Breaking all the pre-marathon training rules

There are a lot of things you’re supposed to do to train for a marathon. Being a rebel, I have broken pretty much all of these tenets. It’s kind of a miracle I’m not crippled for life.

1. Build up your training gradually and have a set plan for whatever marathon you’ve chosen.
My plan goes like this: I want to do a marathon. Hmm, that marathon sounds fun, and it’s in France! I’ve always wanted to go to France, and this would be a great reason. Oh, wait… the airport code for Dinard is DNR (Did Not Run). There is no way I’m going to have my first marathon at a place with the airport call letters DNR. Hmmm… well, here’s one in Burlington, VT, the home of Ben & Jerry’s. And it has free ice cream at the finish!!! Done and done. Let’s see, it’s two weeks from now. I should probably do some long runs to prepare.

2. It’s a good idea to eat lots of carbs the night before a long run or a marathon, and be sure to get lots of calories too. Also, you should probably take a rest day the day before your long run.
Mmm… yesterday I only ate 1045 calories. And I did two hours of aerobics (another post to come about that because it’s pretty awesome). So net calories = less than half of what I should have eaten on a normal day, let alone a fueling day for a long run.

3. Don’t do any long runs or races in the weeks leading up to your marathon. In runner’s parlance, this is known as a taper. You may also want to lay off the booze.
Last weekend I did a half-marathon on Saturday and another half-marathon (yes, I know I still owe you all a race report from that… I promise I will this week!). That was three weeks before the marathon. Today, two weeks before the marathon, I decided I should get in a long run over 16 miles, because I still haven’t done that (at least in one shot). So I did 22 miles (now is the appropriate time to ooh and aah). Also, next weekend I’m doing a 10K race in San Francisco, during which it is apparently customary to drink as you go. And who am I to break tradition?

4. Wear sunscreen.
Okay, this isn’t so much a marathon rule as a common sense rule. And you would think that I had learned my lesson from this one, but sadly I am as dumb as ever. I use facial moisturizer with SPF now, so that was fine, but I did not sunblock my body, and I now have a very dark Road ID tan line (no burn though). The cure? Wear my Road ID everywhere I go to cover it up, including the beach next weekend. My mom would be proud.

5. Around mile 18-20, you will hit “The Wall.” Push through it; this is normal.
I, however, am not normal. I did not hit any kind of wall. Which kind of sucks, because one of my biggest goals for this run was to hit said wall so that I would know how to deal with it when I hit it in the marathon. Am I a superwoman? Or is it going to hit me at mile 25 and give me a DNF? The good thing is, I think mile 25 is close enough that my well-trained nose will be able to smell the ice cream at the finish and sprint to eat it. While running today, I was thinking about what to write on my shirt for the big day, and I considered putting something about if I collapse to just fill my mouth with ice cream, because really, that’s why I’m running this crazy distance.

Speaking of crazy, after I got home, I discovered crazy running blogger #10: my friends bring bottles of beer into the shower to pregame for a party because they don’t want to wait to drink. I bring bottles of ice water into the shower to postgame after a long run because I don’t want to wait to get the nasty salt off me.

This run was done as part of Nancy’s 10K on the 10th virtual race. 10 kilometers, 36 kilometers… whatevs! (Yes, I was totally that bitch who finished the course and then ran it backwards and forwards taunting you all). I got a split at mile 7.24 of 1:10:06, which is a 9:41 pace, so if I apply that to the 10K I was supposed to do, I’ll say my time was 1:00:08.

For my actual run, I did 22.3 miles. I circled Central Park and while running cheered on the back-of-the-packers for the 10M Mother’s Day race, then headed to Riverside Park and ran down the length of Manhattan to Battery Park, dodged the tourists there for a while, then back up to Riverside Park at 86th Street, and finally down West End Ave to get home. Let me tell you, it is not a good idea to put a final loop at the end of your run. I passed my apartment around mile 20, and it was very tempting to just call it quits and go home. But I persevered, and even triumphantly ran a last loop around the one-block-square park in front of my apartment building (I did not put my hands in the air Tsunami-style for this, as my doormen already think I’m crazy enough). Total time: 3:43:03. Slower than I wanted to run it (that is a 9:57 pace), but I definitely felt kind of slow and sluggish. I think a big old pasta party plus adrenaline will make me faster on race day. And did I mention free all-you-can-eat ice cream at the finish, with a carte blanche to eat as much as I want because I just ran 26.2 miles?? Heck, I’ll probably do a 6 minute pace just to get to the ice cream faster.


  1. Wow! That is impressive! I’m dizzy trying to imagine the route you ran. I was also at the park this monring to cheer on the moms at the 10 miler…very cool. Anyway, pre-marathon training rules are meant for running newbies and you, girl, are most definitely NOT a newbie. Great run! You deserve that ice cream at the finish.

  2. Agreed. I think if you made it 22+ miles today, you must be doing something right! (especially if you managed to avoid attempting homicide on the tourists–there’s no way I could deal with tourists during a long run–you are clearly a saint). You have to let us know how the ice cream is at the finish (I’m picturing like a gynormous bucket of Ben and Jerry’s for each finisher)–if this race lives up to my sweet-tooth’s expectations, I just might have to sign up next year! :)

  3. thats soooooooo exciting!! can’t wait to hear all about it! Practice run for disney right??? haha

  4. wow you are just amazing :) have fun and good luck at bay to breakers!!! you are going to have a blast! sad i am missing it :(
    and ice cream at the end of a marathon sounds like great motivation to me :)

  5. Are you doing Bay to Breakers next weekend? Maybe I’ll see you there!

    Congrats on the 22 mile run – you’re ready to go!

  6. Yep, you were taunting me. Nice work, Girlie.


  7. Girl, You ROCK!! You are so made for this sport. Keep it up… you’re inspiring. Very, very impressive.

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