Making the Jump, 13.1 to 26.2

I have quite a few friends who are thinking they are about ready to make the jump from 13.1 to 26.2 and I have received numerous questions from them so I wanted to answer those questions in one place for all of you…

1. Can I do it [complete 26.2miles]?
Yes you can! If you put your mind to it and the miles of training in, you most certainly can get across that finish line. 

2. Should I run all 26.2miles before race day?
No, it isn’t necessary. Most people will train to about 20-22miles. I personally like to go to 22. 

3. Do you have any training plans you like to use?
I do not have a specific one I like to use but the general format I like to follow is: 

  • Monday — Cross Train (swim or bike) & Strength Training (generally all bodyweight exercises)
  • Tuesday — Mid Distance Run (4-8mile range)
  • Wednesday — Long Mid Distance Run (6-10mile range)
  • Thursday — Speed Work or Hills (3-5mile range)
  • Friday — Short Run (2-4mile range)
  • Saturday — Long Run (13-22mile range)
  • Sunday — Short (1-2miles) or Off Day
I tend to increase my milage weekly with every 4th week being a down week (my milage drops for a week allowing for recovery).

4. Any “special” gear that you really like?
I have 4 pieces that I really like. The first one is a good fitting sports bra. Trust me ladies, you get what you pay for in this category. I have found that Nike (medium and high impact) and Under Armor are the best ones for me.  A GPS watch. I have a Garmin and I feel like my training dramatically changed once I was aware of my milage. Compression Socks. My feet swell terribly so I have found when I wear these the swelling ins’t nearly as bad. Body Glide. There is nothing worse than chaffing. I put this stuff everywhere and it has defiantly been a life saver. 

5. People talk about “hitting a wall” what is that?
This is an imaginary wall that many runners will hit between miles 18 and 22. This is the point where you feel like you can’t go any further and everything hurts. Yes, the pain is real but you knew that was part of it when you committed to running this event. Stay mentally tough, maybe take some fuel, and you can get though it. I tend to play games at this point with myself. I will pick spots ahead of me and run to them, then pick another to walk to, going back and forth until I find my stride again. 

6. Do you eat while running?
Yes I do and this is something you must experiment with. I take 3Gu (one at hour 1, 1 at hour 2, and one at hour 3) and will take whatever the sports drink is (assuming it has no milk product in it) about every other water station starting at mile 6 or 8. Try to take the Gu (or whatever your fuel choice is) as you are approaching the water station… they don’t always go down super easy. 

7. Any Tips for Race Day?
  1. Have a plan. Know what you are going to do for your warm-up. Know when you are going to take fuel. Have three goals (best case, content with, and worst case).
  2. Have fun. You are joining part of the 2% of the population just by starting the race. Have fun with it and allow your plan to be flexible. 
  3. Don’t start out too hard. They will normally line you up in a corral, be realistic based on your goals and start with the group you want to finish with. Things can change throughout the race but its a good idea to start with those who are going to go your goal pace. (I pick, the I’m content goal for my starting place).
  4. Break up the race. I like to think of it as I am running 2miles 13times. There are generally water stations every 2miles so that is a good mental break before you start your next 2mile rep. 
  5. Walk through the water stations. This is about 10-15seconds of pure bliss. I have found by doing this my hamstrings and hips last a lot longer before they start to get tight during the race. 
  6. Talk to those around you. People will have great stories and hey, you never know, you may just get hit on (During my 2nd marathon I had a guy that I was going back and forth with passing each other just after we had both “hit the wall”, and at one point he comes up to me and says “you’re beautiful”…trust me I got a little pep in my step at that point. Maybe it’ll happen to you or you can be that inspiration to someone else).
Please let me know if you have any other questions as I am always happy to help! Happy Running!