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Fueling for your First Marathonhydrate

So you're up for a big marathon and have been checking all the boxes. You are logging tons of miles, nailing all your workouts, and even have your race day kit and shoes picked out weeks in advance. But, have you considered your marathon fueling strategy yet?

One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of marathon racing, is mid-race fueling.  You body will endure a great deal of stress and will require carbohydrates and fluids to stay strong all the way to the finish line. The chances of hitting that "wall" are much less if you have been getting in a steady stream of calories and fluids throughout the race- But where should you begin?

Research shows that the body is able to process 40-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour during exercise. While it would be fantastic for everyone to have their own personal bottles out on the course, just like the elites, this is not possible. So…what do instead? I recommend taking water every 5k, about 6-10 ounces, and a bit more if racing in hot conditions. A trick I learned is to squeeze the cups at the top to get the most out of each.  In addition to water, I recommend taking a gel every 5k as well.  Gels contain about 20 grams of carbohydrates and are easy to stash in shorts, sports bras, and pockets. Gels, combined with water, are a great option to help keep you hydrated and fueled all the way to the finish.

If the idea of taking gels is not appealing to you, I recommend checking out the race website to see what sport drink will be offered out on the course. You can purchase this ahead of time and practice using it during your long runs to make sure everything sits right. Which brings me to the most important aspect of mid-race fueling, practicing your strategy ahead of time.

It’s important to practice using gels and fluids during your long runs and workouts to make sure your stomach is able to tolerate the calories. Your body will get better and better at processing mid-run fuel so nailing down a strategy early on in your build up is key. Without practicing ahead of time, you run the risk of experiencing mid-race GI distress-something no runner wants to deal with!

So hit your local running store and give a few different gel brands/flavors a try to see which one you’ll want on race day. You can also pick up many commonly used sport drinks at these stores as well. Practice your fueling strategy early on in your build up and often, then go check that final box! Happy Running!

Updated by Cally Macumber 1.26.24



Breaking Barriers: Completing a Full Marathon - The interviewee reflects on a significant achievement.

Major milestone:

I finished my first full marathon in January 2024 thanks to the dedicated guidance from Runcoach and Coach Tom.

What is the secret to your success?

Mental resilience and running economy build up.Success_Story_January_

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?

Inconsistent training. Training adjustments to reach sufficient aerobic fitness.

What is the most rewarding part of training?

Happiness.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

Dedicated and personalized coaching to personalize your running training experience. Hence, stay responsive and stick to the training plan.

Anything else you would like to share?

I appreciate Coach Tom's guidance and will be a lifetime mentee.



Runners love outdoor miles, but there are times when weather conditions may force you inside. During these moments, your training does not need to be derailed! Indoor workouts can be a powerful tool to enhance your running performance, offering a chance to focus on strength, flexibility, and cross-training. Explore the following variety of indoor workouts, ensuring you stay on track with your goals:

  1. Yoga is an awesome complement to running. It helps improve balance, flexibility, and mental toughness. You can incorporate yoga to improve your range of motion, enhance flexibility, and prevent injuries. Poses like Downward Dog, Warrior series, and Pigeon pose target areas commonly stressed during running. Dedicate a few sessions a week to yoga to enjoy its full benefits. Tune in here for a great workout!

  1. Strength training helps prevent injuries and improves running efficiency. Focus on exercises that target major muscle groups, including squats, lunges, deadlifts, and core. Incorporating resistance training with weights or bands can improve strength and stability, contributing to better performance on the road.  We recommend this workout (which requires no weights or equipment) 2 times a week! 

  1. Treadmill workouts become a valuable asset when weather conditions make outdoor running challenging. Mimic your scheduled workout on the treadmill, but place it at 1% incline and use this chart to adjust your paces.

  1. Plyometric exercises focus on explosive movements to enhance your power and agility. Plyometrics engage fast-twitch muscle fibers, important for running fast. For example, these exercises can be done in a basement or garage! Include plyometrics into your routine and take your running performance to new heights.

  1. Indoor cycling or Swimming are great ways to build cardiovascular fitness without the impact on your joints. Whether you use a stationary bike, join a virtual cycling class, or swim in the pool, these low-impact workouts allow you to maintain or improve your aerobic fitness. We suggest biking 3 miles for every 1 mile run prescribed within your plan, or swimming for equal time to run time.

Whether you're facing difficult weather conditions or simply seeking a change in routine, these indoor workouts will keep you engaged and motivated on your journey to becoming a more resilient runner.



Running with Joy: Unveiling Marathon Success with Runcoach

Major Milestone? The Marathon Runcoach_Success_Story_Lorea

What is the secret to your success?

Having fun, actually enjoying the runs.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?

Planning adequately to get the time in and considering travel, so needing to be flexible.

What is the most rewarding part of training?

Being outside in nature, watching the trees change, learning to identify a few, listening to my body and thoughts.

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

I did not download the app until the end of September because I thought if I only put in weekly miles I would be okay. But a friend who has run several marathons advised me to buy it. It was a game changer! I now had a plan, it even included rest, timed runs were great and it gave me confidence to know I was doing the right thing. Being able to email the coaches (Cally for me) was great. I asked her several questions, she always answered on time and I felt someone had my back. It made me feel accompanied. The daily tips were also great. Specially the reminders to “not do anything new on race day!” because it is so easy when one is nervous to want to change things up, but I stuck to the plan and it worked. I did go out too fast, I couldn’t help it, but fortunately because I was well trained I was able to keep going. Great experience.



Striking the Right Balance: A Runner's Secret to Marathon Success

Major Milestone? 

Completing Dublin Marathon in 3:54. This was my first marathon in 22 years, and my best time in 37 years, nearly 4 decades later.

What is the secret to your success?runcoach_success_antony_boyd

Discipline and focus, and setting realistic goals. I have learned that if there are failures along the way, there are always lessons that can be learned which can help make you a better runner going forward.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?

It is very hard to fit the training in around family and work commitments. Sacrifices have to be made and sometimes you have to be selfish to get the me-time in. But at the end of the day, it is about finding the right balance in a realistic way. You cannot please all of the people all of the time.

What is the most rewarding part of training?

To see the improvement. To come back from a hard run at the end of the day following a really tough day at work, but knowing you have given it your best, the positive energy gained can turn any negative thoughts into a runner’s high. And you know that you are going places as you strive forward and closer to reaching your goal.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

Just go for it. You will not regret it. And don’t be afraid to seek help from those around you. I am in my mid fifties and am running better and feeling better with myself than I have done in decades. I have not been able to do this on my own though, and have learned to seek help from nutritionists, physios, experienced runners and a chiropractor. The whole system needs good maintenance to work properly.

Anything else you would like to share?

Mix up your training runs - include some road running and trail running. Milestone races also add some spice and excitement and allow you to benchmark your improvement over time and to engage with the local running community too. And also try to keep it interesting by mixing up the routes and throwing in some big adventures to give excitement and memories too. The mental well-being benefits are huge.

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

The coaching advice from Cally has been first class, She was always good to respond in good time, answering all of my questions and sharing her huge experience and knowledge. Thank you Cally!



Overcoming Doubts, Achieving Milestones: An Inspiring Interview with a Dublin City Marathon Finisher

Major Milestone? 
Dublin City Marathon (Ireland)

What is the secret to your success?Dublin_Marathon_Success_Story

Listen to good advice like following the training plan, good nutrition, rest and sleep, strength exercises to reduce the risk of injury and warm up before every run. It's not one of these, it's all of them. Make this a routine. Above all, you have to want it.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?

Worrying that I was not good enough or fit enough to run a marathon. Earlier in the training plan, this knocked my confidence. But as I achieved my sub goals I began to see the value in the plan and my confidence slowly grew. Worry has no value..stick to the plan and have patience.

What is the most rewarding part of training?

By far the most rewarding part of training was seeing my fitness level increase. A year ago, doing a 25k run was tough; now I find it relatively easy and enjoyable. My preference is longer distance running and the training plan Runcoach gave me helped me to become a confident endurance runner.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

Whatever your big goal is, set mini goals along the way and train for each goal. Enter competitive runs and stick to your plan as best you can. This will give you a big confidence boost as you achieve each mini goal.

Anything else you would like to share?

I started running at the age of 51 and two years later I've just completed my first marathon. It's never too late. In the marathon, I ran with with people of all ages, abilities and challenges. If you want to do it, you can.

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

Runcoach is a terrific resource to have supporting you. There are plans to suit all stages of your progress including weekly schedules and audio guide when running. But the best part is that you get a dedicated professional coach...a real person to help you and answer questions. My coach Cally is brilliant and definitely helped my achieve my goals.



Master Marathon Pacing

Written by Cally Macumber October 26, 2023
Pacing in a marathon is like a finely tuned dance. Too fast, and you might find yourself running out of steam before the finish line. Too slow, and you might miss out on reaching your full potential. To master your marathon pacing strategy, you'll need to find the balance, the sweet spot, where you can maintain a consistent pace and finish strong. Let's explore tips to ensure a successful race day.

Start Slow to Finish Strong:

One of the most common pacing mistakes in marathon running is starting too fast. The excitement of the race and the adrenaline rush can tempt you to sprint out of the gate, but this can lead to early fatigue and negatively impact your overall performance. To avoid this, consciously start the race slightly slower than your goal pace. This conservative approach ensures you conserve precious glycogen stores for later in the race.  We like to think of mile 1 as a warmup mile where you can utilize a bit of fat for fuel, allow your body to warmup and turn the race fro 26.2 to 25.2 miles right off the bat.  We recommend the first mile be 30-45 seconds slower than goal pace to accomplish the above objectives.

Embrace Negative Splits:

While many marathoners aim for even splits (maintaining the same pace throughout the race), some runners aim for negative splits. Negative splits involve running the second half of the marathon faster than the first. This approach allows you to finish strong and provides a mental boost when you pass other runners in the late miles. There have been strong results from Marathon runners who complete negative splits inclusive Kelvin Kiptum’s recent World Record at Chicago where he ran 1 minute faster for the 2nd half of the race.

Adapt When Needed:

Flexibility is a valuable within a marathon. Unexpected obstacles, like weather conditions or muscle cramps, may require adjustments to your plan. Be prepared to adapt without panicking. Sometimes, slowing down briefly can help you recover and continue at your goal pace. Many athletes have receive a great lift when they actually stop and walk briefly (preferably through an aid station) as the quick break allows muscles a brief recovery.

Trust Your Training:

Your marathon training program was designed to prepare your body for the race. Trust in the process and the hard work you've put in during your training runs. The pace you've practiced is the pace you're ready for. By following your training plan and being consistent in your workouts, you've build the endurance necessary for a successful marathon.

Keep in mind that every marathon is a unique, so remain adaptable and embrace the journey that this specific race offers. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned runner, pacing is a skill that can always be perfected!



Unveiling the Secrets of a Massive Personal Best Achievement at the 2023 Chicago Marathon

Major Milestone:


1hour and 35 minute improvement from 2021 Chicago Marathon (7:11) to 2023 Chicago Marathon (5:36). success_story_octoberr

What is the secret to your success?

Sticking to the plan as much as possible and granting myself forgiveness when circumstances won't allow me to follow the plan. Be that weeble that wobbles but doesn't fall down or give up. I fell a lot but I kept getting up, dusting myself off and making an effort to change my mindset.

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?

Replaying the negative chatter in my mind when I don't think I did something good enough or missing the plan workout. This only compounds the issue and can break my spirit. I find a positive scripture, mantra, or inspirational song that I play over and over in my mind to over talk, drive out and over take every negative thought until my spirit being becomes focused and unstoppable on reaching that goal.

What is the most rewarding part of training?

Building self confidence and allowing it to spill into other parts of your life. When you push yourself to achieve in what appears to be at times the impossible (lack of time, getting past an injury or illness) during the training there is nothing that anyone can throw your way that you will not feel can be handled or conquered.

What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

Getting in the miles is important but don't skimp on the cross training. I found it important to get in my strength training, cross training, yoga which helped build up the muscles needed in my entire body to support the change that was needed to improve my time. Believe your Coach when they tell you to trust your training and don't ignore the taper without consulting with your coach. We think getting in all the miles is important but proper rest each night to give the muscles time to repair and for the mind to rest and relax is just as important. It is finding that balance in mind, body and spirit that will keep you focused on not allowing anything to take you off course from achieving your goals.

Anything else you would like to share?

The Coaches are top notch in the field. They have been there, done that and know how to make the minor adjustments in your plan to bring out the very best in you. I absolutely love the way they approach it from a partnership perspective. Easy to talk to, bounce off ideas and always willing to make adjustments that make the best sense to achieve your goals. I took advantage of every tip of the day each coach shared and incorporated it in my run for that day. I found myself pulling from those tips of knowledge miles 19 -26 when I had to dig deep to keep up the momentum in the race.

What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

The experience with Runcoach has exceeded my expectations. When I physically could not train my coach challenged me to strengthen my mind. See the race from start to finish. I smiled on race day when I got to those places my mind saw before the race and pulled from the daily tips when the course changed from the last time I did that race. So glad I signed up for the year plan. Worth every penny.



Trust the Taper

October 20, 2023

One of the most important, but often overlooked, components of training for a goal race is the taper.  The hard work has been accomplished and all that remains is to rest and sharpen up. Confidently easing off the gas pedal and arriving prepared, yet rested at the starting line is a crucial component to racing success.  Here are a few things to consider when race day is in sight, but still a couple weeks away.

You don’t have to push hard all the way up to race day in order to preserve your hard-earned fitness. ecomm_fall_running

Just as it is important to heed the scheduled call for recovery days in your regular training, the last 2-3 weeks of a half or full marathon training cycle is a singular opportunity to allow your body to be as rested as possible before going to the well on the big day.   While there have likely been times where you have had to push yourself to finish the last few miles of a long run or get out of bed when a hard session is on the schedule, enjoy the reduction of miles over these last couple weeks. Remind yourself that you have the physical ability to go farther and the mental confidence from those workouts that will carry you through on race day.

The last few weeks are a great opportunity to focus on healthy living as you prep for your race.

If it is difficult to keep your sleep habits as intended for months at a time. This is an opportunity to get maximum impact from a few weeks of slightly increased sleep.  Likewise, you can make a difference with a few weeks of healthier eating habits.

Many of us have too many obligations and commitments to live a daily life with the healthy habits we’d hope for, but ideally we can all get on board for a few weeks for the final push to race day.  Maximize the rest you are getting from shorter workouts with an extra half hour of sleep per night and increased hydration with healthy food choices.  This allows arrival on race day without the need to cram hydration and nutrition concerns into a short 1-2 day period.

Keep your body in the training rhythm to which you are accustomed.

Tapering doesn’t mean change everything. What it does allow you to do is keep your body and mind focused while requiring less strain and allowing for more recovery.  Your training schedule will follow a similar pattern with slightly easier tasks.   Continue to take your workouts as seriously and resist the urge to over schedule your life now that you may have a bit more time to play with than in the last few months.  For example, continue to allow time for the stretching you were so diligent about when the workouts were really tough, instead of dashing off to another engagement now that the workout wasn’t as taxing.

As your body will require less fueling to accomplish these workouts, the temptation may be to continue eating as though your long runs are still at maximum length.  Consider your current fuel needs and adjust accordingly to allow yourself to maintain the spring in your step you are trying to gain by backing off the volume.

Use the taper to make final race day plans

The taper is a great time to break in the fresh pair of shoes you plan to use on race day.  This will allow you to make sure you are past any risk of blisters or other problems, but won’t put that much wear on the shoes before you need them to really go to work.  Similarly, consider your race day attire, pre-race food consumption, and mid race fueling.  While your workouts are a bit easier, you can experiment a bit more to ensure every aspect of race weekend is practiced and proven.

Don’t worry if you feel “flat” during your taper

Feeling a bit sluggish even while you are doing easier workouts can be a function of many things, but is quite common with recreational or pro runners alike.  If you continue the good habits already implemented, you can expect to feel the results of that work ~ 25% into race day (be careful not to take off and drop the pace drastically when this rush hits). Yes, your body is used to a different level of activity and that may leave you feeling a bit off.  This is why it is important to maintain a similar training rhythm so you maintain familiarity and consistency. Once the gun goes off, your months of training won’t betray you! 

Updated by Cally Macumber

 



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