Here is another great example of why I love Dailymile. Not only do you get daily encouragement and advice from friends/people that have been running for years… The knowledge that is shared is amazing. This is a great list from Mattia M on training and running a marathon.
http://www.dailymile.com/people/LeoRNR (follow him if you’re not already)
Run relaxed. Get smooth and comfortable before you get fast. Run relaxed. The more relaxed you are, the more efficiently and longer you will be able to run. The tense runner works against him- or herself because the tension causes stiffness which in turn demands more work from the muscles." If you can run relaxed for the first 20 miles of your marathon, you have it licked. Practice running relaxed in your daily runs, especially the longer ones.Check 4 on your form:- breathing- arms- head- and make sure your cheeks are always "jiggling"It is essential for the Advanced and some of the fitter Intermediate runners to do some quality (strength and speed) runs. Just don't go over the line.
When adding mileage: the time-honored rule for building a training program holds that a novice should increase mileage by no more than 10 percent each week. For instance, if you run 20 miles during one week, you could add 2 miles the next week for a total of 22. Experienced runners can get away with more, but be careful about overdoing it!Be consistent with the long run. For example, if you’re a new runner planning on doing a marathon in December, by the end of September you should be able to do 10-12 miles comfortably; by the end of October, you should be able to run 15-16 miles, and by mid-November, you should be able to go 19-20 miles at least once. The same principle applies for novices in the half-marathon: 5-6 miles in September, 7-9 miles in October, and 10-12 miles at least once in November.
----THINK YOU CAN----
Marathon running is about mental preparation more than a lot of other factors. You don’t have to be the skinniest one in your gym to cover the distance. Nor do you have to be the fastest, have the most money, have the greatest-looking calves—or, for that matter, the greatest-looking running clothes. But you do have the mental preparation needed to finish. Running distances, whether it’s a mile or 18, is all about whether you know you can get through it. Especially when you hit a point in your run where you’re tired or your legs hurt or you’re hungry. The marathon is a testing event and many runners hit something called "The Wall". The Wall occurs at a certain point where you simply feel that you can’t move any longer. Your legs are exhausted and your energy stores are gone. Here is where you need the mental abilities to conquer the wall and the pain. Think about the finish line. Take things slowly. Think positively and that this pain is temporary. Unless of course you have a serious injury coming on- then take the proper care. However, if it’s just a question of whether or not you can finish, this is a race against yourself.Often it helps for runners to do other exercises that center more on the mind, like yoga. Yoga not only strengthens your powers to meditate and reduce stress, it also stretches your muscles and allows you to visualize your success. If you don’t try yoga, try this: think of a time when you felt strong, when you felt centered. And go there. Find your center and block out all of the negativity that is causing you to slow or stop or doubt yourself in the last miles of the race. Once you find it, you’ll be sure to finish.
----RACE: BEFORE THE START----
After arriving, note:The location of the bathrooms. Nervousness may lead to several visits. Get in line early, there's usually a crowd.Where to put and retrieve your warm ups.Where to meet your companions.The location of the finish area, if it is adjacent to the start. Try to get some knowledge of the finish chute system. Some races use different chutes for different ages and sexes. Find out which chute you must use and exactly where the line is relative to the chute, banners or other landmarks.
Hold back 1st 10 miles, pick up your pace (negative split) 2nd 10, then hang on last 10K. This is true for anybody, no matter the pace, no matter the age.
----The First Days After the Marathon----
After the glamour of finishing a marathon wears off, there is usually a price to pay. This can include muscle soreness, fatigue and feelings of depression.Delayed onset muscle soreness after exercise has been described often. DOMS is a feeling of stiffness and soreness that begins 8 or more hours after exercise and may last 3-4 days, (sometimes a week). Researchers propose several causes:* Damage to the muscle tissue itself. May be due to depletion of energy reserves or actual degeneration of muscle fibers.* Accumulation of fluid and breakdown products in the muscle* Muscle spasm.* Over-stretching or tears of the connective tissueThe soreness may be a result of one or more of these causes depending on the individual, his state of training and the activity. The most likely causes after a marathon are depletion of energy reserves and the accumulation of fluid in the muscles. The degree of soreness often indicates the extent of muscle damage and the duration of recovery.Pain relief can aided by icing, massage, light activity and slow gentle stretching. All of these things work by increasing the circulation to the area. The increased circulation takes away waste and extra fluid and brings new nutrients. Drinking fluids will help flush the waste products from the body.Light activity will help you recover faster than inactivity. Any exercise you can do will promote circulation and aid healing and recovery. If you feel like you can run one or two days after the race, find a flat soft surface such as a track . Start slowly, you may be quite stiff. After running a short distance, your legs should loosen up and running will feel better. This sensation will persist until your muscles start to fatigue and then they will start to stiffen back up. When you feel this begin to happen or if something hurts, you've had enough. When in doubt, don't run any more than you did the day before the marathon (about 10 to 15 minutes). If you feel too sore or stiff to run, take a walk or ride your bike or go swimming for 20 to 30 minutes to get your blood flowing. If anything hurts, ice it after your workout. If you don't have any joint pain, the long soak in the tub may be OK to take the day after the race.Post race depression is quite common. You usually feel a real "high" after finishing especially if you've done well and can talk to other runners and share experiences. The next morning the fatigue and soreness may make you wonder if the marathon was worth it. This letdown is a normal psychological response to meeting your goal and not having a new one. Some researchers have also suggested biochemical reasons for the depression as well. Don't make any plans or predictions until the end of the week. Take time to assess your performance, see if you followed your plan and write down both the good and the bad things that happened. Review your training diary to see what worked well for you and try to pick out any mistakes.Eat anything that looks or sounds good to you. You probably need it and you certainly deserve it. Your whole body will feel fatigued, plan to take it easy and go to bed early.
----AFTER THE MARATHON----
Generally, it takes a minimum of two to three weeks for the body to recover from the strain of running 26 miles 385 yards. Return too quickly and you increase your risk of injury. Some experts suggest resting one day for every mile you run in the marathon, thus 26 days of no hard running or racing! Others suggest one day for every kilometer, thus 42 days rest. Often the determining factor is not how quickly your body recovers, but how quickly your mind recovers, since you temporarily will have lost your main training goal. Olympic champion Frank Shorter says: "You’re not ready to run another marathon until you’ve forgotten the last one.
----RAIN AND DAILY TRAINING ----
There’s really not much to daily training in the rain. Just get out the door. You can last through most anything for 30 to 40 minutes. Just make up your mind and put one foot in front of the other until you are done. Here’s a quick tips list:Skip the dryer. Artificial heat sources contribute to the breakdown of high-tech shoe rubbers and glues. If you are expecting Monsoon season or the like of it — use the Bombay alternative and buy a second or third pair of shoes.Be seen. Wear a reflective vest, patches, or other bright-colored clothing. A glimpse of the reflective glow may be the only warning a motorist has to your presence. Battery-powered portable mini strobe lights also alert drivers.Moderate your pace for the conditions. Shorten your stride and stay relaxed.Staying dry is usually hopeless. Staying warm isn’t. Make it your business to avoid hypothermia.- Don’t wear cotton t-shirts in the rain. Many a novice marathoner can been seen struggling under the weight of a drenched, stretched cotton t-shirt weighing the equivalent of a choir robe. These tops cling, rub and weigh a gazillion pounds. Choose wicking Cool-Max tops instead. They're a little softer and don’t hoard rain drops.- If you’re really in doubt about whether to wear a jacket or not, try one of those nifty jackets that folds up into its own pocket and converts to a waist packet. Better than the novice jacket- tied- around-the waist look, and much better than getting the chills.- Most wet cotton socks are blister instigators. They bunch, wrinkle, crease and give your toes a wedgie. Pick an acrylic or polypropylene blend. Record in your log which socks are successful so on marathon day there won’t be any doubts.- Afford yourself little luxuries. A cap with some type of beak keeps the worst of the spritz off your face. Although it would probably fail in a mascara test.- Be extra careful around car traffic. Although the impulse is to rush the crosswalk, wait for the signal. Cars and drivers have a lot less control on wet roads.- Dry your shoes by removing the innards and stuffing the body with newspapers to wick the moisture out of your gear. Don’t put them on a radiator or in the oven. This was a favorite trick of my Mom’s. There’s nothing quite as memorable as the aroma of smoldering rubber oozing from a forgotten pair of shoes inside a heating oven.- Keep those gorgeous runner’s legs warm too! Tights usually do the trick. Heavy rain requires water-repellent pants. You’ll be warm, but the fabric swish swish sound of the legs rubbing together may drive you a little buggy.- Save the Gortex clothing for cold, wet weather. It's too warm for non-winter wear. Water and wind-repellent clothing suffice most the rest of the year.
---- TAPER ----
You should try to complete three 20-mile runs before race day; the last should be about four weeks before the race itself. The last long run (something like 15 miles ) should be two weeks before the race. Tapering is a necessary and effective part of training. It means to "taper" off your running amount so that your muscles have fully recovered in time for the race. According to Owen Anderson, PhD, "tapering is a judicious combination of work and rest and produces an incredible array of changes, including greater muscle-glycogen stores, expanded blood plasma, increased aerobic enzymes, improved running economy and heightened mental freshness." In other words: you’ve trained hard for months, now you’re easing up a bit to renew.
----THE SUNDAY LONG RUN----
The Sunday long run is the key individual item in your program "recipe". The single most important ingredient to marathon success is the long run." In context, "The long run shouldn't be more than one third of your weekly mileage." You need at least four or five long runs in your program. The long run is vital in "strengthening your legs, heart, lungs and mind." It is also vital in training your body to burn fat as well as glycogen and avoid "the wall"."Twenty miles is long enough" for your long run (22-23 miles for Advanced). "Long runs cause wear and tear on the musculoskeletal system. When you get much past 20 miles your body is fatiguing rapidly and additional pounding greatly increases your chance of injury. As you tire, your running from deteriorates, further increasing your vulnerability to injury. Runs beyond 20 miles seriously deplete your energy reserves and the minerals in your body. The potential gain beyond three-and-a-half hours of running isn't worth the risk. You may not make it to the starting line." (NB. The 20-mile long run computes nicely as 1/3 of your weekly total of 60 miles!).
----HYDRATION WHILE RUNNING----
Plenty of drinking seems to be the necessary ingredient to have fun. While it is not true for alcohol, it is indeed the golden rule of running. Drink before the race, drink at every refreshment table along the race, drink at the end of the race. Do not wait to feel thirsty before drinking: thirst is already a symptom of dehydration. Drink only what you are used to drink. It is not advised to try new sport drinks while on the race because our organism could not digest them properly.
----USE THOSE ARMS!----
When you're running hills, it's important to make an effort to pump your arms and increase you're arm-swing. It will help you improve your hill technique during the race. Have your arms and legs work together and not against each other. Too many runners neglect their arms and this results in not maximizing their effort. Also focus on using your arms at the end of the marathon when you're tired, as this will also help you maintain good form which improves your running economy, which results in you saving energy. Bottom line? Saving energy means running faster!
----JUMP ROPE WHEN IT'S TOO COLD----
Too cold or busy to get out and complete a full workout? Jump rope when you can’t get out and exercise. It is great for cardiovascular exercise, and it helps promote muscle balance while it strengthens muscles in the legs, arms, shoulders, and back.
When running downhill in order to gain speed, yet maintain control, lean slightly forward at the pelvis. In this position the gravity will give you speed but you will also alleviate some of the pressure on your heels. If you try to stop yourself by slowing down, you will use more effort. If you are in competition, you will benefit by not exhausting yourself in trying to reach the top of the hill, because you will have that extra energy to actually run and not "fall" down the hill.
Warming up before the event has both psychological and physiological benefits. Physiologically. the increased blood flow and muscle core temperature can be beneficial as can the facilitation and recruitment of the motor units. Warm up may help you to prevent injury during the run by having your body prepared and ready to go. Psychologically, it may help you to become clearly focused on the event and on your body. It may burn off a little of the pre-race "hype" and allow you to run the first mile at or near the desired split time. Often being in the crowd and being primed and ready to go can make you go crazy the first mile and run 30 seconds to a minute per mile faster than you wanted. This burns off glycogen which will be needed later. Be warned that warming up might also make it easy to run the first mile too fast because you are loose. Establishing a routine of pre-race activities which become "automatic" can also help calm you. Use a walk to slow jog to warm up the muscles and the core temperature slowly without causing fatigue or reducing energy stores. Start jogging about 20 minutes before the race starts. Slowly run for 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully do some easy stretching. Do not stretch before the race unless you have warmed up the muscles because a muscle pull or strain at this time would be catastrophic. After stretching, you may want to do a little bit of striding at race pace before getting into the start staging area. Warm up in your warm up clothing and slowly peel down as you get warmer. Warming up should also give you an idea of the amount of clothing necessary for the run. If the temperature is moderate to cool, you should feel chilly while standing in the staging area. If you are comfortable, you either are wearing too many clothes or will need to deal with hot weather running. Relax the last 5 minutes in your starting location.
----VARY YOUR TRAINING----
Running a lot will not make you become a faster runner. In addition to gradually increasing your distances (training your resistance), you must dedicate some time to training your overall strength and your speed. To build strength, interval uphill runs with downhill ones. To increase your speed, participate in races up to 10k at around 75% of your maximum pace.
During your workout, resist the temptation to stop running and walk up an incline. Walking up a hill takes more effort than to keep running at a slower pace. Reduce your speed to small, light steps. Keep your breathing at a calm and regular flow, and your upper body movements in sync with your pace. If you stop and walk up a hill, the gravity will make your body seem heavier and thus force you to proceed with a higher expenditure of energy.
Wearing a brand new pair of shoes in a race without having worn them before, shoes too big or the wrong pair of socks may cause you blisters. A good pair of platform technical running socks should solve the problem. For long distances applying Vaseline directly on the feet avoids blisters (Vaseline is also great to avoid abrasion on the nipples and in between the legs due to the repetitive movements of the running).
A common mistake made by runners training for a race is to be in too much of a hurry and not improve gradually and slowly. Do not do an increase in speed training and distance running at the same time. You will not completely improve in one area, but rather it will leave you frustrated and exhausted.
Replace your shoes roughly every 300 miles, and even earlier if you are dealing with some nagging injuries. Remember, even if the shoes don’t appear worn out, the cushioning and support of the shoes will break down. Be aware that your running shoes will most likely measure one-half to one size larger than your street shoes. Allow for at least a thumbnail of toe room for a proper fit, and don’t worry if you have to size up. Shoes that are too small could result in the blackening and loss of toenails. You’ll thank that larger size come time for flip-flop season.
----RUNNING AGAINST THE WIND----
Be aware of how windy weather can affect your running. Slow down when running in a strong wind. You are spending six percent more oxygen than in ordinary conditions. Running slower while against the wind will give you the same benefits as when you run fast during normal conditions. When you begin your work out, try to run against the wind, so that during your return you have the wind to your back and are not fighting to run against it when you are more tired.
----EAT & RUN ----
On your training runs and during the marathon, be sure to once in a while eat something. Take that piece of banana offered and chomp on that sports bar handed out at mile 6. It might seem a little weird to eat while exercising, but there are foods out there, such as the engineered sports bars and potassium-rich bananas, that digest easily and are perfect for a mini-meal on the go to up your energy. You won’t believe a difference it makes.
---- EAT ----
A proper diet is crucial for training. Be sure to eat a lot of carbohydrates- especially those rich in complex carbs and vitamins. Low-fat diets work best, although studies have shown that fat in a runner’s diet is essential for stores when all of the carb power has run out. Fluids are essential, especially in the last days before a race. In the week before the marathon, you’ll want to up your carbohydrate intake as well as your fluid intake. The night before the race, eat a good meal, but don’t overstuff yourself. Remember, marathons ( and most other races, for that matter ) take place in the morning. You want to be light on your feet, not sluggish, when the gun goes off. Eat something like pasta, a big baked potato, and a bit of protein, too: sunflower seeds, a little cheese, some chicken. Eat things that you’ve eaten many times before your long runs. Don’t introduce foreign foods now; you may pay for it on the race course.