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Frequently Asked Questions: Debut Marathoner Edition

by Athletico9 Comments

Frequently Asked Questions of First-time Marathoners
So this is your first time running a marathon. You have made it about halfway through your training program and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. You may still have some questions looming that you may not have the answers to. Listed below are some frequently asked questions of first-time marathoners.

Should I run through pain?

Marathon running may cause soreness

Marathon running may cause soreness.

  • First ask yourself what type of pain am I experiencing? Is it just a general soreness or is it a sharp shooting pain? If it is just a general soreness that you have during or after your run it is probably fine to run through this type of pain. However, if you have something that is a little more severe, you may want to address the pain you are experiencing. If the pain you have causes you to alter your running stride, makes you stop mid-run, or does not go away within 24-48 hours following your run, this is the type of pain you may want to get checked out by a medical professional such as a physical therapist or doctor.

How can I avoid and treat muscle cramps?

  • Hydration is extremely important for those running long distances, especially marathons.

    Hydration is extremely important for those running long distances, especially marathons.

    Muscle cramps are common among runners, especially long distances. Muscle cramps are usually due to poor hydration including water and electrolyte imbalances. It is important to hydrate before, during and after your run. Try to drink 16-24 ounces of water about an hour before the start of your run. During your run you should take approximately 6-8 ounces every 20-30 minutes including some form of electrolyte replacement (sports drink) as cramps are usually due to imbalance of electrolytes. Following your run be sure to rehydrate with water or a sports drink. If you do experience a cramp mid-run, stop, stretch out the affected area gently holding each stretch for approximately 30 seconds, and repeat three times.

How can I prevent blisters on my feet? Or what about a black toenail?

  • Runners make sure their shoes fit properly and are wearing the correct socks.

    Runners make sure their shoes fit properly and are wearing the correct socks.

    Most likely during the course of your training you will experience a blister or a bruised toenail. Not to worry, you are not the only one! Typically, blisters are caused by friction and moisture. Be sure your shoes fit properly and are not too small or too big. Also make sure that you are wearing moisture wicking socks that pull moisture from your feet. Try Vaseline for blisters.

What should I do if I get a side stitch while running?

  • Exhausted marathon runners slow down their breathing to release stomach pain.

    Exhausted marathon runners slow down their breathing to release stomach pain.

    Eating too soon before a run may lead to a side stitch or cramp while running. Be sure to eat approximately 2-3 hours before your run. If a side stitch does occur mid run attempt to slow down your breathing by inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth to use more of a stomach breathing technique opposed to chest breathing.

If you have any additional questions as you train for this year’s race, post them below!

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  1. Erika

    I get nauseous after running long distance, usually little delayed once I start eating something (~30min to 1 hour). Do you have any suggestions on how to prevent post-running nausea? Any idea what the cause may be?

  2. Lisa Simpson

    When the Chicago Marathon says it has a time limit of 6.5 hours, is that from the initial corral beginning the course or is it based on the last corral starting the course?

  3. Christine

    I’m having trouble with stomach issues. I have tried eating carbs, veggies, fruits, protein shakes, etc. I also do drink plenty of water, so I am not dehydrated.
    No matter what I eat though, I get a stomach issue that makes me rush to the bathroom. What can I do/eat to prevent this?

    Thank you,

  4. Lisa

    I can run the first 13 miles with ease but once I pass that point I start to cramp up the following miles. I am two months away from my first Marathon and still have time to make some changes to my long runs. I drink plenty of water every day. I’m not a big eater but eat all the right things preparing for my runs. What am I not doing that I should be doing?

  5. Ian Bridger

    While your advice to expect blisters and black toenails is generally correct, blisters in training can be greatly reduced or even avoided by using latest tech anti blister liner socks. There are a couple of really good ones on the market.

  6. Lo.

    Dealing with ITBS on both sides. Any suggestions? I know that building up glutes and hip strength can help here. Any other tips?

  7. Karen

    This will be my first full marathon. My training is not going well, i keep getting the flu.
    Could the marathon be finish in 6.5 if i walk really fast?

  8. Athletico

    Hi Karen, sorry to hear training isn’t going well. Walking the marathon and finishing within the given time frame depends fully on your pace. We’re happy to connect you with an endurance specialist or a running coach to evaluate your training plan. Please reach out to:

  9. Athletico

    Hi Lo, it sounds like you’re on the right path in building glute and hip strength. If that hasn’t helped with your ITBS, please consider coming in for a Free Assessment or a Virtual Free Assessment. Our endurance specialists will be able to assess you to make sure there’s nothing else going on and may perform a Video Gait Analysis to evaluate your running mechanics. If you need further information, please reach out to:

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