Marathon Training and Discussions


War Stories - Worst Marathon Preparation (Read 2330 times)


    As some folks prepare for their first or 31st marathon, I thought it would be useful to share some stories, not of hard work that pays off, but of rampant stupidity, ill prepared, completed marathons. I'm doing this as a public service for all those well prepared dedicated folks that are still doubting themselves. If we (the stupid out there) can do it despite all our lack of preparation and mistakes. Surely you're going to do just fine. Submissions will be evaluated under 5 criteria. 1. Finishing Time - must have one. Faster is actually better. 2. Pre-race mileage - Logged miles from 2 weeks prior to 12 weeks prior must average less than 40 miles per week. Bonus points for total miles over 10 weeks lower than 250. Lower is obviously better. 3. Long Run - Should not be longer than 16 miles in the 12 weeks preceding the race. Waivers may be considered if total miles are low enough. Lower is better. 4. Pre-race, or race mistakes - Poor nutrition, lack of sleep, or missing turns are only some of the mistakes that could be highlighted. 5. Injuries - Before, during, or after. Extra points for HTFU marathon finishes (See Rvelich). Let me start with my own submission. USMC 2007. 1. Finishing Time - 4:16:54 2. Pre-race Mileage - Average for 10 weeks (starting from 12 weeks prior to 2 weeks prior) = 18.36 3. Long Run - 13.7 (two weeks prior to the race) 4. I didn't decide to run this race until 3 days prior. I got a bib off of Craigslist and ran it to support a friend. At the start of the race, I wandered into one of the tents set up for workers and ate a Jelly Crispy Cream donut. Thought they were for runners. Overall, I probably lose points for starting slowly, walking a bit around miles 5 or 6, and finishing strong over the last 6 miles. 5. None There's a good mark on the wall. Lets get some submissions.

    I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.

    Princess Cancer Pants

      <3 :)>

      '18 Goals:

      • Recover from 2017

      • Surgery in March

      • Continue showing Cancer that it's not welcome back. Ever.

      • Rebuild to racing and big running & biking miles in 2019


      Getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to

      remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.    

           ~ Sarah Kay


        This weekend is the Portland Oregon Marathon. It was my first post-chemo race back in 2001... and this year will be the sixth time I've done it. When I did it in 2002, I had not run AT ALL, NOT ONE STEP in the three months leading up to the race. I ate green curry the night before (I think... I could be confusing the night before with the night before that). Anyway, I learned the hard way that curry is a natural laxative. YUM. 4:49 finish. I was actually only sort of sore and felt fine afterwards.



          When I did it in 2002, I had not run AT ALL, NOT ONE STEP in the three months leading up to the race.
          Now THAT is what I'm talking about, Stevie Ray. Very nicely done.
          I ate green curry the night before (I think... I could be confusing the night before with the night before that). Anyway, I learned the hard way that curry is a natural laxative. YUM. 4:49 finish.
          The color of the curry (green) adds a nice visual to this post. 4:49 was a great finish. I'm not sure overall how to grade this but you do lose points for not getting injured. Big HTFU points for getting right back out after chemo. At this point, I think you're in the lead.

          I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.

            It's going to be tough to beat curry.

            Go Pre!

              It's going to be tough to beat curry.
              c'mon JK - you can do it!
                I so got this one. I could pick one of about 5 marathons or the 2007 trifecta from September-December. But I'll go with the most recent. 2008 US Air Force Marathon 1. Finished 5:45:12 2. Pre-race mileage - 12 weeks (also the same as my 15 week total) 81 miles total =6.75 miles average (or 5.4 over 15 weeks) 3. Long Run - 12 miles (twice) 4. The fact that I ran it at all was my mistake. But, conned myself into thinking I could set a PR (which is still slow--just over 5 hours). Ran the first half in 2:20ish, and then my body gave out shortly thereafter. 5. I was completely cramped at mile 16. Started with my right leg, then eventually my left. If I tried to hit full stride, I would seize up--best I could do was a shuffle. So, I suppose I STFUd just to finish.


                  Thanks, Murph. I knew you would take a stab at this one. Spectacular lack of mileage. Really nice. Having done 12 miles more than once seems a bit excessive and hurts your overall score. 5:45 puts you in the "damn it must hurt to run for that long category" but I did say faster was better so it is probably a push. Awful pacing for that first half. Very well done. Not sure you get points for an injury considering that you didn't have any lasting effects. Right now, I'm going with Stevie Ray by a nose. Its possible that you could send this up to the judges in the booth (JK, DaddyO?)

                  I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.



                    I'll have to go back and look at my paper logs to see my specific mileage, but I have two good ones, and they don't count my first marathon that I ran before recovering from a stress fracture & tendonitis. First: Maine Marathon 2003/10/05 Gun Time: 3:18:40 (7:35/mile) Net Time: 3:18:23 Overall: 50 Male: 45 Division: 6/35 (M2029) 9 weeks before the marathon, I met a girl at a bar that was doing a 5 miler the next morning and talked me into joining her. (She never showed, but I met a woman on the ferry to the race and hooked up with her instead.) Regardless, the night I was out drinking, I realized I only had 1 week until a big 10k I'd registered for months earlier. Then I realized I only had 9 weeks until the marathon that I'd registered for even earlier than that. Then I thought about the fact that I hadn't run more than once or twice in a single month for at least 8 months. So, I raced my way into shape, w/a race every weekend except for one (where I went back to visit some friends who were still in college and got in a 12 or 14 miler with them - I'd have to check but I think it was 14.) Total mileage in the weeks prior to the marathon were probably in the 20s or 30s, but I'd have to look to be sure. I don't know about how many mistakes I made other than not being in shape. It's the only marathon I've finished where I was out of sorts afterwards. I couldn't figure out how to use the space blanket, so while I was trying to find the food tent they brought me to the medical tent, which confused the hell out of me because I thought they were bringing me to the food tent and I couldn't find any foot while I poked around in there. No injuries. Second: My first Boston Marathon 2005/04/19 Gun Time: 3:42:31 Net Time: 3:40:37 Pace: 8:25 Overall: 5263/ 17549 Male: 4503/ 10894 Division: 2343/ 4012 Far and away my worst marathon I've ever run. Back story: After running in San Antonio the previous winter (where I pulled my hamstring a couple weeks before the marathon doing cold weather hill repeats and then repulled it 12 miles into the race but decided to just slow down but keep going and got another BQ) I was staying at my brother's place, which was disgusting. Wound up getting really sick. Fast forward 3 or 4 months. I'm still sick, although my head and chest issues had gone away but I couldn't sit on the pot without being in pain. Thought I might have colon cancer (it runs in my family.) Any time I ran more than 4 miles, I'd be in so much pain from the rawness between my cheeks that I'd have to stop. This continued until about a month before Boston when things got better. I decided that I would train as well as I could, and if I felt I could realistically run 26 miles then I'd compete, otherwise I wouldn't. Of course, I ran. I went out slow, and stayed pretty consistent the whole way, but that race hurt more than any of my other ones. This was also before I started using anything but water during a race, the race started at noon, it was in the high 80s and humid, and I was just dying. I never saw my wife (g/f at the time), although I did spot her sister. One thing that I did right was enjoy the company of the Wellesley girls and obey their signs as I went by; that was fun. Then I put in a little sprint for them and that really came back to haunt me almost immediately. The worst mistake that I made, however, was to drink milk that weekend, which brought back the liquid squats before, during, and after the race. (It was not the colon cancer, it was a developed lactose intolerance, but I wouldn't discover that that was the cause for another 4 or 5 months after this.) The next worst mistake was to not eat anything after the race. I was hurting a ton, I had no appetite (which is very unusual) and I just wanted to take a nap, so by the time we got back to my buddies' place I was barely able to move and refused to eat anything until I'd slept. I couldn't sleep of course, and by the time I tried to eat I was so nauseous that I couldn't keep anything down. My buddy's brother didn't help things by trying to tell me about a drunk bum on the subway that threw up on his friends shoes. The only reason I didn't was because I couldn't get any of my food down so there was nothing for me to join in with after hearing the story. I don't remember any injuries as a result, just being miserable. If you want more lessons, buy my book on marathon preparation. That's chock full of the lessons I've learned from all my races. Wink

                    Run to Win
                    25 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)

                    A Saucy Wench

                      1) Finishing time 5:29:40 2) heh. Total mileage in the 9 weeks leading up to the marathon - 31.5 miles. (I did have 3 long walks in there also) INCLUDING 20 in one run 3 weeks before the marathon. Total mileage in the 13 weeks prior to THAT 201.9 . Average for the "16 week training program" - 166.25 miles, ave 10.39/week Peak 25 miles 12 weeks prior to marathon. 3) Oh no I got a 20 in. But I think the fact that it was 100% of my mileage for the previous 8 weeks has to count for something. 4) Lets see, way undertrained but determined to finish. Sick as a dog. Took a sleeping pill the night before. Was kept awake all night by my sick 1 year old. If you have never experienced what happens when you take a sleeping pill, but dont sleep - not good. Knew within the first mile that I was going too fast but didnt want to lose my friends. Probably had hyponatremia to some degree. Felt nausea BAD Took in Gu every 45 min - drank gatorade from my camelbak plus water on the course because I thought i was dehydrated. I remember injesting a salt packet from McD's at about mile 20 and it tasted FAAAAABULOUS 5 - oh where to begin. Tore my calf muscle 9 weeks before. Attempted to walk my long runs and found out that walking uses all different muscles and gave myself peroneal tendonitis in both ankles to the point that my ankle was purple after my 20. Had a fever and chest cold for the event. Oh. And had chronic metatarsalgia during training and the marathon but never had a doc look at it because I figured they would tell me not to run.

                      I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets


                      "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

                        Okay, keep in mind that I've mostly walked the six marathons that I've done so far. Least prepared has to be Yakima River Canyon 4/5/2008 Finishing time: 7:26:48 Note, that was only 7 minutes longer than Portland six months before when I was well prepared. Pre race mileage: March - 72 miles total. February - 86 miles total Longest pre-race mileage: 22 miles on 3/15/2008 Mistakes: Let's set the picture here. I'm sort of retired, but work for a tax prep service from January to April 15th. Also work a regular part time job 20+ hours a week. So, worked the Saturday before so I could have the weekend off for the race. Between the two jobs worked about 50 hours in 4 days the week before the race. Left the office at 7 PM. Left home to drive to the race at 6 AM the next morning. Went out and visited wineries and tasted a lot of wine in the Yakima area the day before the race. (After all, you aren't supposed to change your normal routine before a race and that's what I would normally be doing in that area.) Everybody in both of my offices and hubby had the crud that was going around last spring, and I started coughing about 3 days before the race. Considered a DNS but decided I'd start and I could always take a DNF if it got worse. Got to the mountan at mile 21 or so and had to stop every 50 to 100 steps because I couldn't take a deep breath without coughing. But, I finished. I wasn't last. I was first in my age group (because I was the only one in my age group). And I came within 7 minutes of my PR. No injuries, but I was sick for the next week with the crud.

                        Marathon Maniac #991 Half Fanatic #58 Double Agent #22  It's a perfect day and I feel great!


                          2008 Yakima, oh man.
                          I was sick for the next week with the crud.
                          Maybe you got it from me. I showed up at Yakima with the crud... had it for a couple weeks before. I ran that whole race coughing up chunks. YUCK. Maybe next year will be better!



                            Very uplifting stores. Every one. Lets review the bidding. Blaine had two very good stories. But before those could get scored, Ennay threw down the gauntlet. Ennay in the lead. Spectacular. The training through injury causing more serious injury stuff was especially inspiring.

                            I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.


                            Top 'O the World!

                              believe it or not, this has been a bit helpful in re-setting my brain training has fallen pretty flat these past couple of months Roll eyes was doing pretty well before that...but, life, work, foot issues, now cold/flu crap!! has taken a bite out of my consistency & today's 10 miles sucked big time!! & I've been worrying about surviving my little "long run" in 2 wks!
                              Remember that doing anything well is going to take longer than you think!! ~ Masters Group
                                Only two mistakes... Hatfield / McCoy marathon: 1) 40+ beers the 5-6 days prior 2) Lots of jumping around in pounding Atlantic Ocean surf (dead quads to start) My only finish in the bottom half of a 100+ person field. Slowest marathon time: 4:42 (1st - 4:34, 2nd [flying pig] was 3:39) Developed posterior tibial tendonitis trying to hit training run too hard two days afterward. After moderate recovery from that, I injured my SI joint.