Do You Avoid These Common Mistakes While Marathon Training?

[caption id="attachment_4735" align="alignright" width="275" caption="Crossing the finish line is a an accomplishment"]marathon_finish_chute[/caption] Today I will be heading out at 3pm to start a 22 mile training run.  I have a goal of running the 22 miles at around 8:00/mile.  Two weeks ago I ran 18 in 7:51/mi and last week I ran 20 in 8:40/mi.  The difference I believe can be answered by the fact that last week was my first attempt to go out in the late afternoon / early evening to do a long run.  The Rock and Roll Las Vegas Marathon starts at 4pm and thus why I am running later in the day. My entire training world has flipped upside down with this late start and I am having a difficult time getting used to it.  On mid-week runs I have gone out later in the day, to once again simulate the late start and my runs have not been great.  Yes, the weather here in Texas has been a little like Cybill in not wanting to figure out which season it wants to be.  For the past two days we have had Fall weather with temps in the 60s and today when I start my run the temperature will be near 75*.  It is hard to gauge my ability right now since the weather in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks will most likely be colder and less humid. As I research the topic of later evening race starts I find articles about nutrition and sleep.  Things to do during the day that keep you off your feet so as not to tire your legs.  There is quite a bit of information out there but one article that I found interesting was about the 5 biggest mistakes people make while training for a marathon.  It got me thinking about the past two weeks and what the next two weeks holds for me and I wanted to share the article with you. The article appears in and was written by Sabrina Grotewold.  You can read the entire article [HERE] but I am going to provide you with the bullet points and provide my thoughts on my training for this marathon:

1. Overtraining & Undertraining

I believe that I am neither over-trained or under-trained.  Since Coach has switched the plan to marathon specific training my run mileage has increased, but my bike training has decreased significantly.  During triathlon season I would have mid-week rides of 2 hours plus 1 or 2 recovery rides of an hour added to a 3 to 5 hour ride on the weekend.  Now I have a 1 hour recovery ride on the weekend and maybe a 2 hour low heart-rate ride during the week.  What has not changed is the amount of swimming and for me that is great.  I need to continue to work on my stroke but swimming provides great recovery for the legs since they are not pounding he pavement.

2. Completing Long Runs Too Fast

I have seen the research and read all the coach's stories about how training at a slower pace than race pace is what is needed to race fast.  I started my endurance career following this theory and it led me to a 4:29 marathon the first time I ran one.  The second time I ran a marathon I ran it in 3:39.  That second marathon included running long runs faster than I had previously.  Recently I ran a training half-marathon 'race' at a pace of 7:31/mi and this was only two weeks after racing 70.3 Austin.  Today I want to run at 8:00/mi which is 45 seconds slower than marathon race pace compared to the 2:00/mi slower pace most recommend.  For me it is about finding out what I can tolerate so that when I run 7:15/mi on race day my body knows what it has to do.

3. Experimenting On Race Day

We all know this and yet I read race reports about how the person tested this out or tried something new.  For me the race should be boring for you in terms of what you are going to do.  You have a race plan, you have eaten the same thing, you have worn the same gear and everything else is the same on race day as it is on your long run training days.  Today I am executing a nutrition plan to bring with me to Vegas and I plan on having December 4th be exactly the same as November 19th in terms of food.  Why would you throw all those hours of training out the window by putting on a new hat that all of a sudden itches?  Why ignore your training to test out that new flavor of GU or Gel at Mile 22?  Makes no sense to me so stick to what you know and don't change a thing. [caption id="attachment_4736" align="alignright" width="256" caption="Creating A Plan and Sticking To It Will Get You To The FInish Line"]marathon_running_pace_finish[/caption]

4. Going Out Too Fast

Just like #3 we all know #4 and yet again I read race report after race report that the person went out to fast.  Some can hang on but for the most part the race falls apart for them at the end.  For me this falls to planning.  Create a plan and stick to it.  For the Dallas Running Club Half-Marathon I ran I had a plan to run 7:45s for 5 miles, 7:30s for 5 miles and then hopefully sub-7s for the final 5k.  The first 6 miles I was around 7:35/mi then was able to drop down to 7:30/mi and when I want to run those sub-7s I was only able to get down to 7:20/mi.  Had I stuck to 7:45/mi I might have been able to get down to sub-7s, but in the end I had a plan and I stuck to it.  I did not say to myself in the first 5 miles that those 7:35/mi paces were easy and I should drop at Mile 3 down.  Instead I stayed steady and was able to lower my paces along the way.

5. Placing Too Much Emphasis On Time

I am torn on this being considered a mistake.  I have a goal of qualifying for Boston and for that I need to run a 3:10 marathon.  So am I placing too much emphasis on this goal?  I don't think so because if I don't make it I'm just one of a gazillion (yes that is a real number go google it) that didn't make the time needed and thus will fuel my fire to accomplish that goal. That being said I also understand that when people don't reach that time they consider the day a failure and unfortunately that is just not true.  Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment in itself.  There are so many variables that go into these events that are out of our control and we just have to accept what the day gives us.  Being prepared to overcome those obstacles is just as important as your finishing time.  You can take the lessons learned from that particular race and apply it to the next race because there will be one.

What Are Some Mistakes You Have Made During Training For A Marathon?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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