Questions I Still Have About Marathon Training

I really thought I’d have more answers than questions at this point. Five weeks out from race day and already a 20 miler in the bank and I still don’t know what I’m doing wrong or right. Some of the following questions have already been “answered” by my friends, family and run team but I am still asking myself whether it’s right for me.

1.  Should I buy compression socks for post-long run recovery?

2.  Was my eating of protein immediately after my 20 miler (unlike waiting an hour or more after every other long run) the reason I’m not sore after my longest run yet? Or is it just my fitness catching up? Or was it my stretching? (also new)

3.  Am I running my long runs TOO conservatively?

4.  Should I bump my next long run up to 22 or repeat the 20 like the training schedule says? Would a 22 miler under my belt help me more on race day?

5.  Am I taking too much on-run nutrition instead of loading up on dinner the night before and breakfast the morning of? Do I have it reversed?

6.  Will I still need as much sodium on race day (in DC) as I do on long runs here (south Florida)? Is sodium or electrolytes a heat and humidity thing or a long run wherever thing?

7.  How much faster will my race pace be than my training pace? (guess this is rhetorical)

8.  Should I use my CamelBak on race day?

9.  Should I take/use my iPod on race day?

10. What do you wear in 40 degree race starts with highs of 60’s at finish? Run tights and long sleeve? Shorts and tee shirt??

Any insights would be welcome! I’d love to hear people’s training vs race day stories.

This is going to be a rolling question list, since I’m sure I’m not done yet. Every week I have more questions and less answers in my pocket. I guess you finally learn something on your second marathon, not before your first.

7 responses to “Questions I Still Have About Marathon Training

  1. I would follow what the training plan says. Honestly there’s not much of a difference between 20 and 22…in my opinion. If you want an ego booster/confidence helper you could do 22 but that’s about it. But really your first marathon is all about finishing…and as for the compression socks…BUY THEM! They’re totally amazing. I wear them all the time and they’re great for recovery and helping blood flow/circulation.

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    • That makes sense about the 20 vs 22. I guess it won’t make that much difference on race day. Good to know about compression socks! Thanks! They sound like such a good idea but I wasn’t sure if it was a gimmick or something.

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      • Oh I know it sounds like it but it’s definitely not! I have been wearing them for years. Check out pro compression.com and join their mailing list, they are always doing markdowns and sales.

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  2. Hey there! Hoping I can help with some of your questions…I ran this last year and still live up in the DC area. I would say yes to compression sleeves. At least for your calves. You can wear them during the race but I think they are more beneficial for recovery. My calves would be SO tight after my long runs on the weekends and sleeping in the sleeves actually helped with the soreness the next day. Can’t hurt to give it a try! I ended up running the whole race in full on compression tights. And I think they helped a lot.

    If you’ve trained with your camelbak and ipod then I would 100% say to use them. If you haven’t trained with them then don’t start on race day. We couldn’t wear them last year at the race and I had trained with mine all summer. I ended up using a hand water bottle thingy and prefer the camelbak to that.

    Race day weather can be tricky. I ran the whole race in long tights and a light long sleeve shirt and a head/ear band to stay warm. I think the shirt I wore was one I bought at the expo the night before. Same thing goes as above…if you train in shorts wear shorts. If you train in tights wear tights. My friend ran MCM last year and lived and did all her training in Miami. She wore shorts and a long sleeve shirt the whole race and was fine. You can buy some cheap sweats or if you have an old pair that you don’t mind throwing away once you get warmed up you can wear those too. That is what most runners do since it takes a while to get moving and actually cross the finish line. You’ll see piles and piles of clothes along the road– the Marines take them and donate them 🙂

    Hope this helps! Like the gal said above– your first marathon is all about finishing it! You’ll do great!!

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    • This helps so much! Thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only one training with and wanting to use the CamelBak. It’s such a polarizing topic lately it seems. And if your friend from Miami didn’t freeze, that definitely gives me hope!

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  3. I second the comments on compression socks for recovery (and I own two pairs from procompression.com, definitely join the mailing list for monthly discounts). I also agree with the comments on what you should wear for the race day – essentially the old rule “nothing new” (this applies to fueling on the run too). If you run with your camelbak and it works for you, wear it on race day. If you typically take your iphone with you on long runs, take it on race day. For last year’s MCM I wore capris and a tank top with separate arm sleeves (to remove if I got too warm) and that worked for me and was an outfit I’d tested out prior to the race. 20 vs. 22 is purely mental, it’s your call but you definitely aren’t selling yourself short by keeping it at 20. Hope this helps!!

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    • I’m in the process of trying out race day outfits now. You all seem so calm about marathon logistics so hopefully that means I will be too after I get through my first! And it’s interesting that 20 vs 22 is basically all mental. That’s really good to know because I think I was going into the race feeling insecure that I was only doing 20’s and everyone else had more miles. Thanks for all the info!

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