Spring Marathon season is approaching! With the Gettysburg Half and Full Marathon on April 28th and the Pittsburgh Marathon and Half Marathon on May 5th, I wanted to go over a few things that may help improve your training experience. For those who are training for a Spring half or full, I hope your first couple weeks of training are going well. For those who are not training for a race, this post is for you, too! What I have to offer can be helpful to anyone who is walking, running, or hiking any distance.
Shoes-the first and most obvious piece of gear, unless you run barefoot. Most running shoes will last between 300-500 miles. When training for a long-distance race, you will probably need two pairs for training and race day. Some people will rotate two different shoes during training or will train in one pair and race in the other. This is all up to you. I would recommend wearing your race shoes a couple times before race day though.
Socks-just remember ABC: Anything But Cotton. Why not cotton? Cotton is comfortable, but not breathable. The average person sweats close to an ounce in your feet for every mile you run. The sweat will not leave a cotton sock but instead gets absorbed into the material, which will cause friction in your feet, which will lead to blisters, which are no fun. The extra moisture and friction could also speed up wear on your shoes which means you may have to replace them earlier than you would like. We recommend either a synthetic sock or merino wool, both of which we carry in our stores.
Apparel-Same as socks: no cotton. For those of you training for long distances, constant friction over hours of movement can lead to chafing not only at bands and seams, but also on chests and arms and other flatter body surfaces. This will not only disrupt your running, but also everyday clothes as well.
Nutrition– Your body is like a car; it spends fuel to go from point A to point B, and if you go for a long drive you will need to put fuel in the car to finish your journey. For longer distances, you will need to fuel differently during your training runs than in shorter distances (but hydration and fuel is key at all activity levels and distances!). You can use gels, chews, beans or fluids, and this is mostly a matter of your own preferences and what your GI system handles best. Each brand and format is designed to be portable in some way, and digested easily, quite literally, “on the go.” Be sure to read the information on each item with suggestions about when to consume your fuel. Try your fuel out on longer training runs to dial in the “when,” “what flavor,” and “how much” so when it comes to race day, you’ve got a good fuel plan going.
The biggest and most important thing I can recommend is to have fun! Training for any distance is a great accomplishment and while the work is hard, be proud of the work you are doing. My wife and I have a saying before a race: have fun, finish, and don’t die!
Good luck to all those who are running the half and full marathons. And to everyone who is making time to exercise and stay active in any way, you should be proud as well! Your AppRunCo staff are here to help get you set up to crush whatever goal you’ve set.
About the author: Darren Elledge is the Outreach and Sales Development Manager at both the Waterfront and Wexford stores. He has run over 30 marathons, but his favorite distance is the half marathon. You will see him all over Western PA running and hiking, or talking about running, walking, and hiking.