my dad convinced me to write about my marathon preparation last year after i successfully completed the LA marathon. i have shared this post with many people running a marathon for the first time, and hopefully it’s helped them a bit. (if you want to read it, you can find it here.)
this year i followed the same basic principles but tweaked it slightly (and i think for the better). here’s what i did to prepare for the 2016 LA marathon.
same as last year, i trained with the fleet feet burbank marathon training program. our long runs got up to 22 miles this year (last year i only ran up to 19.6 miles). this group was comprised of some of the same people from last year, as well as some new faces. these people make the long runs so much more bearable.
in addition to running training, i stopped going to physical therapy and started going to orangetheory fitness. this not only eliminated my knee pain but i think also built my endurance and speed. in november and december i was going 8 times per month, and in january and february dropped down to 4 per month (with the race). i plan on going back to 8 per month now that the race is done.
i started drinking more water than normal on monday. i was drinking water for breakfast (a coffee on friday), diet coke for lunch (with some water), and water for dinner all week. after friday lunch (my last diet coke), i didn’t have anything but water to drink until after the race.
the night before, i drank a 12 oz water bottle filled with 1 nuun tablet, and then continued to drink water. the morning of, i drank water and brought a gatorade bottle with me to the start line. i don’t know if over hydration was a good or bad thing, because i had to stop in a subway restaurant to use the restroom at mile 9 (sorry for the tmi).
because i needed to use the restroom, i didn’t drink a lot of water for the first 9 miles. after that, i drank whenever water was handed out (i also used this as an excuse to walk). if there was gatorade and water, i grabbed one of each and chased the gatorade with water. if there was any water left in the cup, i poured it on my head and it helped cool me down.
similar to last year, i avoided lactose and fiber to prepare for the race. starting monday morning, i had a (bruegger’s) bagel with (light plain) cream cheese every morning. i stopped the cream cheese on thursday, but continued to have my daily bagel. i kept my veggies to a minimum. i tried to eat whenever i was hungry. i had a happy meal from mcdonalds on both thursday and friday for lunch.
friday night dinner i had a steak and mashed potatoes. saturday breakfast was another bagel (no cream cheese). saturday lunch was a feast a gyu kaku of white rice and meat. saturday dinner was some pasta and red sauce. on the way to the race, i ate another plain bagel.
my teammate jimmy recommends staying up as late as possible on friday night so you can sleep no matter what on saturday night. i do the opposite. i went to bed very early friday night to try and sleep as much as possible, so that if i can’t sleep saturday, i have some in my “sleep reserve”. i’m not sure if this is an actual scientific thing, but it worked for me.
i packed all of my gear on saturday so it was ready on sunday.
i brought with me:
– my camelbak, filled with water and ice
– 2 ziplock baggies filled with gu energy chews (probably 5 packs in each ziplock)
– 1 ziplock filled with pretzels (i ate a few during the wall)
– miscellaneous gu gels that i didn’t even eat (back ups)
– 2 immodiums and 4 advils (i gave 1 immodium to my friend before the race as a “just in case”, and i took 3 advil at around mile 20)
– a ziplock with some vaseline in it (luckily didn’t need it)
– sunglasses (not needed until after the race, my headsweats visor worked perfectly)
– a sweatband to wipe my face
– the 4:30 and 4:45 pace bands (i only looked at them once or twice at the start of the race, then forgot about them)
– my garmin 220
– my fitbit (what’s the point of doing a marathon if you’re not going to get 50k+ steps?)
– my phone and headphones (for music)
i don’t have any better tips than i had last year, so here are my main tips from last year:
1. train with a group! it’s way more fun, and they help hold you accountable (especially for those mornings where you really don’t feel like running).
2. drink a lot of water a week before the race.
3. figure out what food works for you during training. (on our first 17 mile run, i felt like i had no energy. i researched online and realized i needed to eat two lunches the day before a long run.)
4. create a really long playlist. i thought mine was long (i think it had over 80 songs) but it felt like the same songs kept repeating.
5. turn off phone notifications. if you don’t want to drain your phone battery while running because of game updates, turn off all unnecessary notifications. plus you’ll want to save your phone battery for the finish line.