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Managing Marathon madness

“You have to wonder at times what you’re doing out there. Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”
– Steve Prefontaine

I have been training since January for one race, the 2014 Ottawa marathon. I’ve battled through cold,  snow, wind and rain. I’ve run countless kilometres of boring treadmill sessions. I’ve logged more miles in five months than I ever had before and have pushed harder than I have ever pushed. It has had ups and downs.

My adventure was to train as hard as I could to run a lifetime PB at the Ottawa marathon, all under the guidance and advice of experts.

Ups and downs

• I’ve really started feeling strong after a few months

• Felt like I was running all the time and often crammed two or three runs in a day

• Got great nutritional and training advice from experts

• Set a 10K personal best and then nearly fell into the black hole of over-training

• Had some really fast training runs where I felt invincible

• Had one of my worst races where I was tired and struggled.

• Feel strong and light

• Hip flexors have been nagging me and affected training since late winter

Struggling at the Canadian Running Series demi marathon de Montreal.
Struggling at the Canadian Running Series demi marathon de Montreal.

The tools

Like preparing for any challenge, you need the right tools and support. I went in search of what I could with the time I had and came up with great support and advice. Regardless of what happens on race day – I feel I was supported and given great advice.

Shoes and gear – My New Balance 1400s that worked amazingly well and were recommended by local running shop gurus Peter and Doug at Sports4 in Ottawa. The New Balance technical gear kept me from chafing. A good pair of compression socks helped me recover from some brutal training weeks.

Training tools – The Vicsystem online training program allowed me to enter my training information and not have to really think about what to do next. It also forced me to run easy when I was supposed to recover and gave me a good indication of current fitness. A good heart rate monitor and GPS watch allowed me to accurately track distance, pace and HR to train effectively and not have to guess.

Advice – Some of the best things that have come out of this marathon adventure so are the people I have gotten to know. Getting to know some media figures in the running community has been a fun and useful side project. Advice from my nutritional expert, Allison Alexander, and Olympians Eric Gillis and Reid Coolsaet helped me really know more about how to train and how to do it properly.

The numbers

• 2512.9 kilometres run since January 2014

• 139.6 kilometres per week, on average

• Five pairs of New Balance 1400 running shoes

What I’ve learned with two weeks to go

• Trust in your training plan. You ill get there.

• Rest is as important as running. Listen to your body and when you need a break don’t be afraid to take one.

• You can adapt to a lot of work and running if you train properly.

• Stretching, hydration and proper nutrition become a must, not an option.

• With high-mileage and training hard there is a fine line between training and overtraining.

• There is always something new to learn about yourself and how to improve.

• Marathon training is mainly about hard work.

Life and running is an adventure. I am often happy with the process but believe that overcoming challenges makes us stronger and lets us see within ourselves. My day of reckoning is in less than two weeks.

See you on the start line.

Do you have a running story to tell?


You can also follow me on Twitter @NoelPaine or on my personal blog.