Marathon Training Fall 2014

It's that time again...Williams Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa Oklahoma on November 22nd and 23rd. The Williams Route 66 Marathon is a Boston qualifying race, ran through the historic and scenic Tulsa area.

Let's begin with the race last year. The conditions were the coldest I've ever ran in. It was 6 degrees.  Yes, 6 degrees. The big question is what to wear when the temperature gets that cold, and how to manage wind, rain or snow. The answer is layers.  The first layer should be a compression base layer, for upper and lower body, and needs to be closest to the skin. According to a study by Dr. John Jakeman,  “Although the precise mechanisms are still uncertain, physiologically, research has suggested that compressive clothing may affect the rate of cellular membrane turnover in damaged muscle following exercise, and alter the inflammatory response to muscle damage, accelerating the repair process.” Basically, quick recovery. The next layer needs to be some sort of wool or fleece. Fleece is a wonderful fiber that acts like an insulator. It keeps you warm or cool depending on your needs. The body puts off heat which becomes trapped in the fleece keeping you comfortable. The last layer you need is a wind/rain block AKA the shell to shield you from the elements.  My personal choice of brands for each layer, and what I wore in the 6 degree weather, are as follows: Nike Pro Combat for compression, Pearl Izumi or Brooks for thermal lined running tights, and North Face or Columbia for a wind/rain shell.

Essential accessories include, stocking cap, wool socks, wind block gloves and the cannot-run-in the-cold-without... Neck Gator. If I didn't have this one piece of gear, I would not have finished the race.  Hand warmers are a nice option for the beginning, until you get going. From my personal experience, I had a very cold toe. You might experiment with sock layers, such as a thin running sock and a thick wool sock. Smart Wool would be my choice.

Marathon Training.....

Begin with this book, 4 Months to a 4 Hour Marathon by David Kuehls. This book is simple and gets the job done. The basics to training are broken down into 3 phases: endurance, stamina and taper. Kuehls states about the first phase, that it lasts 8 weeks and focuses on endurance with a focus on leg turnover. The second phase lasts 6 weeks with a focus on stamina, while continuing to increase endurance. The third phase lasts 2 weeks and focuses on resting the body before the marathon.

Lets start with the endurance phase, weeks 1-8. The key is a weekly Saturday long run starting the first week at 7 miles and building up to a 19 mile long run by week 8. So, lets say 3 days a week (M W F) jog, and T TH cross train. Biking or swimming are good options. This allows the legs to become stronger, increases muscle memory and the cross training allows for recovery.

The stamina phase last for weeks 9-14. In this phase, you'll be increasing the distance on Wednesday's run and continuing the Saturday long runs with longest run of 24 miles on week 14.

The taper phase lasts for weeks 15 and 16. MWF jog 30 minutes, and T TH cross train with a 10 mile and 8 mile Saturday long run.

This training schedule was how I obtained my best PR in the Memorial Marathon with a 3:48.

There are several marathon training guides available online.  However, I recommend training with either the Oklahoma Land Runners, Edmond Running Club, Red Coyote running groups or Southside Runners who meet in the parking lot of the south office.

In the future, I will post more about running gear, nutrition, hydration, recovery, stretching; what works and what doesn't.