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Marathon Training Checklist
Marathon training is difficult no matter what level of runner you are but it’s even MORE difficult if you don’t have the right gear! To help you feel prepared we’ve compiled a list of what we consider the “Marathon Essentials”
This one may seem obvious but what many first time marathoners don’t realize is that not all shoes are created equal. Due to the pure volume that a marathoner puts in, having a good shoe rotation can help keep your feet feeling fresh, while also giving you some variety depending on the type of workout you are doing that day.
In general shoes fall into 3 categories, Daily Trainers, Speed Day, and Race Day shoes. While not a necessity, many runners like to have at least one of each type and possibly a 2nd more cushioned daily trainer for those days when the legs are a little flat.
Nutrition can make or break your race. Get it right and you’ll find yourself having the energy to nail your paces and grab that PR. Get it wrong and you may find yourself fading, or worse, in a port-a-potty fighting a different battle.
As a general rule of thumb you should consider fueling with 40-60g of carbohydrates per hour of running. This comes out to 1 gel per 30-45 min depending on the brand and your individual caloric needs.
Calories/Carbs come in various styles ranging from gels, waffles, chews, and even liquid carbs. What you use ultimately comes down to preference so we generally recommend that you try various types of fuel on your long runs to see how your stomach handles it.
Keep in mind that when testing you should stick to one type of fuel so you can definitively say that any gastrointestinal issues (or not) are due to fuel.
Though not part of the race itself, it's important to fuel with easily digestible foods the night before and morning of your race. Some runners will avoid foods high in fiber a few days prior just to reduce the risk of any surprise issues.
Similar to Nutrition, if you are over or under hydrating then it can be disastrous for your race results. There are a few different ways to estimate your hydration needs. General estimates state that runners should drink between 24-32 oz of water per hour of running. Some runners may also choose to do a sweat test to measure actual fluids lost during exercise. If you do go this route make sure to adjust for hotter and colder months.
Hydration also includes making sure your electrolytes stay balanced. Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, and calcium which our cells use to conduct electrical charges in our muscles. This is what causes muscle contractions among other chemical processes within our bodies. Electrolytes can also help maintain balance of fluids both inside and outside of the cells so it’s important to replenish those that are lost during exercise.
As a general rule of thumb runners should consider taking in 400-600 mg of sodium per liter of water they drink. While we also lose other electrolytes through sweating, sodium is the most prominent and should be prioritized when hydrating. Products like Salt tablets and electrolyte powders are an easy way to replenish on the go.
Outside of shoes, fuel, and water, the rest is really optional depending on the set-up of your race and your personal preferences.
Some races won’t have many opportunities to replenish your fuel or water which may require you to carry all of your fuel. A race vest or running belt is a convenient way to be able to keep everything you need on hand so you’re not reliant on aid stations.
For runners who easily blister and/or chafe, anti-chafe balm like Bodyglide or Squirrel’s Nut Butter as well as a good pair of anti-blister socks can make a world of difference.
Lastly during particularly hot runs, sunscreen, a running hat, sunglasses, or even neck gaiter can help keep your sun exposure down and help lower your core body temperature which will keep you cool and safe!
No matter what shoes, fuel, or gear your choose just remember this one golden rule: “NOTHING NEW ON RACE DAY”
All testing should be done in training to make sure that there are minimal surprises during your race so that you can focus on doing your best!