Marathon questions : need your help !

Next week I will officially be starting my marathon training. This will be my first one. While I have been running for several years, I only “seriously” started doing longer distances (15km or more) for the past year or so. So, I consider myself a novice in the long distance / marathon world.

I decided to do the Paris Marathon 2016 last April, so I have had a lot of time to think about it over the past 6 months and anticipate. I have read a lot, whether it be books or blogs, and talked about it with runners around me.

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There are still some unanswered questions, or subjects where I still feel I do not have enough information.

1. Nutrition

Everyone talks about fueling on their runs, but I find there is not much information out there about general nutrition DURING marathon training.

Do you marathoners change your diet ? Reduce certain kinds of foods ? Up other kinds of foods ? Avoid anything ? what have you seen to have an impact, positive or negative, on your training ?

 

2. Quantity of food

Should you eat more ? Eat less ? Change nothing ? Eat more of something ?

 

3. If you started changing your diet, how many weeks before the marathon ?

Did you make changes as soon as training started ? Two months before ?

 

4. Training plan. Do people follow these to a T ? Is there much deviation ?

 

5. Running groups. I see a lot of people training solo for a marathon but at the same time, so many people talk about how great a running group is to motivate each other on long runs & when the going gets tough. Is a running group absolutely necessary ?

 

 

Any ideas, thoughts, experiences, advice, links to blogs, book recommendations, etc. are welcome !

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Comments: 12

  1. Marcia September 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm Reply

    Lots or all of it depends on you. Through trial and error you will find what works. Full marathon fueling is similar to what you do for a half, I’m just more conscientious about it. The same kinds of foods that work for you when you train for a half will most likely be ok for a full. Personally I’m more careful in making sure I take in more carbs and hydrate better the day or 2 before a long run. You don’t need gobs more food.
    As for running for a group, it can be awesome if that’s what you like. I’m a solo runner and that works perfectly fine for me.
    As far as following a plan, they are great guidelines but ultimately I listen to my body. If I’m not feeling recovered after a tough workout, I’ll push back my next run another day or swap it for something less intense. You know your body best.
    Excited for you! What a great first marathon!
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    • Karen - French Inspiration September 29, 2015 at 7:40 pm Reply

      Thanks for the input Marcia, greatly appreciated !

  2. Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner September 29, 2015 at 1:59 pm Reply

    I have not done a full only a bunch of half races. I think the nutrition is pretty similar. I don’t think anyone sticks to a plan 100% life happens and you have to adjust. You seem like you have progressed quite nicely so what ever you are doing is probably working for you. That’s all I have sorry! Looking forward to watching your progress 🙂
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    • Karen - French Inspiration September 29, 2015 at 7:40 pm Reply

      Thanks Deborah. Looking forward to it too.

  3. Katie - These Girls Do September 29, 2015 at 8:47 pm Reply

    I’d echo previous comments – it really depends on you. Yes, I would 100% start with a training programme, but adapt it to suit your lifestyle and running level e.g. if Sunday long runs don’t work for you, switch it up and do them on a different day, or if life just gets in the way, plan ahead and work out how/where you can put the miles in- but ultimately listen to your body – of my 3, my most recent and PB was done on a heck of a lot less mileage than the previous two, but minus injury. Which says something! Make sure you make time for stretching/yoga/foam rolling/strength exercises as these are a godsend with the additional mileage (and treat yourself to a massage or several!)

    From a nutrition perspective – my main advice would be that alcohol does not a fun long run make! It’s also nice to have something to look forward to after a long session – pancakes, brunch etc (or lots of Haribo in my case) but ultimately, just keep balanced and try out different meals the night/morning before long runs to suss out how they work for you.

    And with regards to a group, it truly depends how you feel. Sometimes it’s great to have people to spur you on, but honestly, sometimes you feel like you need to be alone (e.g. you are finding it really hard and are therefore grumpy…!) I find I like to strike a balance – it’s nice sometimes to run with a group and not have to think about your route, but it’s also nice to have the freedom to run a pace and distance that you want and to zone out a bit.

    Hope this helps!
    Katie – These Girls Do recently posted…A Video Postcard from CornwallMy Profile

    • Karen - French Inspiration September 30, 2015 at 10:30 am Reply

      Hi Katie, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I value many viewpoints and truely appreciate your perspective. It sounds like common sense, which is definitely one of my strengths ! Looking forward to this journey.

  4. HoHo Runs September 30, 2015 at 1:37 am Reply

    This is just my personal experience. I feel better if I can keep my blood sugar levels regulated throughout the day. So, I eat about every 3 hours. I choose healthy things between meals like protein bar, yogurt, bananas and almond butter. When I started really running, I made sure to eat more meat for protein (before, I would often skip it). Also, a scrambled eggs with cheese sandwich is a favorite post long run brunch. Good luck! I will be following your journey!
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    • Karen - French Inspiration September 30, 2015 at 10:28 am Reply

      Thanks Holly for your feedback. You are always an inspiration !

  5. Alice September 30, 2015 at 11:12 pm Reply

    1, 2 and 3 I would advise just see what works for you! I did my first marathon in Barcelona last year and alternated a gel and a shot bloxx every half hour and it worked great, my tummy was absolutely fine and I never hit the wall. It wouldn’t work for everyone! And I reckon you will definitely want to eat more and it’s just making sure that “more” is stuff that’s good for you. While not denying yourself a treat now and then of course! I drank chocolate milk after every long run and it was great for recovery (the sugars apparently kick-start the recovery process).

    For number 4 – I would say that a training plan is a fantastic aid to have but it is very dangerous to stick to it 100%. I started with one and started to get injured – not knowing what to do I turned to the lovely running community for advice and ended up doing a mixture of two training programmes. Finished two minutes under my goal time loving every minute so it worked for me! On the other hand, if you don’t have a plan at all you run the risk of building up too much too fast (or not enough!)

    I have entered the London marathon ballot with my mum this year, but if we don’t get in then we may well sign up for the Paris marathon! I will be following your training with interest 🙂

    Oh – I noticed in an earlier post you spoke about “hydrating” your feet to stop them getting blisters. Sorry for my ignorance but I don’t know what that means! I would be very grateful if you could elaborate as I am always on the lookout for new bits of advice!
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    • Karen - French Inspiration September 30, 2015 at 11:40 pm Reply

      Thanks for your input, I greatly appreciate it ! A lot of it has to do with common sense and listening to your body.
      I do have a training plan, Jeff Galloway that build up very slowly over 6 months.

      My remark recently about hydrating the skin on my feet means putting a ton of hand/foot cream to avoid dryness. When then are dry, the skin is most fragile (apparently) and the rubbing causes blistering. At least it works for me !

      Did you get into London ? I think the confirmations were going out today, right ?
      If not, would be happy to see you in Paris !

  6. Neil October 4, 2015 at 4:07 pm Reply

    I think It is essential that you increase your mileage by no more then 10% each week. Otherwise your chances of suffering from an injury will be very high. In order to minimize this particular risk, you will also have to devote part of each training session for warming up and cooling down.

    It is also a good idea for you to have weight training as part of your preparation tactic. It will make you stronger and will boost your stamina.
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    • Karen - French Inspiration October 4, 2015 at 9:32 pm Reply

      Many thanks for reading & your input. I am doing all of those things, so hopefully I am getting off in the right direction.

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