no room for doubt or dissension, you’ve done the work and your body will thank you. Follow your race-day plan which would have included a good night’s rest, getting up early to have a good breakfast, which would entail only the stuff you’ve eaten before, don’t try anything new but stick with the tried and true, says Coach Lindley from Boulder, Colo.,. This is your day, paint yourself a mental picture of your race, see how you plan to run and see yourself overcoming whatever minor obstacles that may turn up. Let the finish line and the celebration you would have earned propel you towards it. As most coaches like to say, finish strong.

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