Marathon Training: Week 19

Don’t get stitched up

Duncan’s a bit concerned about getting the “stitch” around the start of the Marathon.


One of the main causes of stitch is eating too much, too soon before the race start. However, it’s a good idea to have some sort of breakfast on race day, (you’ll need fuel in your tank for the start, as well as top-ups during the race), so this warrants testing in training to get it right.


It’s not just the stitch, it’s also that uncomfortable feeling of too much in your gut, and feeling like throwing up for the first 5 to 10 minutes.


Saturday Race Simulations - figuring out what to have for Breakfast

So on his long Saturday run Duncan has been simulating the race start time and testing different breakfast types and breakfast times. Everybody is different in terms of digestion rates, and this also varies with food types. But the general consensus is to eat breakfast at least 2 hours before the race start, and it should be something that is easy to digest with little fibre or fat.


Ideally it would be very close to your normal breakfast, something your body is very familiar with, nothing new on race day.


My personal favourite is good old porridge, (add a bit of honey and yogurt). It has a good glycemic index (slow, sustaining energy release). Porridge can be a bit “heavy” for some, (with years of practice, my body has learned to race like a rocket on it.)


Other lighter options are rice bubbles, corn flakes or white toast with honey etc.


If it’s a big race and I’m really nervous, or want a quicker digestion time I’ll use a liquid product like “Fortisip”, or “Ensure Plus” (from a pharmacy) or “Up and Go” from the supermarket. But once again, make sure you test this in training.


Remember too, to hydrate with your breakfast, 2 or 3 glasses of water is good, and then sip a mouthful or 2 every 15 minutes. However, not too much, don’t want to keep stopping for a pee on the day. Once again test in training.


The schedule:

(The cake’s not baked yet, but it’s starting to rise.)

How was your easy recovery week?


As part of our overall Periodisation plan, week 18 (last week) was an easy week to allow you to rebuild stronger and get ready for this next week. There are only 2 more hard weeks, followed by a 2 week taper before race day!


This week will be your hardest yet, and you can revel in Graham Felton’s wise words:


“The greater the challenge, the greater the rewards. Choose to do it, because this needs to be done to achieve your goals”

Week Nineteen training schedule:

Up until now, I’ve prescribed the long Saturday jog simply as a time to run. For the next 2 weeks, we’re going to run by distance instead, to prove to your mind that you can do it. Remember that this is still only training, we’re not race ready for another 4 weeks, and by then we’ll have done a lot more speed training. I intend that the long Saturday run of 40 kms will be slow. Come race day with the culmination of our 22 weeks of training, and the addition of our final speed training, your speed will lift dramatically. Trust the system. The cake is not baked yet, but it is starting to rise.


Thursday 23rd Oct

Warm-up jog; 15 minutes

Intervals x 6 of the following:

3 mins hard; pace, unable to converse. Ideally up a hill

3 mins easy jog or walk, recovery; could be back down the hill to start again.

Warm-down jog; 15 minutes


Friday 24th Oct

Well earned REST DAY. Treat yourself to a recovery sports massage, especially concentrating on tired / tender muscles.


Saturday 25th Oct

40 kilometers; long, easy endurance run / jog.

Start at 8 am.

Eat breakfast 2 hours prior.

Pace yourself to jog or run the entire time, (no walking) to show yourself the discipline for race day.

Soft trails such as dirt, gravel, grass etc to avoid injury.

Stretch straight after, and ideally get a massage to aid recovery.


Sunday 26 Oct

Easy walk or hike, eg with friends or family. 60 to 90 mins. Make it scenic and fun.

Important to make it easy, to help recovery from yesterday’s long session. Alternatively, an easy bike ride or swim.


Monday 27th Oct

Warm-up jog; 15 minutes

Intervals x 6 of the following:

3 mins hard; pace, unable to converse. Ideally up a hill

3 mins easy jog or walk, recovery; could be back down the hill to start again.

Warm-down jog; 15 minutes


Tuesday 28th Oct

Warm-up 10 mins brisk walk or easy jog

Time Trial #15. Aim to beat the previous time. Do this in the morning if possible.

Warm-down 10 mins walking. Record your time.


Wednesday 29th Oct

Steve’s Strength and conditioning clinic:

5:30pm sharp! til 6:30 pm Meet 5:25pm at the Tennis courts on the grassy banks Lake Avenue, Frankton, Queenstown.

Alternative: 60 mins, easy pace jogging with fartlek = speed play with 4 x5 mins effort (fast run) in the middle. Undulating small hills.

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