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12628 Views 66 Replies Latest reply: Sep 8, 2008 5:39 PM by Christine13093 1 2 3 ... 5 Previous Next
runjb Amateur 35 posts since
Jan 31, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

Sep 6, 2008 1:43 PM

Help! First time marathoner (can't do more than 16 miles during a hurricane)

Hi All:

 

 

Thanks in advance for any help! MCM this October will be my first marathon. Currently, I am doing long runs on Saturday mornings and the last two weekends I have tried to complete 16 miles, however, I grind to a halt around 14 miles in what I can only imagine what marathoners call the wall. Basically my body just quits on me and I end up walking. Questions:

 

 

1. Am I falling behind where I need to be in order to do marathon?

 

 

2. If Question 1 is a no - I assume I am running out of glycerol in my body (from reading I've done)?

 

 

3. What are some good tactics, if this is the wall that I am hitting, to push the wall back to 20 miles?

 

 

Again thanks for the help - I really need it and I am feeling very discouraged at the moment.

  • x_39_and_holding_x We're Not Worthy 2,974 posts since
    Jan 19, 2008
    runjb wrote:

     

    Hi All:

     

     

    Thanks in advance for any help! MCM this October will be my first marathon. Currently, I am doing long runs on Saturday mornings and the last two weekends I have tried to complete 16 miles, however, I grind to a halt around 14 miles in what I can only imagine what marathoners call the wall. Basically my body just quits on me and I end up walking. Questions:

     

     

    1. Am I falling behind where I need to be in order to do marathon?

     

    It depends on your goals.  If you can run 14 miles now and you keep up the training, you will likely COMPLETE the marathon although you may not run the entire distance.  As for having to walk -- go ahead.  Walk.  Walk a quarter mile.  Or a half mile.  Then try to start up again.  If it's the wall, your body will figure it out and you'll be in fat burning mode.  The best way I've found to cover a set distance is to run "out and back."  Once you've gone 8 miles out, you HAVE to go 8 miles back.  Unless you have a cell phone and cab fare.

     

     

    2. If Question 1 is a no - I assume I am running out of glycerol in my body (from reading I've done)?

     

    I think you mean glycogen.  That could be it or you could simply be finding your maximum distance for your fitness level.

     

    3. What are some good tactics, if this is the wall that I am hitting, to push the wall back to 20 miles?

     

    You don't necessarily push it back to a set distance.  Glycogen depletion is more a factor of time and exertion than just miles.  The body switches to fat-burning once the glycogen is depleted.  We all have enough of that.  It's that switch that is "the wall".  By running long slow distances, you train your body to make that transition much more smoothly.

     

     

    Again thanks for the help - I really need it and I am feeling very discouraged at the moment.

     

    DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED!  You will have good days and bad days.  That's just part of the game.  The worst thing you can do is give up.  You have about 7 weeks until race day.  There's still time to get to the magical  "20 miler".

    >

     

    Chin up!  It's as mental as it is physical now.





    Obsessed with running and racing. It's all about the bling, baby! Suck it up and RUN!
  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,414 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

     

    There are several things you don't mention.  What's the weather like?  How well do you hydrate?  Are you eating anything on your long runs?  What's your normal training pace and what's your long run pace?

     

     

     

     

     

    I can make a couple quick suggestions. 

     

     

    - Slow down, maybe use run/walk.

     

     

    - Make sure you stay hydrated all the time, not just for your runs.

     

     

     

     

     

    You can still get to 19 or 20 miles (20 by going up 2 miles one week).  Anyway, walking part of your long run isn't the end of the world.  Read some of the posts on the long run thread.  Have you finished the 16 miles (running or walking)?  Don't worry about glycogen or the wall.  Hydrate, take in some calories during your long runs, and keep moving.

     

     

     

     

     

    Len

     

     





    Len

  • DCtoPgh Community Moderator 3,033 posts since
    Aug 15, 2007

     

    Hi JB

     

     

    I think you'll get lots of good advice here, let's see what other people have to say. With the disclaimer that I am not one of the more knowledgeable people on this board, here are my thoughts:

     

     

     

     

     

    1. It depends what you mean by "to do the marathon." To finish? No, probably not. According to  (which I used successfully last year), you should only be up to about 15 miles for your long run at this point in the game. 

     

     

     

     

     

    2. It is possible you may be running out of glycogen. Are you eating and drinking on your long runs? If so, what? When? What have you tried? There have been whole threads on just this topic alone, but water and fuel are important comonents of your body's ability to endure a few hours of running. 

     

     

     

     

     

    3. This is likely related to 2. If you are fueling correctly that can have a significant impact on your body's performance. However, there could also be other factors. We just came out of August and it's very hot- are you running in the sun during the warmest part of the day? That will slow you down more than you imagine. How fast are you going? You should run about 60-90 seconds slower than your weekly runs. If you go out too fast it makes it much easier to crash and burn because your body is burning glycogen more rapidly when you are running faster. Something I learned this year which has been a very important lesson is that I always start my long runs slooooow. I need to reign myself in and go much slower than I feel that I can, but I've learned this helps me have the energy left to finish strong. 

     

     

     

     

     

    Good luck! Ask lots of questions, there are some great resources here  

     

     





    I do today what you won't, so tomorrow I do what you can't.


    My Blog | i2P

  • Chuck Strong Amateur 10 posts since
    Jun 18, 2008

     

    I believe you are running out of glycol (sp).  A good tip:  eat a stack of pancakes about 4 hours before your long run and you'll find that you have the energy to go beyond the 14 miles.  Also take a gel energy packet with you and eat it around the 10th mile.  Hope this helps

     

     

  • DoubleEye Legend 645 posts since
    Feb 4, 2008

    Lots of good advice already here, some of which has already been mentioned, but a couple quick thoughts off the top of my head.

     

    - If you haven't already, try a run/walk strategy. For example, run for 6 minutes and then walk a minute. Keep that up and see how you feel as you start to get near 14 miles again. If you feel significantly better, stick with the run/walk strategy. What it does it lets your body rest BEFORE it needs to rest. I did this method last year and I liked it....it also helped to split up the really long runs since they can become intimidating! FYI - this year I am conditioned enough where I'm doing all running, but MANY people will be out there doing the run/walk thing

     

    - Prepare better. This includes everything from drinking gatorade as much as possible the day or two before the long run, eating some energy stuff in the morning, warming up and stretching, and starting your run as EARLY in the morning as possible. Weather has more of an effect on my running than any other variable, I think.

     

    - Try a new route, run with a friend or a club, or switch out songs on your new iPod. Keep things fresh, basically.

     

    Hope this helps and you can kiss "the wall" goodbye!

  • Chuck Strong Amateur 10 posts since
    Jun 18, 2008

    I got up at 2 am the day I ran my last marathon, ate a stack of pancakes.  went back to bed for two hours and then got up and ran the marathon, I felt great at the 20 mile mark while others around me were hitting the wall.

  • dutch omi We're Not Worthy 5,642 posts since
    Jan 19, 2008

     

    Another thing to try, eat carbs and hydrate well the night before, and then of course eat a couple of hours before your long run.  Whatever else you need to do has been written up in all the previous posts.  Good luck, and yes, you can.

     

     

  • FormerBAM We're Not Worthy 4,378 posts since
    Aug 21, 2007

     

    Chuck Strong wrote:

    I got up at 2 am the day I ran my last marathon, ate a stack of pancakes. went back to bed for two hours and then got up and ran the marathon, I felt great at the 20 mile mark while others around me were hitting the wall.

     

     

     

    I remember Kevyn did this too, got up about 3 or 4 a.m., ate a bunch of muffins, and went back to bed.  I'd never be able to go back to sleep!

     

     

  • DCtoPgh Community Moderator 3,033 posts since
    Aug 15, 2007

     

    runjb wrote:

    Oh sorry - more info on me...

     

    I am running at about 11/12 minute pace during the long runs (which I am topping up out at 14 miles). It's about 60/90 seconds slower than the weekly run which is typically 10 mins.

     

     

     

    I take off at about 6/6:30 am so it's not the hottest part of the day. I run with a camel pack and I drink it all by like 9 miles and I get refilled (my wonderful wife) meets me on the road and fills me up around 10 miles and I get a small gatorade. I also eat a granola bar at about 1:10 into my run.

     

     

     

    flap jacks idea is good - but do I get up and eat them at 2 a.m.?

     

    For me, this would be the problem. Half-way into training for marathon #2 I've learned that I need to eat every 40-50 minutes and I can't go any longer between. When running a funny loop this weekend I could have waited until 7 miles to take something, but instead took a gu at mile 3.5 and a trail mix bar at mile 7. A half a protein bar at mile 12 got me through to mile 17.

     

     

     

     

     

    Granola bars are good but they can be tougher to digest than some other foods. Have you tried gu? sports beans? Clif blocks? People who have sensitive tummies also use honey, bagels with natural peanut or almond butter, pieces of fruit, pretzels, even the mini candy bars (Snickers). Just some ideas to get you started

     

     





    I do today what you won't, so tomorrow I do what you can't.


    My Blog | i2P

  • FormerBAM We're Not Worthy 4,378 posts since
    Aug 21, 2007

    This is definitely trial and error. For my 18-mile run yesterday, I had half a GU after an hour of running and the other half at about 2 hours. I dont' know if it's the heat or what, but I can't eat anything at all anymore without getting nauseated. But I did drink two 20-ounce bottles of water and two 12-ounce G2's.

     

     

     

     

     

    Last marathon, I took one GU the whole time and could barely swallow it. Other than that, nothing but water. And I PR'd.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Good luck finding your combination!

  • cplmtz0121 We're Not Worthy 2,455 posts since
    Nov 1, 2007

     

    JB,

     

     

     

     

     

    I'd try eating before your long runs, if not 2am, try to get up at 4 and eat at least a couple of pancakes or fig bars, those work for me.  Maybe I'd also try to move back the time when you take ur gu gel.  I've read many runners make the mistake of eating too late in the run, when they're bodies have already run out of fuel. By the time you re-fuel, you've already begun to hit the wall.  Maybe it's a bad analogy, but remember how hard it was to re-start a car with a carburator, after it ran out of fuel?  Maybe try and taking ur gels at around 45-60 mins into ur run.

     

     

     

     

     

    OR, u could always stick a feeding tube in you before going to bed, have someone wake up in the middle of the night and puree some flapjacks and feed them to you...    j/k..

     

     





    Hard-charging motivating Devil Dog

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,414 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Hmmm . . . I just got back from today's run. It's a little warm out there. I'm going to assume you're doing some reasonable miles during the week, at least, say, 15 in addition to your long run.

     

     

     

     

    Did you finish the 16?? Walking, running, crawling, it doesn't matter. I've just about crawled in on a couple of mine - my last one now that I think about it. You have to realize that part of this marathon thing is pushing for that little bit extra when you think there's nothing left.

     

    I seriously recommend that you do your next long run run/walk. Do it right from the start - run 9/walk 1, or run 10/walk 1 or something like that. If you finished the 16 (hopefully standing up), make this one 17. That may sound harsh, but I think it's what you need to do. Push that horizon out and keep striving for it. I have a feeling that a fair part of your problem is mental. Teach yourself to keep moving. I know you can do it.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Len





    Len

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,414 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

     

    Oh, I also agree with the others about trying to get more calories during your run.  Either drink sports drink (Gatorade, etc.) or have a gel or granola bar or whatever every 4 miles or so.

     

     

     

     

     

    Len

     

     





    Len

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