Marathon questions and I hate nature sometimes

Yes, I will run 26.2 miles at once. But even more than that, I will run hundreds of miles to prepare for those 26.2 …

For anyone who has done this craziness before (I’m about to start getting ready for the Thunder Road Marathon in Charlotte in December)

1- What marathon training program do you recommend? I’ve been recommended Hal Higdon’s program and Runner’s World so far.

2- What do you wear for a marathon in December? Layers to strip off or less so you don’t have to keep up with anything?

3- What do you bring with you? Have heard everything from nothing to everything but the kitchen sink (including bananas). Water belt yes or no, energy gel, Body Glide?

4- I need to learn more about stretching, desperately. What do you do for stretching? I can’t afford to get injured during my training! My ankle already acts up during regular runs (did it the other day after 7 miles, which is nothing compared to what I will be doing!)

5- What else do I need to know?



In the love-hate relationship I have with nature:

In the past few weeks I have seen:

= 2 black snakes (one at my grandmother’s house, one on the sidewalk while walking the dog)

= a black widow (in my back yard. I even got a picture, and the pest defense guy confirmed it! See:)



 Black widow



























= a snake with a diamond marking on it (at Six Mile Creek near my house. Was it a copper head, rattle snake, water snake? I don’t know!) Didn’t get a picture of that one. Just hightailed it outta there.

= a cat (you laugh, but when you’re camping and you see two glowing eyes staring out at you from the woods, you’d freak out too!)

I think Lindsey is right; perhaps I do need to move to the city.






9 responses to “Marathon questions and I hate nature sometimes”

  1. Chris Avatar

    I can’t wait to start training. Watching Gabe makes me nervous, but I’m still excited to start doing it. We’ll motivate each other like we do. I’m curious to see what people say also.

    And don’t let the spiders, snakes and cats (oh my) keep you from doing your thing. Remember they’ll usually leave you alone if you leave them alone. Watch out for “sticks” in the middle of the sidewalk.

    Funny story: Last week when I was running I had my music on and these two guys came up behind me on bikes and I didn’t hear them and I jumped and looked back. I’m sure I looked terrified. They rode past me kinda chuckling.
    .-= Chris´s last blog ..Brew number two =-.

  2. Justin Avatar

    1. You want mileage. Most beginner marathon training scheds are similar enough, but concentrate on getting the most mileage you can with one long (10+ run in every week). As the months go by, you should be comfortably doing 30 plus miles a week with your one long run regularly over 15. I never followed any particular sched to a tee — just went with it. I rested at least 1 day a week, usually two. Helped me stay healthy I reckon. But that meant my runs needed to average 7 miles a run, not 5.

    2. Wear as little as possible in the race. Seriously, you don’t want to be wearing layers. My NJ Marathon was cool and rainy and I still wore my lightest summer running clothes and I was glad I did.

    3. Energy belt — no, there’ll be water and/or gatorade-style drinks at every mile, sometimes more. Unless you’ve got a real particular belly and only one energy drink works for you, I say skip it. Food: You should train with different foods you can eat WHILE you run, gu and shot blox being amongst the best since they go down easily (and stay down) and are portable. I like shot blox and trained with them and ate 2 every hour during my race –worked perfectly. Check out running shorts that have small liner pockets if you don’t have some already. Lube: If you get chaffing on your runs, you may want to lube up a little. If you don’t normally chaffe, skip it. Never bothered me.

    4. Some light stretching helps, it works for me. Hands against the wall, chest parallel to the wall, one leg straight back and then buckle it inward, stretching it each way. Keeps away the foot and calf pain. Ankles? I don’t know, stretch and roll ’em goo and outside of experimenting with different sneaks that might be all you can do.

    5. Mileage. You want it. It’s your friend. Get over 30 per week and stay there, and after months of it, get those big mileage days in — do at least two 20-milers. The rest will fall into place.

    Good luck!

  3. Justin Avatar

    BTW, as important as mileage is, don’t increase it by more than 5 mi per week. Easiest way to get hurt.

  4. Melissa Avatar

    Justin I was hoping you would comment (and I’m sure Chris was too!) thanks for the great info! Did you just get out there and run or did you do sprints/tempo runs too? Thanks for the advice on mileage. I put in about 23 miles last week running (not including cycling) so I’ll be sure to increase gradually between now and when training starts!

  5. Sweigart Avatar

    I have no clue about any of the running, Kevin will tell you that about me. About the snake though, if it was a dark brown or a black snake with light lines crossing on its back making a diamond shape, I would be willing to say it was a Kingsnake (nothing to be afraid of there – they kill the dangerous ones to us humans)
    You should have come camping with us this past weekend and you could have seen a small watersnake, then you would know if that was what you saw near your house.

  6. Justin Avatar

    My pleasure!

    I didn’t do any speedwork at all while marathon training, and very little tempo work (though arguably half my runs are “tempo” runs since I always pick up the pace and am going close to race pace by the time I finish — I love going fast!). I do speedwork now in 5/10K training but most people will tell you pure mileage is simple and effective for marathon training. Cross training — I know Hal Higdon (and others) is a proponent but it’s not for me. I’m sure his thinking is to give the particular muscles and joints a rest while continuing to give you a fitness workout, but as much as I like to bike — it’s not a training tool for me. My body knows what works best!

    I would have a weekly mileage goal and usually run on the same days (example: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday), but it was never a hard and fast rule — life isn’t straight-forward enough for me to have rigid daily goals. One week I would go Monday easy 5, Tuesday medium 8, Thursday medium 11, Sat easy 5, Sunday easy 13 and the next I might take off Monday if my Sunday was really hard and go Tuesday medium 7, Wednesday easy 10, Friday hard 8, Sunday easy 17.

    Remember, training HAS started. The moment you know you’re doing something, you’re either training or you’re not 🙂 You’ve got 5 months to go and you’ve already got your base going — you’re on your way!!

  7. Melissa Avatar

    Makes me glad I had a client meeting and had to miss the camping! Heard you guys had fun – I’ll join you next time!

  8. Sweigart Avatar

    We did have a great time! Probably one of the nicest weekend camping trips Ive been on in a while.
    You guys will definately have to join in next time.

  9. Whitney Avatar

    So, I’m totally with you on the snakes/spiders thing. I grew up in St. Louis, MO and remembered being all of 7 years old and knowing that a hoe was the primary tool used to whack the head off of a Copperhead. Me and snakes just don’t get along (harmless or not).

    Several years ago when I was doing archaeology I looked down, and to my horror there was a big, fat, black widow spider crawling up my boot. I completely freaked out! I definitely started beating myself with my shovel. It didn’t survive, and luckily it didn’t bite me in the process of my flailing about.

    Needless to say, me and spiders don’t get along either.
    .-= Whitney´s last blog ..In flyball, it’s all about the Box Loader =-.