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3926 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Mar 28, 2011 7:14 AM by BOSNPM 1 2 Previous Next
Runningcolorado Expert 50 posts since
Mar 4, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 26, 2011 8:31 PM

How do I avoid hitting the proverbial wall during my 1st marathon?

I'm toying w/running the Flying Pig marathon on May 1st as my first marathon (I haven't signed up yet).   I've run as high as 21 miles in preparation.  However, I don't know what to do (refueling, extra training, etc.) in order to make it across the finish line w/o hitting the wall.   Any advise is appreciated.

Live, love, run

  • s874 Pro 81 posts since
    Dec 10, 2009

    I'm running my first marathon in June, so I'll be watching this thread. I am obviously not experienced, but what I am going to try to do is avoid a pace that isn't sustainable. Also, I expect that I probably will hit some kind of wall, perhaps horrible, perhaps not so bad. I just plan to remember that this is just the "hitting the wall" that we all hear about, and I'm going to try to run through it, and hope that the wall isn't too thick, and that I'll probably feel better later. Also, I'm making sure that I have sufficient and solid training. I ran a 20 mile run last week, 18 miles today, 20 miles again next Saturday and then it backs down to 13 miles for the following week. My training program has 5 different 20 mile long runs scheduled before my actual marathon. I know that after doing that much training, and getting comfortable with long freakin' runs, I will feel more confident when I FINALLY tackle the 26.2 in June. So that is my plan. Solid? I hope so. I can't wait to see the advice on here.


    One more thing. I do use energy gels. I'm a 120ish pound woman. I've found that if I only consume a half gel at a time, my tummy doesn't get all oogy, if you know what I mean. I also use the smaller size gels. I have a 6'4" friend that I run with, and he uses those double size gels, and consumes the entire thing all at once. That would make me ill. So if I just use half at once, I can still get the evergy boost from the gel, but I don't get the questionable tummy for a mile or so after. Today for my 18 mile run, I consumed one and a half gels, but only a half gel at a time. I have found it works very well for me. I also only drink water, and not too much at once so my tummy doesn't get sloshy.


    I just have to deal with putting a sticky folded over gel pack into my hydration belt pouch again. Not too bad. Today I ran the entire time, except when I dig out my gel and consume it, I change to a fast walk. I quickly take the gel, then start running again. I can't do that very well while on the run.



  • s874 Pro 81 posts since
    Dec 10, 2009

    Last year I did run 2 half-marathons and a 25K.

  • WendyMader Pro 26 posts since
    Jun 17, 2008

    Good advice


    Durning your long training run practice running the last few miles stronger then the first few miles

    During the marathon start out slow and finish strong as you practiced in training.


    Have confidence and dont tell yourself you are gonna hit the wall. My first marathon was during my first ironman in 1997 and I never hit the wall


    Wendy Mader

  • Carrjeep Amateur 24 posts since
    Sep 2, 2009

    Don't they make the gels in blocks now?  It wouldn't be messy that way...


  • s874 Pro 81 posts since
    Dec 10, 2009

    Carjeep, They do make them in blocks, and that's a good thought. I have tried them, and I have a hard time running and chewing them. I hope that doesn't make me sound lame. I find it's just quicker for me to suck down a half gel then get on with it. I don't mind the sticky gel pouch. It just works for me, but the blocks may be a good idea for someone who can both run AND chew at the same time. I'm afraid I'm going to choke myself, and last time I used them I bit my toungue, so I gave them up.



  • 64spokes Pro 60 posts since
    Apr 24, 2009

    I'm cheap, but standard gummi bears (worms, what have you) are remarkably similar to fancy energy blocks, albeit a lot cheaper.  Haven't gotten into runs long enough that I need to re-fuel, but they worked for me for 7+hr bike rides.

  • mbrown75230 Rookie 4 posts since
    Mar 1, 2010

    Smile.  I usually 'wall' at about mile 18 but remind myself that I am trained to run 21 miles and then I (literally) just smile confidently.  Once I get to 21, I can finish on adrenaline.  Oh those tricks the mind plays on the body.



  • ElFlaco006 Rookie 2 posts since
    May 13, 2006

    Have a gel or bar or other every 40 minutes.  If you bring gels/bars, then drink ONLY water to wash the goo down.

    If you've had long runs then you know what your pace should be.  Remember that in a race you will go faster than in training.

    Start at a pace 10-15 sec/mile slower than your target race pace even if you feel your body can go faster. See how you feel after 10 miles. If you are OK then bring your pace up a bit.  See where you are at after 17 miles and, if you still feel well, then increase your pace again.  I've had THE WALL come at me anywhere from mile 20 thru 23.  Good lunk.

  • WendyMader Pro 26 posts since
    Jun 17, 2008

    Whatever you choose, practice. Dont try anything new race day.


    Wendy Mader

  • JasonFitz1 Legend 578 posts since
    Jun 19, 2009

    Hitting the wall is a fueling issue where you run too low on glycogen, so you need to fuel appropriately before and during the race. Experiment during your long runs.


    Also know that you can push back the point at which you start to hit the wall by training more. A generally high volume program with marathon-specific long runs can help you a lot in this regard.


    Good luck!
    - Jason.

    Strength Running
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