Marathon Prep Hints (San Diego, Jan. 16, 1999)

Marathon Prep Hints (San Diego, Jan. 16, 1999)

Post by Ozzie Gonta » Sun, 02 Jan 2000 04:00:00

I'd like to start my rec.running New Year with an old year post.  This is
back from November 1966.  It's didn't age much.


In article


> Hi there !

> I am running the San Diego Marthon the first time. Infact I am running a
> Marathon the first time. I come from the Triathlon side and I am used to
> bring my sweat and running shoes to the start of the 10 K run.

> But what do I bring to the start of a Marathon with me. As advertised
> there are 26 water stations. How about food ? Some postings here said, and
> I think they may be right (my first winter in California...) , that it is
> kinda cold at the start.

> Please post any advice about, clothing and what you take along with you
> (PowerBars ?). Any food or drinking strategies ?

It most likely will be chilly in the morning.  Could be upper 40's or low
50's depending on weather.  Come dressed warm.  Bring a trash bag or large
plastic bag into which you can put all your stuff.  There's a place for you
to pick it up at the finish line. Write you race number on it
before-indelible ink.

First concern for many is making sure you can or have had a good bowel
movement.  For a lot of runners standing in the portapotty line it is a
mixture of nervousness and forcing fluids that last hour or two.  Many
people will have a cup of coffee first thing on getting up to help the
movement along.

The hope is that you have carboloaded the previous 2 or 3 days and drank
plenty of fluids to store the carbos in the muscle and liver.  It takes 3
grams of water to store a gram of glycogen.  The night before, hopefully an
early dinner, leafy salad, veggies, whole wheat rolls and break, a little
pasta.  For me the idea is an early dinner than has lots of bulk to it so
that the bowel movement in the morning is easy.  When I go to the pasta
carboload events the night before the marathon it's usually to be part of
the ambience and enjoy the community of fellow marathoners and get a little
of the e***ment...usually not to eat which I will have done an hour or
two before.

When it comes to ritual before the marathon, I do not tread.  The ground is
too sacred or...obsessive...or too personal.  Like Scott Hamilton the ice
skater said, "I'm not superstitious. Just because I wear the same socks I
wore when I won my first national competition...just because I wear the
lucky rabbits foot that was given to me before my first international
win...just because I wear my underwear backwards, like I mistakenly did
when I won the world championships..and the necklace that was given to me
by my Aunty Em...and the handkerchief that I cried in when I won the I'm not superstitious...I just don't want to be distracted.

1.  If afraid of chaffing, start 3 days before rubbing lotion in those
chaffing areas.  As you sweat, the lotion in the pores will self lubricate.

2.  Early marathons I never eat anything before.  I know I've stored enough
energy to get me through.  Many people will get up at 2 or 3 and have toast
and jam, or a banana, or orange juice and whole wheat toast with butter.  

3.   Later marthons starting between 10 and noon, many people will have a
very early breakfast 3 to 4 hours before the start. For me banana, whole
wheat toast and tea.

4.  For me, I stay at home or in my room as long as I can.  I'll put the
bed spread on the floor and then cover myself with a blanket and proceed to
roll out the muscles I know need loosening by laying on various tools i
use: two baseballs, two softballs, two tennis balls, a ma roller, a 30"
piece of 2" PVC, an 18" piece of 1" and 1 1/2" piece of PVC, plus some
wooden dowels 1", 3/4".  I loosen by mainly rolling on these various
instruments to help massage legs, gluts, back, diaphragm, neck and
shoulders.  Done slowly and lovingly.  A working title to discuss all this
for a chapter in my Mindful Running is " A Runner's Rationale for***
around bars, gutters and other places where you can get rolled.

In the Last Chance Marathon, Dec. 29th, '95 here in San Diego, I
experimented with taking small pieces of somekind of fruit bar then had and
placing it between my gums and cheek and letting it slowly dissolve. It
worked pretty good.  I have heard of too many people who have used the
various kinds of goos and other reload kinds of high energy sources...and
ended up with cramps or feeling pretty crook for a large part of the
marathon.   I think that triathletes have a better sense of eating while
exercising especially during long bike rides.  

With water every mile, no need to carry any.  With the carbo drinks along
the way make sure that you taste first before drinking.  Sometimes the aid
station people have mixed the drinks too strong...causing instant reverse
parastalsis or stomach pain of distracting proportions.  I always do a half
and half...mixing the drink with main concern being staying
hydrated and slowing the inevitable dehydration process down.

For easterners and others not use to the dry climate, the lack of sweat
feedback has destroyed many a good marathon.  If the humidity is low, the
sweat evaporates so quickly that the core temperature is kept low...and
there is no indication that one is rapidly dehydrating.  Only when you see
these "victims"
laboring from mile 16 on with the dried salt sweat lines caked on their
face, neck and arms do you realize that they have fallen into the trap of
"what a beautiful day."  While the ambient temperature is cool, the sun's
radiant heat is doing its damage as it keeps the runner cool by rapidly
evaporating the sweat...and keeping the runner oh so cool those early
miles....then "WHAM."

Drinking strategy:  Drink at all the aid stations.  You will be dehydrating
and all the water/carbo drink you can take will only slow the process
down...a want to be sure that you can push dehydration back
far enough so that you finish the marathon before dehydration adversely
effects your muscles and/or brain.

Also the Gontang Rule of Foot:  If you go out 30 seconds to 90 seconds a
mile faster for the first 3 to 5 miles, you will finish 20 minutes to 2
hours slower than your targeted finish time.  Because you have all the
energy stored in your muscles, you haven't run for several days, you are
carboloaded, hydrated and e***d...and easily influenced by those around
you,  you can take off and feel great the first few miles.  But the truth
is you can burn up your glycogen 10 times faster than necessary those first
few miles.  That's why you will often be passed at mile 18 to 26 by someone
who started  30 seconds to 60 seconds a mile SLOWER for the first 3 to 6
miles.  Remember long distance running is a matter of fat burning...and
intelligently distributing the glycogen as sparingly and as slowly as

As always, all the above is folklore tempered with some science.  If it
works use it, if it doesn't then don't give it a thought or any kind of
emotion.  Just go find someone who makes more sense and works for you....or
if you find something that seems to work better...please share it with
others so they can decide if it works or not.

In health and on the run,
Ozzie Gontang
Maintainer-rec.running FAQ
Director, San Diego Marathon Clinic,  est. 1975