Marathoning: on the one hand, it’s so simple. Just put one foot in front of the other for several hours until it’s time to stop.
On the other hand, it can seem really, really complicated, even from the moment of registration! Is there a lottery? Do you need a qualifying time? Can you even afford the registration fee? Assuming you figure all that out, it’s time to train. Which of the 4,000 training plans out there will you use? Should you opt for high mileage or run less, run faster? How long is a long run? How will you ever learn to choke down the glutinous, saccharin globs of gel that are supposed to fuel the whole endeavor? And is it even possible to finish without those supersonic $250 Nike shoes?
In other words, marathon training is full of questions. Way more questions than answers, in my experience. As I train for my first marathon (Berlin in September 2020), I would love to figure out which questions are important and which are just more noise, marketing, or other extraneous crap. I wonder, once I cross the finish line, what information will I be grateful someone told me, and what will I think was a useless waste of time?
(Alert readers may be wondering why Caraway training for Berlin sounds somehow familiar. It’s because I trained for it in 2016, but ended up injured and couldn’t run. This time will be different!)
Since I know that Salty Running readers run a lot of marathons, I’m turning to you as marathon training gurus. For today’s roundtable, tell us:
What is the number one thing you wish you’d known before you ran your first marathon? What was the most useless advice you got?