Now that the dust from my marathon has settled, and my sores have healed :), I thought it is time to retrospect on the experience, and share some tips.
I think it is important to have a training schedule, and especially one that you can stick with. I found Hal Higdon’s Marathon training guide online, and decided to use it to train for my marathon. This worked quite well for me. I setup a Google calendar with a reminder for all my runs, and synced this with my phone. This kept me motivated and ensured that I got the training I needed. A big thumbs up for this great online resource.
Choosing the right footwear is crucial, and you really need to find something that works for you and protects you from injuries. When I first started running relatively long distances (~ 6 miles) in 2009, I used to run with regular running shoes. However over a period of time, I started experiencing knee pain which unfortunately seems to plague most of the runners out there. I started looking around for solutions, and this was when I heard aboutVibram FiveFingers. I liked what I read and decided to buy myself a pair of KSO’s. I will be very honest, the first few days of running with my Vibram’s were painful. My calves hurt like hell, and the distance I could run without being out of breath or in pain went down considerably. But my knee pain became a thing of the past, and I only had sweet pain in my calves. So I decided to stick to my newly acquired Vibram’s and have been very happy with my decision ever since. Trust me there are plenty of nay-sayers out there, and Vibram’s might just not be for you, but they worked really well for me. I now plan to pick up a pair of Bikila’s which are supposedly designed for running.
Once you start hitting the 13+ mile mark, clothing becomes a very important consideration, since chafing can make your run extremely painful and uncomfortable. For shorts I would highly recommend Nike Dri-Fit shorts that come with briefs built in. For shirts, I just picked something that kept the sweat away (REI has a really good selection), leaving me dry and comfortable. Besides this for all other chafing issues, I picked up some anti-friction cream from Sports Chalet and that did the trick.
Beyond this, I found it quite helpful to pick up a bottle holder, that I could clip to my wait. This allowed me to carry some water, and also a few food supplies (energy gels, energy bars) for the long run. Also I bought a spare battery and a armband for my Nexus One. This way I could track my progress, and map my runs. If you have an Android phone, I would highly recommend CardioTrainer. Great app, awesome functionality, and it does not kill the battery.