Last Minute Marathon Lessons

October 3rd, 2011 | Posted by Alison Spath in Fitness

So it’s the first week in October, and that means this is marathon week over here.

October Calendar

I’ve had a couple of training trial and errors through the month of September, and there’s a couple things I’ve learned over these past 4 weeks.  This little ditty is for you long distance runners out there who might find yourself signing up for a marathon at the last minute because you were thinking “hey, that sounds like fun!!”

If You Are Planning to Run/Walk a Last Minute Marathon Because You’re Under Trained,

that means you’re supposed to STAY under trained.  Yes, of course you need to get some long runs in before the race, but that doesn’t mean you try to cram in as many as you can between now and race day, I don’t care how good you’re feeling!  There is no making up for lost time.  This approach is meant to SAVE you from over training when you’ve only given yourself one month to get ready and is supposed to protect you from injury!

I hope you realize I’m yelling mostly at myself.

On a long run one week ago, after running up a huge hill and then stopping for a water break at 10 miles, I had some serious knee pain appear out of “no where”.

Except not no where, because I have significantly increased my mileage in a short amount of time.  I had no problem on my 15 mile run two weeks ago, but one week was not enough time between long runs given how quickly I increased my mileage.  I’ve run mostly injury free for the majority of my six year running career, but I’m nothing short of an idiot to believe I could escape an over training injury if I pushed myself too hard, too soon.

My knee pain on that day was so severe it totally caught me of guard and just about brought me to my knees – er, my good knee, I should say. I actually spent a few minutes pondering/panicking over how I was going to get myself the three miles home.  Fortunately, the pain eventually eased up with some walking and I managed to walk/run the rest of the way.

Assuming I just needed to take a few days off and be done with the long training runs for this race, I wasn’t overly concerned about it until the end of the last week.

Feeling fine at the start of ordinary week day run, any knee problems forgotten after the first 30 seconds of normal, pain free running, knee pain returned at in the middle of mile three (although less intense) after climbing a long, steady hill.  I ran/walked the last two miles home, totally discouraged and bummed about what it might mean.

With some lateral (outside) knee pain and with the assistance of Dr. Google, I diagnosed myself with Ilio-tibial Band Syndrome.

Cause:  Training error – increasing mileage or intensity too fast

Basically, it’s that bright yellow band of tissue messing with my knee.


Signs and Symptoms: Pain may not be present until mid-way through a run, often not until climbing a hill

Well I’ll be damned.

There’s a bunch to say about ITBS.  I’ll spare you the details and leave the link clicking up to those who want to know more.  But since my unofficial diagnosis, I’ve done everything the Internet has told me to do.

Rest. (crossing training on my bike, daily yoga)

Ice.  (20 minutes a couple times a day)

Stretching the IT Band. (lots of hip opening, but this stretch especially.)

IT Band Stretch

New Sneakers (historically, knee pain = time for new kicks. I was overdue anyway, I’m kicking myself for not realizing this sooner.)

Asics Gel Nimbus 13


Foods to Reduce Inflammation (like ginger?  and blueberries?)

Ginger in my all time favorite form:

Green Juice

Hey, is it just me or does that that ginger sort of look like a phone?

Ginger Phone

Ring! Ring!

Hello? Oh Hi!
Chatty You're Kidding!

Ummm, your green juice called. They want their joke back.

Green Juice Calling

Plus poppin’ these babies like candy. Or maybe antacids.

Frozen Blueberries

The Good News?  It all appears to be working.

My past few runs have all been pain free and I am therefore feeling cautiously optimistic about the race.  I’m glad I’ve still got 6 more days of rest ahead of me here, and I did learn some important lessons on those two pain-in-the-knee runs:

ONE! I will run this distance SLOWLY given the amount of distance training I’ve done (or more accurately, lack thereof)

TWO! Run and WALK like the plan HAS BEEN ALL ALONG, LADY!

(P.S. – this is a great article on why walk breaks are great for all levels of marathoners – for those you just learning to run, let this encourage you to take walk breaks too!)

THREE! Walk up all hills.

And more good news? This is a downhill course.  (click to enlarge)

Steamtown Marathon Elevation Chart

This particular race is not about speed, it’s about going the distance.  THERE WILL BE NO PERSONAL RECORD’S this year – DO YOU HEAR ME, YOUNG (ha!) LADY??  It’s about ignoring my natural tendency to push the intensity of anything and everything to its breaking point.  This race is about feeling the primal groove of running in a pack.  It’s about having a good time on a popular course and all the energy and excitement that comes with it.  It’s about making up for the marathon I had to drop out of at the last minute last year.  It’s about getting across the finish line before the 6 hour time limit is up.

The biggest lesson to be learned of all here, marathons are no joke.

If you’re looking for me – I’ll be on my yoga mat until Sunday, talking on my ginger phone and trying not to get any blueberry stains on anything.

Please know that links to Amazon are affiliate links. It doesn’t change the price you pay, but if you buy something from Amazon after following one of the links in my posts, I earn a percentage based commission from Amazon as a part of their affiliate program. This is one of the ways I generate revenue from the posts that I write here. I promise that I only link to items that I truly endorse. You don’t ever have to buy anything, but if you do, thank you for supporting the site and the work I do here.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses

  • Katheryn says:

    IT Band issues are no joke! They hurt! Do have a foam roller at home? If not, a rolling pin can work too. Start at your hip and slowly work your way down the side to your knee. It hurts, but helps. Good luck!

  • With channel cats I use a lighted bobber and you can use either
    a chemical light attached to your bobber or there are several battery operated lighted bobbers that work well too.
    Velocity boaters like finding around at a quickly pace even though most fishermen want a boat to get to the fish
    so they usually shift at a slower pace. More important than the `Test’ strength of
    the line is the proper use of knots, discarding line when it gets frayed or damaged,
    and not trying to `hoist’ a fish into the air with your rod
    and reel.

    My web page – dock box decorative hasp locks

  • It records all the transactions taking place in a company so that you can always
    have a check on the losses if required and according to generally accepted accounting principles, the basic framework of accounting should always include finance and accounting records.

    They will do all the talking for you with the agent.

    Itemized deductions and personal exemptions do not affect self-employment taxes.

    My web site … Boca Raton CPAt testing