Marathon Questions


Tuesday-7 slow miles+ lots of stretching after

Last night, thanks to Grandma Lee Ann and Aunt Alisha, Josh and I ate out at our one of our favorites, The Cheesecake Factory. I always get the Bang Bang Chicken and Shrimp, but wanted to try something new. I went with the Herb Salmon Salad. It was so delicious(what isn’t there?).  After dinner we walked around the mall that’s close in search of a new pair of jeans for me. We decided on gifting each other new jeans for our anniversary since we were both in need. Romantic, I know. No such luck for me tonight, Josh already found some this past weekend. (crappy phone pics)

photo(209) photo(210)

Marathon Questions

I’ve ran a handful of halfs, but they were all last summer. I didn’t really do anything different when I ran any of them except keep my mileage up(only 15-20 miles a week). I feel like lately I’ve learned a lot more about running and training better like tempo runs, easy runs, long runs, etc. and now I’ve been thinking what’s next? I would love to run a marathon sometime soon, but I really want to run with a time goal. I know everyone says to run your first marathon to just finish, but that’s really hard for me.

#3 half last summer

#3 half last summer

So, I have questions for you marathoners out there:

1. What part of training do you think was most important?

2. Do I need to invest in a foam roller or stick to have successful recovery after long runs?

3. Did anyone run their first marathon with a time goal?

4. What would be your #1 most important advice?

5. How long should my training plan be?

6. Okay last one, what kind of recovery foods are the best?

I have a million more questions, but I’ll save it for another post so I don’t overwhelm you or myself=)

I’m really trying to figure out with I should sign up for my first marathon, I’m excited to hear your feedback, so tell me everything you know!

PS thanks for all the wonderful Happy Anniversary comments, so nice!

About Sugar Plum Runner

Welcome to the Sugar Plum Runner! I grew up in WA state, but currently reside in UT with my husband Josh, son Jackson, and 2 daughters Lily and Claire. I love running, but I have never been so inspired to run, race, and blog about it since 4 years ago after I had Jackson. I grew up playing soccer and cheered in high school. My favorite part of both sports(and yes I consider cheer leading a sport) was the conditioning. I found myself running after practice was over on my own. That's when I realized that running may be the sport I really loved.
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18 Responses to Marathon Questions

  1. Here are my answers to your questions:
    1) Along with my long runs, I also did mid-week medium-long runs of 10-14 miles at long run pace. I think those really helped me get used to running long, so when I got to the halfway point my legs and mind still felt really fresh.
    2) Absolutely get a foam roller. Increasing mileage for marathon training means you’re going to be working your muscles harder and self massage is one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re taking care of your legs and getting them ready for future runs.
    3) I did run my first with a time goal (under 4:00), but I chose that time goal based upon how my half marathon training was progressing and also did a few tune-up races to check that my goal was achievable.
    4) My big advice would be to take training seriously and to take care of yourself. Get massages, eat right, get enough sleep.
    5) Depending on where your long run is now, I’d say probably at least 18 weeks.
    6) I use Endurox R4 for recovery because it’s easy enough to mix up and get some calories in me when my appetite is really low after my long runs. However, anything with a 4:1 carb:protein ratio should aid in recovery.

    Good luck!

  2. Just found your blog this morning, but figured I’d pipe in with my thoughts anyway! I’m by no means a marathon expert, but I’ve done a couple of them (and some longer distances too).
    1) Long runs are the most important, I don’t know how you’d finish a marathon without them. If you miss one during training, it’s not the end of the world, but I’d make them the biggest priority.
    2) Foam rollers are great. I haven’t used mine for a couple of years, but they saved my butt a few times when I felt my ITB flaring up. (unlike most people, I don’t stretch anymore. ever. I’ve found I’m less injured now, but I am probably an anomaly).
    3) I ran my first with a time goal. Finishing is a good goal for a first (or any) marathon, but I needed more.
    4) Take a rest day when you need it!
    5) 16 weeks is pretty common. Longer is probably better, but it’s hard for someone like me to concentrate on one goal for long periods of time!
    6) I’m a vegan, so my recovery foods are different than most!

  3. I am like you, I have run tons of half marathons but never a full one. hope you get some good advice

  4. I love your questions! I think it’s great that you are thinking of running your first full marathon. Like you, I started out only running half marathons and that was a huge stepping stone for me running my first 26.2 distance.

    1. What part of training do you think was most important? Listen to your body…sure a training plan helps and is vital your success, but know when it’s okay to readjust the weekly mileage if need be. It’s better to take things back a notch and focus on injury prevention than to overtrain and burn out.

    2. Do I need to invest in a foam roller or stick to have successful recovery after long runs? I own a massage stick and used it often throughout my training. What also helps me is getting monthly massages if you can afford it. My job has a flex spending plan so I use that and still get sports massages once a month. I feel that this has helped me in the past 4 years of running marathons to not have any serious sidelining injuries. Also stretching is super important (and often the most neglected) and you should take the time to stretch after every run.

    3. Did anyone run their first marathon with a time goal? I had a time in mind, sure. But just being able to say you completed your training and ran your first marathon successfully is awesome! I would go into your training with an open mind and just be flexible. It sounds cool to have a time goal and stick to it but once you get in the ringer you will realize the 26.2 is a whole ‘nother animal from 13.1. You can always, always, always focus on a time goal after your first one. And trust me, once you run ONE marathon you are going to be hooked! Ha!

    4. What would be your #1 most important advice? Trust your training, take the appropriate measures to stay healthy and listen to your body.

    5. How long should my training plan be? As far as training plans go, I would look into some online plans like Hal Higdon or even join a local running group that trains for marathons. My first marathon training cycle was roughly 5 months and gradually built up the mileage. I trained with a local running group.

    6. Okay last one, what kind of recovery foods are the best? The most fun part of marathon training is all of the yummy recovery foods! I love to recover with a nice balance of protein/carbs…since I do my long runs in the morning I will have eggs with toast and fruit or pancakes/waffles! Also I love pizza!

  5. I’m running my first half in like ten days 😀 super excited. I’m sure I’ll be needing this post in a few years when/if I decide to run a full. I’m ambitious.

  6. oooh I haven’t done a full one yet, so I’m just stalking your comments for the answers to great questions!!

  7. I have only done 1/2s, but I imagine that my advice would still be to remain dedicated to a training program for 1/2s or full marathons. And also, to listen to your body. I have seen so many friends experience injuries in training because they push themselves just a bit too far. Happy training!

  8. I am working towards mt first marathong right now, but I wouldnt say you HAVE to hve a foam roller, but I am going to get one soon. I think it more just helps.

  9. I ran my first marathon when I was in college and really had no clue about what to eat/ not to eat. My biggest advice would be to “practice” eating before your long runs what you would eat the night before the race. I had major stomach disasters at my first marathon.

    Time goals: I ran a half a few months before my full at 1:55 and wanted to finish my marathon in 4:30. I ended up finishing in 4:55 due to stomach issues and heat (Nashville at the end of April!)

    Now I’ve ran 8 marathons and I still can’t say I know what I’m doing BUT you should definitely run one- the feeling of accomplishment is amazing!!

  10. kendraalleen says:

    i ran my first full this past october. i started training in march for a marathon in mind for june. i run quite a bit (20-35 miles a week) anyway so i thought 3 months would be fine. well, then i found out we were moving before said race. when we moved i was at the point in training where i was ready for it. we arrived in minneapolis during their 90’s-100’s heat wave and i totally lost my ability to run long or fast for the next few months. i actually slowed my pace by over a minute per mile. about 2 weeks before the twin cities marathon rolled around in early october i decided to just go for it. i had really wanted to do the race back home and couldn’t and i wanted it so bad. never mind the fact that my longest run for the past 3 months was one 8 miler and 4-5 miles otherwise. this marathon was going to be mine. since the running training at that point was meager i just wanted it in under 5 hours. but even then i just wanted to run the whole thing. and i did. it was an amazing experience that i will hopefully have again this summer with the proper training and more importantly the proper timing of the training.
    you can read the full story here:
    good luck. and getting your legs use to long distances is key. my feet were actually in more pain than my legs by mile 16 or so. i’m not sure what to do about that. but it took me by surprise and i was sooo wishing i had told my husband to bring a different pair of shoes at mile 22 where i would see him. just something to be aware of i guess. i don’t know if it was my shoes that gave out or my socks or my feet or a combination of all 3. i’m going to be troubleshooting that in my next training as well.

  11. I don’t have a ton of experience with marathons but I’ve done a couple. My number one piece of advice would be to do whatever it takes to not get injured!! It’s easy to get obsessed with finishing every run on your training plan and meeting or exceeding all of your pace goals. BUT if you push yourself too hard during training and can’t do the race then what was it all for?? Listen to your body and don’t hesitate to take an extra rest or cross training day here or there. So what if you race a tiny bit slower than you’d planned. It’s your first one and at least you’ll be there!

    Also, don’t forget to have fun with it!!

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