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Here are my thoughts on these three new questions. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org Subject line Question for Marathon Man.
1. What should you drink or eat during a marathon?
Nutrition during a marathon is critical to your success. Back in the 1970s when I started running marathons sports nutrition companies didn't exist. Besides water on the course we experimented with little things to help keep our energy going. My favorite was butterscotch hard candy. I pinned a few of these, still in their crinkled yellow wrappers, to the the waist band of my shorts, and would simply pop one in my cheek during the race. As it slowly dissolved, it would help give me steady energy.
Coke was also a go to product if we could get it on the course. Few races offered it officially but knowledgeable fans at old school events like Boston or Yonkers would sometimes hand out little mouth wash cups of Coca Cola, and it was pure gold.
I still think Coke works better than sports drinks. It offers caffeine, liquid and sugar and it helps keep your stomach happily settled. Today there are of course dozens of products and drinks and my best advice is to try a few in training and use the ones that work for you.
2. How should you pace a marathon?
The most common mistake is starting too fast. Men especially are far more impatient than women in the critical first 10k of marathons. If you are pacing well, the last 10k should be equal or faster than the first 10k. This means NOT starting like you were shot out of a cannon.
If your goal and training suggests a sub 3 hour marathon, you will need to average 6:52 pace but it would be a mistake to run that pace from the start. Instead you should run 7:00 to 7:05 pace and the 6:40s you will be running in the late miles because you were conservative early will feel great!
3. If you just aren't into the marathon during the first three miles, what should you do?
Breathe and move. Often a byproduct of the taper period is feeing lethargic in the early miles as you body remembers what to do. Many times tough early miles are an indicator that you'll have a great day.
How many times have we all heard the winners say, "I felt terrible early" and then they go on to win! Remember you are only human and it doesn't matter that you followed a perfect training plan down to the letter.
The marathon is still more like the common persons Mt. Everest versus something as predictable as telemarketers calling at dinner time. Remember marathon running is more like an expedition than a drive thru and not everyone summits.
(Marathon Man Gary Allen is a regular My Best Runs column. Gary Allen is one of a few runners who have run a sub three hour marathon for each of the last five decades. He is also a race Director and coach.)(01/14/2019) Views: 1,178 ⚡AMP
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