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How to Tackle the Marathon

The marathon can be a fickle beast, but with some experience, wise training, and prudent in-race decision making, it can be tamed. I consider myself a seasoned runner but, when I stepped on the road for my first marathon I was in for a rude awakening. I had underestimated the toll 26.2 miles puts on your body, especially at race pace, and I had not respected the distance as I should have. I’ve since run a few more marathons, and although I’m still seeking faster times, I have improved my performance substantially. I’d like to share a few tips that I’ve found useful for improving my marathon performance.

There’s No Substitute for Mileage

Over the last few years I steadily increased my weekly mileage as I continued to be disappointed in my marathon performances. With each increase in mileage I, for the most part, saw an improvement in my marathon PR. There’s certainly a strong correlation between the number of miles we run in training and our marathon race performance. Increasing volume at first was a scary and tough decision for me. I endured three stress fractures in college, due to increasing volume and training load too quickly. I was under the impression my body couldn’t handle more miles. But I made the decision to increase mileage and I did so very slowly over time.

To increase your mileage I recommend an average of five miles per week for each training block. For example, if you are trained 12-16 weeks for a marathon and averaged 50 miles a week during that block, consider attempting 55 miles per week on your next 12-16 week block. This is a safe way to increase without jeopardizing an injury, but as always listen to your body and back off if you fear you’re overdoing it.

Slowing Down to Speed Up

Around the same time I decided to increase my mileage I also decreased the pace of my easy and recovery day runs. By slowing down on my easy days I was able to improve my half marathon PR by 2 minutes and my marathon PR by 8 minutes. Going slower allows me to run more miles and to be better recovered for my hard workout days. When we run a hard workout we cause micro-tears in our muscles and these, if given time, will adapt and heal stronger than before. This is how we get faster and stronger. But, if we push the pace the day after a hard workout, we may not be allowing the muscles to fully heal and adapt before we tear them down again in the next workout.

Another benefit of slower running on easy days is that your body becomes more accustomed to using fat as an energy source. At faster paces we mainly use glycogen as our energy source. But, in the marathon we often need fat in addition to glycogen as an energy source, especially late in the race when glycogen levels have been nearly depleted.

What’s a good easy day pace? That depends on how hard you ran the day before. But it’s not uncommon for my recovery pace to be 2:30 slower per mile than the pace I ran my hard workout at. Then if I have an additional easy day before my next workout I may go 1:45-2:00 slower per mile. But mostly I don’t even look at my watch during recovery runs, I just run whatever pace feels easy and at which I feel my body will recover.

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Tips for Training for a Marathon

Expert Panel Question???

“I’m a 62 year old male runner, have run many half marathons but never a full marathon. I run 3 – 4 times a week averaging 25 to 35 miles. I play golf and weight train moderately. I’m training for a marathon and would like to feel more energized – suggestions?”

Answer!!!

Realize that training for a marathon at any age is an energy draining pursuit, but to help you feel as good as possible try the following:

1. Keep your run days to 3-4 times a week
2. Keep your weekday runs to no more than an hour.
3. Do long runs every other Saturday and start them about 16 weeks out(assuming you already can run 90 minutes for a long run)
4. Do your longest training run at 22 miles and do it 3 weeks out from your race.
5. Focus on eating really well after all your runs. Drink a recovery drink IMMEDIATELY upon finishing a run and then eat a whole food meal within 45-60 minutes following that has a lot of carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fat.
6. Drink lots of water each day.
7. Sleep really well.
8. Use a sports massage therapist twice a month
9. Take a solid vitamin/mineral/ antioxidant supplement day and night.
10. Take an ice bath after each long run.

by Debbie Perry

Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor

USA Triathlon Certified Coach

Colgan Power Program Strength Trainer

Local Elite Runner/Triathlete

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Utah Marathon Comparison Question

Question: “Do you do clinics for coaches?”

Answer: UtahRunning.com does not currently host any clinics for coaches, but it is definitely something we have planned for the near future. We will keep you posted.

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Question: “How does Utah Valley Marathon compare to St. George Marathon in terms of speed of finishers?”

Answer:

Rocky Mountain Running and Triathlon Magazine had a great article in their January 2010 issue that compared several marathons in our region, including the St. George and the Utah Valley Marathon. It was titled, “Regional Marathon Comparison Guide”. If you check around you may still be able to find a copy, but below are some of the highlights. This data is based off of 2009 race results. Keep in mind that the 2010 Utah Valley Marathon course has been altered and is claiming to be faster than in previous years.

By Janae Richardson – Runner | High School Cross Country & Track Coach

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Should I run a half marathon before a marathon?

Expert Panel Question???

Question:

“I’m planning on running the Ogden Marathon this May and am wondering about racing beforehand. Particularly, I’m wondering if I should do a 1/2 marathon race 6 weeks before the marathon or just use that half marathon as a training run?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)

Answers!!!

The amount of time it takes to recover from racing is different for everyone. Some bounce back relatively quickly, while others recover more slowly. The general rule is that it takes about one day to recover for every mile that you race. So, it will take almost two weeks for you to be fully recovered from a half marathon.

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UtahRunning.com Press Release

Newly Launched UtahRunning.com Provides a Comprehensive Resource for Runners and Athletes

UtahRunning.com is a new website for running enthusiasts. This online resource features a community for runners as well as a comprehensive resource of races in Utah.

February 5, 2010 Salt Lake City, Utah – UtahRunning.com, officially launched on January 15th 2010, aims to become the premiere destination for Utah runners, athletes and race coordinators. As this new website seeks to encourage more people to run and lead a healthy lifestyle, UtahRunning.com provides useful tools dedicated to all things related to running. Resources include a list of upcoming races in Utah, and an expert panel of doctors, nutritionists, athletes, and coaches who answer questions about running.

UtahRunning.com’s expert panel includes twenty of the top running, fitness and health experts in all of Utah. Web visitors can ask their running related questions and get quality, informative answers. These experts include Olympic athlete Lindsay Anderson, who qualified for the 2008 Olympics in Bejing and represented the US in two World Championship events in Osaka and Berlin. Other experts include Paul Pilkington who is the Weber State University Head Distance Coach and Steve Scharmann who is a Sports Medicine physician currently practicing in Ogden.

UtahRunning.com is a centralized destination seeking to provide essential information to tourists and locals alike. In general, Utah is considered to be one of the top states for running enthusiasts. For example, recently, Runner’s World named Utah’s St. George Marathon one of the top four choices for “Marathons to Build a Vacation Around.” Further, Runner’s World ranked this marathon as one of the “10 Most Scenic and Fastest Marathon” and “Top 20 Marathons in the USA.” Running competitions take place year-round throughout the state in areas including Moab, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Canyonlands, as well as the cities of Salt Lake City, Provo, and Ogden. UtahRunning.com welcomes race coordinators and directors to visit the website and submit information about upcoming races in Utah.

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UtahRunning.com Slogan Contest

September 19, 2009 UtahRunning.com started a slogan contest to allow the community to help the UtahRunning.com team come up with the best slogan for the website.

Applicants were able to enter as many slogans as they wished. The one winner received a cash prize of $100. If you would like to watch the video explaining the slogan contest visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvxjvHI21Ok.

So you are probably wondering who won the contest, right? Well Dustin J. of Salt Lake City was the winner with 46% of the votes. The slogan to be used which you probably have seen through out the site is “Your Run Starts Here”.
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