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Has anyone here ever run a marathon?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by The Big Ragu, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I am toying with the idea after reading about the NYC marathon and Lance Armstrong... Guess this is my middle-age crisis. I am 38.

    I have never been much of a runner. I started trying to run more seriously about 2 years ago, pushed too hard too fast and went from shin splints to a stress fracture, which set me way back. I couldn't walk without pain for months, let alone think about running. My legs will never be the same because of it, but I eased myself back into it.

    For the last year, I have run 5 or 6 times a week. I mostly stick to a treadmill, because it is easier on my lower legs, but I run outdoors too now. On the treadmill, I set it on an incline to better approximate outdoor running. I do 4 or 5 miles a morning, but sometimes on the weekends when I have the time and I am feeling strong, I stretch it out. Longest I have gone is somewhere between 10 and 13 miles, and I actually felt pretty strong. I can maintain 7:30 to 8 minute miles at that distance. If I can get myself mentally focused, I think I can get it down to 7 minute miles, but it is unchartered territory. Reading about Armstrong struggling through the end was worrying. It is also why I want to try it now.

    Has anyone here run a marathon? What advice would you have for a guy who basically only has an hour and a half a day to exercise? I can run fast enough that I am thinking that 3 to 3 1/2 hours may be a reasonable goal, but I have no idea what it feels like around the 18th or 19th mile. Am I insane to set that kind of goal? Is there a specific way I should train for it?
  2. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Active Member

    I've run three -- Kiawah, Marine Corps and Jacksonville.

    I was expecting Lance to run a much faster time, but apparently he never did a training run longer than 16 and his schedule didn't allow him the proper time to train. He said afterward that it was the toughest thing he'd ever done.

    Anyway, it sounds like you have a good base established and I don't think it would be difficult for you to gradually up the mileage until you're ready to do a marathon.

    As fast as you're running now, you could certainly do a marathon in less than 3 1/2 hours. I think we run at about the same speed and I've done all three of mine between 3 and 3 1/2.

    The race is hard -- the last six miles can be hell -- but the feeling when you cross the finish line is unbelievable.

    PM me with any questions.
  3. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    Yes. Four, with a best of 3:20 (could never translate 36m 10K speed to megadistances).

    A 3-hour marathon requires you to average 7 mins. a mile. That's very difficult over 26 miles, especially for a relatively new runner.

    Find a training program by Jeff Galloway and stick to it as close as you can. That will certainly get you through your first marathon, in which the objective should be to finish comfortably, not crash and burn at 18 miles and never want to do one again..

    Then tweak with subsequent races. I'm no expert, but that worked for me.
  4. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    I've walked one. I was hoping to run more than I did, but my knees had other plans. Galloway's programs are definitely the best for first-timers, though if you could find a training group of some sort, that would be great, too, especially on the long runs.
    Practice taking in fluids during the race, too. Find out what electrolyte drink the race is using and get used to drinking it during your long runs. You don't want any surprises like finding out your stomach doesn't agree with it.
  5. Killick

    Killick Well-Known Member

    Once ate three Marathon bars while working the desk one night (and four sodas!). I know, I know. You may all now bow to my athletic glory.
  6. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    Did a 26 mile road march in a shade over 6 hours. With a 40-pound ruck sack and an 8-pound rifle.

    But that was many, many years ... and pounds ... ago.

    Wouldn't do it again unless I had to.

    Edit: I somehow forgot to wish you good luck, Ragu. It takes serious dedication to do such a thing.
  7. Idaho

    Idaho Active Member

    Good luck, Ragu. I've sworn off running more than a 5k. It's just not good for me.

    But more power to anyone that can do a marathon.
  8. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    I've run 22 and I can tell you that part of the reason that Lance had so much pain is that his longest training run was only 16 miles. That goes against any kind of marathon training guide you ever read. You need to run at least two or three 20-milers (while running most of the week) to prepare your body for the last six miles. Even then, it can be a test of wills. But if you've trained properly it's not as bad.

    It sounds like Lance gutted out shin-splints and to do that and run a sub-3-hour marathon is extremely impressive. He'd certainly kick my ass, but then again I still haven't won my first Tour de France. And he didn't pick the easiest marathon for his first one, either.

    I hope Lance running the NYCM will motivate many people the way it has motivated you! Good luck.
  9. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    A guy I work with ran the Chicago marathon a couple weeks ago in less than 2:40.

    Nine days later, he runs 30 miles on a treadmill for our organization in a campaign-awareness event.

    And he still came to work the next day.
  10. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    I once ran a local marathon on a Sunday, then worked the desk that night. Never again!
  11. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    I've completed four marathons and I would give my unconditional support to anyone seriously thinking about it.

    You will learn more about yourself than you ever imagined. There are a million reasons why you didn't have time to train today, but I can tell you that if you want it enough, you'll make time. During the training for my first marathon, my wife and I commuted together and we left the house every morning at 6:15. That meant that if my schedule called for 10 miles, I was up at 4 to start my run. Running under a full moon with a light dusting of snow falling is incredibly beautiful. I also was able to run in some fabulous places: over the Golden Gate Bridge, down the Las Vegas Strip, around all the incredible sites in D.C., along the Mississippi River in New Orleans, through Central Park (but not alone and not at dark), past Fenway Park and Commonwealth Avenue, around the golf course at Pebble Beach and countless others.

    You can ask all the runners in the world what it's like to do it, but you have to experience it yourself to find the answer. At Mile 18 or 19 of my first, my thighs felt as though there were 20-pound bag of cement wrapped around them. But there was no way in hell I was going back to the office and tell my co-workers I failed; that was not an option. But the marathon is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one, maybe moreso, and I know you can will yourself to make it to the next street light, the next corner, the next water stop, the next mile marker.

    I trained 15 months for my first marathon. When I rounded the last corner and saw the finish line half a mile away, I felt like the greatest person in the world. All the long runs in the heat, the snow, the torrential rains, at 4 a.m. and at midnight, were worth it. Of all my wordly possessions, the one that means the most to me is the medal I got for completing my first; to me, it is absolutely priceless.

    Some words of advice on training:
    -- Don't overdo it. Take it easy and make sure you build in a sufficient number of rest days.
    -- Train with others if you can. Conversation will make the miles go by faster, and if you can train with someone better than you, chances are you'll push yourself and improvement will come faster.
    -- Do at least one 20-mile training before a couple of weeks before the race, or two if you can.
    -- There are going to be days when you don't think you can do it. You'll run in a 5K and your time will be a minute slower than you had wanted. Or you'll tire sooner than you should during a training run. These things happen and sometimes there's no rhyme or reason for it. Tomorrow is another day. You won't feel great every day.

    You can do it. I know you can.
  12. micropolitan guy

    micropolitan guy Well-Known Member

    Good points here.

    I always recommend at least three 20 milers, spaced two weeks apart, the last one two weeks before the marathon. Then start your taper. You'll feel fat and sluggish but the rest and recovery time is essential.

    A longer mid-week run of about 10-12 miles. This is essential as well.

    I always liked to do one speed workout, either 800s or 1200s on the track, or intervals worked into a 6-mile run (warm up good, then hard for two minutes, easy for two minutes, or run hard for three telephone poles along a section line, or for 3-4 blocks at a time), it also makes the run go faster.

    A day of complete rest.

    Build up your long run slowly, like 10 miles one week, then 8 the next, then 12, then 10, then 14, then 12, etc. You don't add mileage too fast and your "down" weekend will seem like an easy run.
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