Hi All

I'm just about to start Phase 2, and had some comments/questions that I thought I'd throw out into the forums here.

My first attempt at a marathon ended in a DNF in July, due to a knee issue. The root cause was ITB/weak core, but a shortened 6-8 week super intense training program didn't help, and probably contributed to the injuries.

So, since I had just finished reading TCI, I reassessed my goal, got over my injuries with some clinical Pilates, and picked a marathon that I could use the TCI 20 week program on.

With the Hobart Cadbury Marathon (Australia) chosen, and ambitious targets set (I'm trying to qualify for Boston [sub 3:15] with my first marathon attempt), I started the program 12 weeks ago.

I'm 41, but extremely active, and play soccer, ultimate frisbee, touch football and running. I've probably only taken running serious for the last 4 years (I'd mark purchasing a Garmin GPS watch as getting serious:)

I was only just interested in 5km races initially, but after reading Born to Run, and Jurek's Eat to Run, I've become more interested in the allure of marathons.

The pre Week 1 tests saw me turn in a 6:06 for the mile, and the 20 minute test saw 2.9 miles at a 6:55 pace, and average heart rate of 161. Also, my first weigh in was 162 lbs.

I've been wearing New Balance Minimus Zero V2 shoes, and are very happy with these zero drop shoes. I'd been wearing Vibrams for the past couple of years, so I was no stranger to the minimalist mind set.

Since the start of week 1, I've always done the maximum. 5-8 sets? I do 8 sets. 20-40 minute run? I do 40 minutes. I've never felt overtired or fatigued from taking this approach. It is sometimes challenging, but I need to be stretched if I'm going to qualify for Boston.

I've noticed that sometimes my heart rate takes 10-15 minutes to come down into the desired zone, and realize that this is a sign of overtraining and fatigue, but physically I feel fine.

I didn't start the strength and stability program until week 6, mainly because I'm dumb and/or lazy. It took an achille tendonitis issue caused by a hill sprint session for me to go to a physio and say this is sore. She then showed me the exercises that I should have been doing from week 1! Doh!! It was almost like the physio had read your book Eric, but she hadn't!

Anyway, I do the exercises as the book and video suggest now, and guess what? Surprise, surprise, no injuries or issues. It's just like magic:)

Diet is a bit of an issue. I'm definitely addicted to sugar, and have tried to kick the habit a couple of times over the past 2 years, but tend to relapse after a week or two. I've gone fairly hardcore since week 5, as I was see sawing with my weight and not seeing any major changes, even though my running had increased markedly. From week 6 though, I've lost 10 lbs, and found that I am pretty close to being fat adapted (No appetite, 3 meals a day, eating nuts when hungry fills me up). I'm also vegan, which makes things a little more interesting.

I'm unsure about eating and drinking on my long runs, and would like some advice on that. I've been told by one coach that I shouldn't worry about food/gels if I am trying to run a sub 3 hour marathon, and have read a website that seems to confirm this (you punch in your pace, time running, etc, and it lets you know if you need to eat during your run, while letting you know how many calories you need to carbo load within the 24-48 hours prior).

With water, I just hate stopping to drink at a fountain on my runs, as it totally throws off my rhythm. I never feel like I am super thirsty, but will I need to hydrate during a 3 hour race? I read an article a while back about the African marathoners and how they improved their performance with dehydration at the elite level, with up to 10% dehydration levels. Is that type of thing best left to 2 hour marathons rather than 3 hour marathons?

My week 12 recalibration tests were really good. My mile time improved by 25 seconds to 5:41, with a slower average heart rate of 163. During my 20 minute test, I managed to post a PR for 5km's, with a time of 19:38!! This bettered my previous best time by 20 seconds, and this was a training run, not a race!! My average heart rate though, went up from 161 to 163 during this test. Coincidentally, my mile and 20 minute average heart rates are the same. I'm not sure what to read into that, so any analysis would be appreciated.

My cadence is always good, at 175+, and my form I think is fairly decent, although I have to consciously think about the stepping over the logs thing for my knee lift.

I seem to think that I am on track for a sub 3 hour marathon time, and my Garmin FR 620's VO2 Max function seems to think that I can run a marathon in 2hrs 53mins, so who am I to argue with technology:)

Anyway, thanks for reading my really long post, and if you have any comment/queries/answers for me, I'd be more than happy to hear them.



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on my vast experience of just 1 marathon, be prepared for a tough last 5 miles, as others have said a marathon starts at 20 miles. good luck

Thanks Rich:) I have no doubt that this will be hard, and frequently question my sanity. Luckily the voices in my head tell me I am perfectly fine:)

Really cool to see your progression and marked improvement! Your fitness level is increasing. The faster the marathon, the less you will need, but you likely will need some calories and water/lysis to avoid bonking, you just won't need them till maybe 90 min in and small amts to avoid gi issues. Practice on longer training runs would be my advice

Thanks Lori, I'll give that a go. I was considering a forced bonk on one of my long runs, just so I can recognise what the lead up feels like and what actually happens, but it would interfere with the program:)

Per Eric, the increased average heart rate in your 20 minute test is a good thing: see http://www.runningwitheric.com/forum/topics/analyzing-my-20-minute-...

I've gone to that link Jacob, but can't see any comments from Eric about an increase in heart rate. The thread talks about variations in pace a lot though.

Oops, posted the wrong link.  That's what I get for trying to do a quick response.
Correct link: http://www.runningwitheric.com/profiles/blogs/finished-phase-1


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