Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I had a friend email me recently to ask a few questions about marathon training and I thought it'd be a good opportunity to put a few of my opinions on running out there. most of these are general guidelines on how to stay healthy and avoid injury when bumping up the mileage. Anyway, here ya go!

There are too many factors in a person's day to really single anything out, but there are basic elements I tell people to focus on when they are training for a long distance race like a marathon.

EAT WELL - i see too many people going for the "beach body" and skimping on calories because they think training for the marathon is gonna help them lose weight. this is a large cause of injury. on the other hand, don't cram in crappy, calorie dense foods just because you're hungry. Try to eat calorie dense foods with nutritional benefits like almonds, cashews, peanut butter, hummus, etc. vegetables and vitamins are very important too. protein should probably be the last thing on a person's mind when training for the marathon. the average american eats probably 2-3 times daily what they actually need even if they are training for something like this.

STAY HYDRATED - very important. i'd keep a bottle with you at all times and refill at fountains.

MULTIVITAMIN - if there are any inconsistencies in your diet, or you want to take something during the winter months with lots of vitamin c and d, i'd recommend SportMulti. its what i use now and its awesome. then again, if you already have one that you like just stick with that.

SLEEP - invaluable

STRESS - while its a natural occurrence in any persons day, make sure you remember to take it easy on the runs during stressful days. you're likely to be a lot more exhausted and depleted.

PROGRESSIVE RUNS - so here is an interesting topic. the idea of a progressive run is very simple... you start out slow, let your body warm up, and then you can lower the pace to basically anything you want. I started using this idea for every single run this year and it works really well. most people (like myself before trying this) start out trying to maintain a pace the entire way. If you don't give your body time to warm up, you'll feel fatigued later in the run. next time you're out, try starting out running easy to the point of being annoying. do that for ten minutes and then work your way down to a comfortable pace. these runs are also valuable for "speed work". i hate using that term because it implies interval training most of the time. with progressive run training, you get much more long-distance benefit. you're teaching your body to handle faster paces without the starting and stopping. it takes much less time to recover from progressive runs than interval training.

another problem is that people are running all of their miles too fast. if youre trying to hit a target pace for a marathon, that doesn't mean you need to spend 90% of your time running at that pace. its a quick path to injury.

RUN ON SOFTER SURFACES - if your body is a constant muscle ache, you might want to try getting onto a dirt road or trail of some sort. the roads are between 30-50 times harder than even the hardest packed dirt road. also some single-track trail with strengthen your stabilizer muscles while giving you a change of scenery. strengthening stabilizer muscles makes a huge difference late in races.

AVOID MINIMAL SHOES - this is way too big a topic to explain in a few short sentences, but i feel minimal shoes are absolutely the worst things you can put on your foot whether you're running 100 yards or 100 miles.... but especially if you're running 100 miles. if you're going to race in a racing flat, maybe get in a few runs with the flat to make sure its comfortable. it shouldn't be a "full-time mileage" shoe though.

I'll write more on minimal shoes in my next post............


  1. Sweet, my first mile of any run is usually around 14 minutes, now I feel that's justified.

  2. I'm interested to see where you go with your post on minimal shoes. It sounds like it will probably be along the lines of Geoff's.

  3. The word invaluable always confuses me. So does invaluable just mean valuable after all?

    I did a hard 15 miles today too soon after having lunch...at least thats what I think the problem was as it turned into progressive runs.

    I wish minimalist shoes got minimalist attention.

  4. Brett, you wouldn't believe how many times i've looked up the word INVALUABLE before i used it in a sentence. seems like it go either way, useless or priceless..... As for the minimalist shoes, trust me, i work at a running shoe store. nothing would make me happier than to have a single day where this topic didn't rear its ugly head!

  5. People always seem to do what they like in running. Minimalist is a relative term though, I know plenty of luna sandal fanatics that think a lot of "minimalist" shoes are overkill. I kinda think of my 110's as my shoes, and my 0's as my minimalist shoes.

  6. ooo-I think I'm going to try this 'progressive run'! Slow to the point of annoying is going to be VERY difficult for me, but I think it could help me later. I am anxiously awaiting the Rogue Fly...is it coming soon?? Didn't you say February? I just bought new Rogue Racers, but I want to be super fly! :) Talk soon!!

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