Training the Mindful Marathoner

Leave the first response January 27, 2009 / Posted in Mindful Running, Oz On Marathoning

The Week Before/The Month After

The Marathoner’s Body is 70% Water

Train yourself during the week before the marathon to continue to hydrate so your urine is clear. Remember it takes 3 grams of water to store one gram of glycogen. You can carboload but the folklore is that unless you continue to drink fluids, you can be carboloaded but dehydrated.

Get into the rhythm of your breathing.

A sense of your rhythm can keep you running smoothly so that you do not strain nor tighten up muscles not involved in your smooth running form.

Terms to say to yourself and to picture as you train and during your marathon:

  • Relax my shoulders
  • Relax my jaw
  • My running style is smooth like cycling over the earth. Lift my knees a quarter of an inch (1/4 “) each stride, not my body. I am pedaling over the earth’s surface- smooth and easily.
  • Breathe smoothly like a hospital respirator.
  • Scan the body and relax those muscles: tongue, jaw, neck, shoulder blades, lower back, diaphragm, quads, hams, calves, toes.

Go over the course in your mind.

Remember should anything happen that you need to walk more than expected, do not lose concentration. Walk in good form and style. More often than not you will be back running in several minutes because you have maintained your inner spirit of doing the marathon well.

Locking In Your Marathon’s First 10 Miles:

On your long runs of 15, 13, and 10, run the first 3 miles a minute/mile slower than your normal marathon speed. From mile 4 onward, run your normal marathon speed. It is important to use the 1st 3 miles to warm up. Remember on marathon day, you will be full of energy. By running the first 3 miles slower 30 seconds to 1 minute slower than marathon pace, you will be ready to settle into your marathon pace. Should you go out 30 seconds to a minute a mile faster than your marathon pace, you will finish the marathon 20 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes slower than you expected. Since you are well rested, don’t let the excitement and adrenaline affect your first 3 miles which are 30 seconds to 1 minute slower than your marathon pace. Do not waste any glycogen storage by going out faster than race pace those first 4 to 8 miles.

Carboloading the right way:

By eating normally on days 5, 4 & 3 before the marathon plus hydrating well, you will have stored the energy needed to complete the marathon. Eat early the night before the marathon so that you have enough time to have a good bowel movement. Make sure that you have plenty of bulk/roughage in your meal so it is digested and you are ready to have a good bowel movement several hours before the marathon.

Sleep-Get It Early:

The sleep you get on days 5, 4 and 3 before the marathon, especially days 5 and 5 will get you through the marathon. Even if you were to be up all night before the marathon or even if you only get 3 to 5 hours of sleep, it will be due to the energy your body has stored by your minimal running 4 days before the marathon. Knowing the body is on a 36 hour cycle, will allow you to run the marathon no matter how little sleep you had the night before the marathon. That is one less worry you have the night before. Kevin McCarey had one of his best marathons with no sleep the night before the race.

Hydrate! It Needs Repeating: Hydrate!

Knowing it takes 3 grams of water to store 1 gram of carbohydrate in your liver and the muscles, the water you drink on days 5, 4 and 3 before the marathon is very important. Should you not drink enough water, your body will use water from the body to store the carbohydrates. So it would be possible to be carbohydrate-loaded but not well hydrated. If you are flying to your marathon, bring a liter of water for every 2 hours of flight time. Even then that might not be enough, but it will keep you from getting too dehydrated from being in a pressurized cabin.

The Day Before:

The day before the marathon, you will do nothing but hang around. Remember that if you go sightseeing by walking around , each mile you walk is costing you 100 calories. Should you walk 8 or 10 miles, you will not be able to replenish your energy stores in your legs by next day. Even then you possibly wouldn’t feel it until the last 4 to 6 miles in the marathon.

Post Marathon Training:

Do easy running for 3 to 4 weeks after the Marathon. After such an effort to achieve such a goal, there will be a letdown. Expect it, as it is normal. It is extremely important at this point to set a new goal for yourself. The goal might be another marathon in 6 months; or the ability to have a base mileage so that you can prepare for a marathon with a 16 week program; or a marathon a yea for life; or assisting someone else prepare and train for a marathon. Remember the marathon is a metaphor of a lifestyle. You have proved to yourself that you could achieve a goal. You achieved something that takes effort, time, commitment, focus and determination. You now have a standard to measure yourself against when you are confronted by the goals and challenges of life. You not have the experience of having trained to accomplish what needed to be accomplished to do what needed to be done.

Read George Leonard, on Mastery. Read George Sheehan’s Personal Best. Your marathon has prepared you to live your life. Life, Be in it. Life, live it to the fullest and share what you have learned along the way. Goethe’s wisdom heard twenty years ago continues to alter my perception of time:

Life is the childhood of our immortality.

Remember you are using the marathon to see where you are not only physically but also mentally. If you have listened to your body, you will find that the training you have used for running a marathon: scheduled training, pacing, hard/easy days, long/short days,–all apply to the Marathon we all run–LIFE. During these training sessions, if all goes according to plan, there will be nothing unexpected during your Marathon. Well, almost nothing except what your mind can create to distract you.

The Marathon while run in the reality of the body, is made up of two abstract concepts: TIME & DISTANCE (or space). We have created these two in order for us to compare. While we are always comparing, in reality since we are unique both in TIME & SPACE, we cannot be compared.

The Marathon is not something you will or will not do again. It is a measure within yourself to see where you are at a moment in space and time. You have learned something about yourself. Should you hurt yourself in anyway, you may or may not have learned. If you are depressed, remember your body has the right to feel depleted after such an effort. The purpose of the Marathon is to teach your body and mind to run well. Your best teacher is the student/teacher within yourself. LISTEN WELL.

Running is a dance done gracefully or clumsily. GO FOR THE GRACE!

Post Marathon Training

for a base with a 12 to 14 miler once a week to stay in marathon striking distance

Day

Week 29

Week 30

Week 31

Week 32

1

0

0

0

0

2

2

3

4

4

3

2

3

4

4

4

0

0

0

0

5

2

3

4

8

6

2

0

0

0

7

4

6

8

12

Total Miles

12

15

20

28

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