Jeff from Madison, NJ (Male)
Age on race day: 33
2007 Philadelphia Marathon - Philadelphia, PA
This was my 2nd marathon and I finished in 3:28:56.
I consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for fitness. I decided to run a marathon because I wanted to improve my time from my first marathon and also was determined to run the entire 26.2 miles. The conditions in my first marathon (unexpected hills/heat/lack of hydration) prevented me from running the whole way. I had unfinished business to attend to.
I didn't follow a specific training program. I had a solid base to build on, and I simply included 10 long runs between 18-23 miles. I averaged about 55 miles per week during the 4 months leading up to the race.
In terms of training advice, I discovered the hard way in how to properly hydrate. In the warm summer months I started my long runs at 5 am and ran with a 70oz Camel Back and 40oz Nathan Hydration Belt. Fluids and plenty of them often is a must in hot humid conditions.
The 2007 Philadelphia Marathon was what I expected. The day was cool and overcast. Perfect running weather. The start was disappointing as they had half marathoners mixed in which made it very crowded and difficult to get the pace right in the opening miles. It took me 9 miles to finally get my pace and was a very stressful start. Many people were slower than where they lined up and made it hard for others. Streets were narrow and very uneven surface which was dangerous as you could not see where your foot was going to land until it was too late! I would like to see them put the half marathon on a different course.
Felt comfortable from miles 9 through 20 in my "zone". Crowd was great at the half way point and thinned out a lot from miles 15-24. I kept an even and steady pace. Second half is faster than the first as there are no hills and the field has room to spread out once the half marathoners are done. Was tempted to pick up the pace but learned from my past mistakes as this is a sure disaster.
Plenty of water/Gatorade stops where they said that they would be. Some stations narrowed the field and when people stop to drink rather than finding ways to drink while still running, it slows some of us up and causes collisions.
The closing 3 miles were tough, real tough but who said running 26.2 was going to be easy. Dug deep, found the will to keep going and ran my last 3 miles in negative splits. Crossed the line with zero gas left in the tank and was elated that I beat my time by just over a minute!
My recovery wasn't too bad. I did some stretching shortly after I finished. I had shin splints going into the race and I'm still having to deal with that. Running the marathon distance tore up my shin pretty bad and now I have to let them heal properly.
Running Gear Recommendations:
Nathan Hydration Belt - 4 x 10 oz bottles Used this for my own sports drink and it was a really smart thing to do. Saved me having to zig zag to find Gatorade at some stops. Search » Search on Amazon »
When it gets tough in the closing miles, stick with it and break the distance up into sections. Keep going, you will get there.
Plans to Run Another:
I'm planning to continue to run marathons because I have the bug. For my next marathon, I'll basically train the same. I'll try to include additional speed work to improve my pace. My next goal is 3:20 in Chicago 2008.