20 Quick Tips for Running A Marathon

Start now to prepare for the running the Pocatello marathon, it will be here before you know it. Here are some tips, tricks and helpful hints for training, preparing for the hills, race day and post-race.

Training for Running a Marathon

  1. Determine what pace you want to run the marathon then practice at that pace. We get good at what we practice and fall into the familiar, so practice that pace so it becomes second nature to you. Some ways to stay on your target pace are:
    • Join a running group. See Pocatello Marathon web page or Pocatello Running Company http://www.runpoky.com/for local running groups in Pocatello.
    • Use an app pace tracker.
    • Become part of a pace team at https://pocatellomarathon.com/pace-teams/.
    • Find music with beats that match your target pace. There are apps available to create playlists at your target pace, though the ratings are mixed on them. There are also lists on the internet of music that matches different paces.

*You can see prior years race results at https://www.athlinks.com/event/2169/results/Event/666103/Results

  1. Getting your body physically ready for the challenges of the marathon is important but be careful not to over train. By running too much you can cause repetitive injury to your body and simply wear it out. Save some of your body for race day. You should run the full marathon length at least 1 time before the race to ensure you have the stamina, your cardio and muscles are ready, test your running outfit (things rub and chafe in unexpected ways), test your diet and prove you can do it. When going for these “trial marathons” be sure to simulate the actual marathon as much as possible.
  2. Put together a training plan. Take the date of the marathon and start backward scheduling using these guidelines.
    • 1 week before marathon, reduce distance and no running 2 days before. This gives your body time to heal from any previous stress and to be well rested.
    • 2 weeks before the marathon you should do at least 1 trial marathon run and take any corrective action based on what you learn.
    • 3-4 months before the marathon, slowly add distance to your runs until you get to marathon distance. Allow 2 weeks for each increase to allow your body to adapt.

*Don’t forget to plan rest days. Your body will need 2-3 days to recover between runs, with 3 for the harder ones.

**There are numerous training plans on the internet, some free and others available for a nominal fee. Check out Runner’s World http://www.runnersworld.com or Google search “running training plans”.

  1. Not only practice running but also practice your nutrition plan. After your “trial marathons” notice how you feel.
    • Is your energy completely wiped? – If yes, then try adding 15 grams of carbs per hour.
    • Are you energized but with GI distress? – If yes, then you probably ate or drank too much. Try other fuel sources and getting some of the hydration/calories the day before the race.
    • Do you feel good? – If yes, then remember what you ate and do that on race day.


Prepare for the marathon downhill

  1. The Pocatello marathon has a lot of downhill with approximately 1,550 feet in elevation drop. The first half drops approximately 1,400 feet, with 150 feet at the end. Be careful to not go out too fast during the first half of the course, your quadriceps will be very unhappy and they will let you know late in the race. Pace yourself during the first half (especially during miles 1 and 2) and make sure to do some downhill training if possible.
  2. Our natural tendency is to lean back into hills but it slows you down. You can use hills to your advantage by moving your center of gravity forward a little by hinging slightly forward from your ankle. Be careful not to lean from your hips or shoulders as it may cause back pain.
  3. It is common for your leg muscles to tighten and resist the momentum of the hill. Try relaxing your leg muscles and using your bodies lean to control your pace as much as possible.
  4. Running downhill takes more core strength. Doing yoga is a great way to work your core and to stretch out soreness.
  5. Running downhill puts more stress on your quadriceps, doing some quad specific exercises will help get them stronger like squats, leg presses and lunges. These are exercises easy to do at home, without a gym membership.


Marathon Pre-Race Checklist

  1. HYDRATE: 2-3 days before the marathon drink as much water as possible. When running it is hard to drink enough water to hydrate yourself without being sloshy. You can also drink a few sports drinks but be sure to primarily drink water with an occasional sports drink. If you get bored with plain water then try adding slices of lemon or lime, a fresh mint leaf, frozen berries or sliced cucumber.
  2. SLEEP: Get extra sleep the week before the marathon.
  3. NUTRITION: Eat quality calories and save the junk food for after the race. A balanced diet will offer your body the best fuel it will need for the challenges to come, include complex carbs from potatoes, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Be careful with the whole grains, as some whole grains can make you feel bloated. Stick with the whole grains you eat regularly and know how they react with your system. I prefer a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrate and vegetables the night before a big race, and stay with something I know settles well on my stomach.


Marathon Race Day

  1. Eat a “normal” breakfast. I typically run in the morning so on race day I follow my normal routine in terms of the same breakfast I normally have, oatmeal and coffee. I also try to eat the same number of hours before running as I normally do.
  2. Wear the same outfit you did during training. Any areas that seemed to feel raw, then put moleskin or bandages on them. Although I have never actually tried this, I’ve heard some runners use petroleum jelly or BodyGlide on the areas that rub and can chafe such as thighs, inner arm or side of chest.
  3. Drink small amounts of water at every water station, don’t wait until you are thirsty as it is too late and hard to rehydrate.
  4. Running a marathon is an emotional roller coaster. Be prepared to have different emotional experiences during different parts of the race from nervous, joyful, doubtful, anger, sadness, 2nd wind and superiority.
  5. Most marathoners use sports gels, blocks, or beans (check your local running or sports stores for energy products such as PowerBar, Gu, Clif, Hammer, Jelly Belly Sport Beans, etc.) during the marathon. It is a way to add calories while you run without having to take in much substance to upset your stomach. A good rule of thumb is to have one every 45 minutes, but everyone is different so experiment on your practice marathons. There are also many types and flavors so experiment with what works best for you.


Post-Race to Recover From Running a Marathon

  1. Expect to be extra tired, hungry and thirsty but to feel good emotionally (the endorphins). Important thing is to listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs to recover.
  2. Get a massage! It will feel amazing and a great way to celebrate your accomplishment. Pocatello Marathon features the Idaho State University Student Physical Therapy Association in the finish line area with therapeutic massages to all runners, walkers and volunteers. Cost is $15 for 15 minutes with additional donations appreciated.
  3. Celebrate your hard work. You just took approximately 55,334 steps, which the average person will walk in 8 days.


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