Sunday, April 30, 2006

Marathon Mistakes

The latest Active newsletter has a good article by Owen Anderson on Eleven Major Marathon Mistakes.
  1. Most marathoners don't have the right time goal
  2. Most marathon runners fail to fold goal-pace running into their long runs
  3. Too many marathon runners try to carry out a long run every weekend
  4. Most marathoners fail to use sports drinks properly during the race
  5. Most marathon runners mix sports drinks with other things during the race
  6. Many marathoners fail to standardize their pre-race meal
  7. Too many marathoners try something new on race weekend
  8. Marathon runners don't taper properly before the race
  9. Too many marathoners emphasize volume of training over quality
  10. Too many marathoners forget that fitness is the ultimate predictor of marathon success
  11. Some marathoners actually think that walking during the race will improve their times
Read the full article here.
The listing is longer than I think it needs to be but it is a good start. The goal pace is key, if you do not realistically choose one that you can run for 26 miles, nothing else you do will matter. If you chose the appropriate one, that is what should drive all your training. Especially for first time marathoners, choose one that is slightly slower than realistic. Why? Trust me, you will be glad you did. For example, if you think your goal pace is 8:00, chose 8:15 (or 8:30 if you like easy to calculate round numbers).
To be successful, your training should be a mix of running to your max and recovery to remain fresh. There are many ways to do this. You can find any number of training programs on Runner's World, Cool Running, Jeff Galloway, etc. I like the concepts driving the FIRST Plan from the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training and would recommend that plan to start with. You are unique and should not blindly follow any standardized plan just because it works (or worked) for someone else. There are too many differences in type of runner, normal lifestyle, marathon prep stress to assume that what works for one will work for another. Don't be afraid to modify the plan to make it work for you. If you want a personalized plan, let me know. I'll help craft one for you.
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