This had been my third marathon race for the year and and I joined this race five weeks after participating in the 2009 Los Angeles Marathon. I did not expect a good finish time for this race ( sub-4 hours) as I knew I was not yet fully rested and recovered from my past marathon races and one ultramarathon race (BDM 102) since April of this year.
On hindsight, I could see the following lesson learned which I kept on violating whenever there are major races and there are also good observations that I could maintain as a result of the race:
1) Easy Long Runs—Marathon race is an endurance running sports. A runner must be able to run a minimum of 32 kilometers in his/her long runs. Better yet if he/she could run the full distance of 26 miles/42 kilometers at least 3 weeks before marathon race day. I never had any long run (32K) as far as the said distance 2-3 weeks before the marathon as I concentrated in shorter distance and hill workouts. Those runs were not enough to develop the endurance capability of my leg muscles and this was the reason why I was already having “muscle cramps” before reaching the half-marathon point. As an advise, let your legs experience what it takes to run the distance (42K) no matter what is your pace is, the more time you keep your feet running on the ground, the better for you to survive in a marathon race. Remember, in a marathon race, the race starts on your last 10 kilometers before the finish line!
2) “All Running Shoes Are The Same”—There had been a lot of arguments about the appropriate shoes you should use in running for training and/or racing in a road race. For the “newbies”, they have to take advantage of the running specialty stores that we have right now in Metro Manila which have those “high-tech” stuffs that determine your own gait/stride/foot strike analysis. But for me as an “old” runner, I’ve been a consistent ASICS and New Balance Shoes user. Lately, I’ve been using the lighter racing shoes in my full marathon races and I did not have any problems.
3) Weather Affects One’s Performance—I have observed that running in colder countries improves one’s running performance. If you have plans of running a marathon in colder countries like United States, it is highly recommended to train in our country and allow some time to acclimatize at least one week or few days before race day on the locaton of the race. I am sure you will have a better marathon finish time if you run your race in colder countries.
4) Rest & Recovery—In the book, “Lore of Running” by Dr Tim Noakes, he is recommending to all serious runners to run at least one or two marathon races a year or one marathon race and one ultramarathon race per year which are spaced in between with rest and recovery before training. I guess, I have already violated this recommendation for this year. He also stated in the book that “the more you race frequently, you will never achieve the fastest time your body is capable of”.
5) Finally, I’ve accepted that my best in the marathon race is already past—I would never attain my best time of 3:30+hours when I was in my early 30s. However, my training preparation for my next marathon is geared towards a finish time of 3:45 hours or less. I hope I could make it to the Boston Marathon.