How to Establish a Hydration Plan for Half & Full Marathons [Follow-Along Week 9]

How to Establish a Hydration Plan for Half & Full Marathons [Follow-Along Week 9]

Hydration for marathons

With 4 weeks until race day, I can tell that the accumulated fatigue of 45+ miles/week and numerous hard workouts is starting to get to me. Although I’m still definitely motivated to run and complete my workouts, I’m starting to feel fatigue in my legs both during & after my runs that I didn’t feel a few weeks or months ago. With the onset of warmer & more humid weather, it’s now more important that I’m adequately hydrated prior to and during my run.

In this post, I discuss the importance of hydration and how to establish a hydration plan for your race and how to practice it during your training.

Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of the workouts that completed this week & throughout my journey.

It should come as no surprise that proper hydration is important for both safety and performance. Warm and humid weather typically increase sweat rates and can accelerate the onset of dehydration. This can lead to an increased risk of early fatigue and heat related illnesses. Keeping your body properly hydrated will ensure that you maintain blood volume and cardiovascular function. Dehydration not only decreases blood volume, but also increase heart rate, slows heat loss in the body, which ultimately can cause runners to slow or eventually drop out of the race.

It’s important to determine your individual fluid needs because there is no single recommendation that applies to everyone. Ideally you want to balance fluid intake with sweat losses to avoid both dehydration and hyponatremia (too much fluid).

Signs of dehydration can be feeling faint or light headed, rapid heart rate, dry mouth or feeling very thirsty. The best 1st step is to drink some fluids to see if your condition improves.

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Signs of hyponatremia (too much fluid) can be water sloshing in your stomach, severe headache or feeling bloated in the hands and feet with nausea or upset stomach. The best first step is to stop drinking until you begin to urinate.

How much to drink?

To determine your unique fluid needs, you need to estimate your sweat rate by weighting yourself nude and then run for 1 hour in the conditions at the pace you expect to race. Do not drink during this run. At the end of the run, strip down, and reweigh yourself nude. The difference in weight is your approximate hourly sweat rate. You’ll need to convert lbs to ounces (1 lb = 16 ozs) and then plan on consuming that much per hour during your race.

For example, if you lost 1lb of sweat, you should consume about 4ozs of fluid every 15 minutes during your race. During your training, you can test this program by weighing yourself prior to and after your runs. If you weigh 1-2lbs during longer runs, you’ve kept your weight nearly neutral except for water loss. If you gained weight during your run, it’s a sign that you drank too much, which can lead to hyponatremia (over hydration), which in can be fatal.

On those occasions when you know you’ll be losing a lot of sweat, I recommend drinking 10-20 oz’s of fluid about an hour before the race to ensure you start with adequate fluid in your system.

In summary, try to match your fluid intake to just below your weight loss (which should be 2-3lbs in a race like a marathon). Do not overdrink. If you’re feeling effects of hot weather, slow your pace. Recognize the warning signs of dehydration and hyponatremia. If you are not feeling well during or after the race and incorporating a few simple changes doesn’t make you feel better, then it’s best to seek immediate medical attention.

Source: International Institute for Race Medicine (

Monday June 4th – long run @ easy pace

The purpose of this run was to get miles on my legs and build aerobic capacity.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 11.0 miles, 1:23:50 minutes, ave pace 7:37

Tuesday June 5th – short run @ easy pace

I completed this run early in the morning while on business in Boise. Ran along the beautiful campus of Boise State near downtown Boise. The purpose was to help recover from the previous day’s long run.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 6.0 miles, 48:38 minutes, ave pace 8:06

Wednesday June 6th – short run @ easy pace + conditioning in hotel gym

6 mile easy run on forest preserve trails in Rosemont, IL (O’Hare airport area). After the run, I was able to get into the hotel gym, where I completed 20 minutes of body weight & dumbbell exercises.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 6.2 miles, 48:16 minutes, ave pace 7:44

Thursday June 7th – Off Day

Business meetings & travel from Chicago to home. Rest & Recovery Day

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Friday June 8th – Long Tempo Run

The purpose of today’s workout was to build strength. I increased the distance by a mile from my last tempo. Paces are the same, as shown in the image below. After a 1 mile warm-up, I complete 9 miles at marathon pace. As you can see, I was right on pace for the duration of the tempo.

9 mile tempo run

Run Distance, Time, & Average Pace: 11.7 miles, 1:22:48 minutes, ave pace 7:03

Saturday June 9th – short run @ easy pace

Run Distance, Time, & Average Pace: 5.1 miles, 38:32 minutes, ave pace 7:26

Sunday June 10th– Long Run @ easy + brisk

My last long run. The purpose of this run is to get time on my legs and push the pace over the last 6-8 miles. I need to get used to running on tired legs. Most plans include one last long run about 3 – 3.5 weeks from the race. This run also capped my highest mileage week of the training plan. Weekly mileage will start to decrease over the next 2 weeks before my taper the last week prior to the race.

I completed the first half of the run with friends at a very easy (8:00+/mile) pace. I picked up the pace slightly during the second half of the run. There were some hills and the weather turned cool (upper 40s) with wind and rain the last 3+ miles. I didn’t complete any of the last miles under 7:00/mile as desired, but I’m happy with the effort considering the frequent hills and the fact that I was coming off a 9 mile tempo just 2 days earlier. My legs definitely felt tired the last few miles.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 17.1 miles, 2:18:55 minutes, ave pace 8:06

Weekly total = 57.3 Miles

Why it’s important to complete a 10km race during your marathon training [Follow-Along Week 8]

Why it’s important to complete a 10km race during your marathon training [Follow-Along Week 8]

10km race middleagemarathonerThis is a big week for my training. We include 2 very important marathon specific training workouts. One is a long run with a tempo pace the last 4 miles and another is a 10k time trial. In this week’s post, I’ll explain the importance of completing a 10k time trial (or similar race if you can schedule one) in your marathon training.

I also reveal how I find routes to run when I’m traveling on business (this week I was in Arkansas).

Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of the workouts that I’ve completed as I train for my July 4th Marathon.

Monday May 28th – long run

As discussed in a previous post, my long runs are 16-18 miles. On this day, I ran on a fairly flat route. My splits are below. As you can see, I didn’t quite get to marathon pace, but much of the 2nd half of the run was at or below 7:20/mile pace. There is a steep hill on the 17th mile, so my pace slowed to 7:36. Overall, it was a good run. The weather was mild, no rain or wind made for optimal conditions. My legs felt fine at the end. I’ll have to work on picking up the pace a bit more on my next long run.

Long run for marathon

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 17.5 miles, 2:10:36 minutes, ave pace 7:27

Tuesday May 29th – cross training + conditioning exercises

One of the challenges of frequent business travel is being able to fit in your scheduled workouts. Sometimes I get into a hotel late in the evening or at a time when the weather forces me into the hotel gym. This week I’m in western Arkansas where the daytime temperatures are upper 80s/low 90s and humidity is high. Bottomline, unless I get outside to run in the early morning, I’m forced to workout in the comfort of the hotel gym.
On this day, I chose to complete 40 minutes (or the equivalent of 4 miles) on the elliptical plus 20 minutes of conditioning exercises (both bodyweight & with dumbbells). Because I completed the long run the day before, getting off my legs is a good thing. The purpose of today’s workout was to recover from the previous days’ long run and work on my strength.

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Wednesday May 30th – Easy Run

Got up early (600am) and completed a 6 mile easy run around the town of Siloam Springs, AR. I kept things easy.

How to figure out where to run when you’re traveling?

I simply “google” running or bike trails in “XXXX” (XXXX=name of the town that I’m in) or I type in the address of my hotel into the google search bar and when a map comes up, I look for nearby trails. Sometimes the paths are right next to the hotel, but it’s rare that I don’t find some kind of path or trail within a mile. A lot of times these trails have mile markers so it’s easy to know how far I’ve gone or I can use the markers to complete a strength running workout (repeat miles, etc).

Other resources you can use to find running routes include or You can also go onto a particular city’s website.

In my case, I found the nearby La-Z-Boy Ball park with adjoining Dogwood Springs Bike trail about a mile from the hotel. Although the trail was short, once I got out into town, I recognized a few landmarks and was able to find my way back to the hotel and complete a 6.5 mile loop.

The purpose of this workout was recovery and to build my aerobic fitness.

6 mile easy run in Siloam Springs Arkansas

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 6.5 miles, 52:05 & 7:59/mile

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Thursday May 31st – Off Day

Business meetings & travel from Arkansas to home. Rest & Recovery Day

Friday June 1st – “Bike Blast” Strength & Conditioning (CrossFit) & Easy Run

Today’s workout was a strength & conditioning group workout at the gym. This “Bike Blast” workout was similar to previous workouts, using a barbell for the majority of the strength work. I don’t use too much weight on the barbell (typically 20-25 lbs). Since we’re completing each exercise for 60 seconds, instead a set number of repetitions, I want to ensure that I stress myself, but also complete the exercise for the specified time.

After the 45 minute workout was completed, I ran 3.5 miles at an easy pace outside.

The purpose of today’s workout was to build strength.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 3.5 miles, 26:53, 7:39

Saturday June 2ndHard Run, 10k time trial

One of the most challenging runs that I complete during my marathon training is a 10k time trial. Typically about 4-5 weeks from the race date, I get out to the flat, Vancouver Lake park and recreation area (in Vancouver, WA). The roads in this area are not heavily traveled and the surface is very similar to the Marathon course on Sauvie Island, OR. Bottomline, it’s a good practice for the upcoming marathon.

I typically have my son bike alongside me on this run for pacing, encouragement and some water/electrolytes if necessary.

The purpose of this run is to give me an accurate gauge as to where I stand relative to achieving my goal time. We talked about the Yasso 800s in an earlier post. My experience tells me that this 10k time trail along with the longer tempo runs, at this point in my training, give me a much better feel for what kind of shape I’m in.

The McMillian Calculator indicates that my 10k time should be around 38:22 (which is 6:10/mile pace). The Hanson Calculator shows 39:08 (6:18 pace). There’s other calculators which put equivalent 10k time between 37:30 – 38:30. My goal with this run is to be somewhere between 38-40 minutes. To be realistic, if I’m under 40 minutes, for the 10k time trial (which I run by myself), then I have high confidence that I will be able to complete my upcoming race between 3:00 – 3:05. I still have 4 weeks to get in more marathon specific workouts, so I know I’ll be close.

My results are below. I finished slightly above 40 minutes (I didn’t hit my watch when I was at 10k, but I know I was slightly under 39 at 6 miles).

I had a couple issues today.
1) It was getting warm when I completed this run around 10am.
2) I went out a little too fast and slowed. My feet started to hurt around 4 miles. The pain was not blisters, but more a general discomfort that was probably caused by over tightening my shoes, I forgot to apply vasoline to my feet and I was wearing older pair of socks.

Bottomline, no excuses, I’m a little bit off, but close. The stimulus was there and I was definitely pushing myself. It’s good to complete this workout.

This workout included about 1.5 mile warm-up + strides and 1.5 mile cool down at a very easy pace.

10km time trial results

Total Run Distance, Time, Pace: 10 miles, 1:17:43, 7:43

Sunday June 3rd– Easy Run + Strides

More family commitments today. I completed 5 miles at an easy pace + strides right in front of my house. I felt good. Very important to rest.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 5.1 miles, 44:26, 8:43

Weekly total = 42.7 Miles

Long Runs & Strength Workouts [Follow-Along Week 5]

Long Runs & Strength Workouts [Follow-Along Week 5]

Long runs for marathon training

Week 5

In this week’s post, I review some of the best workouts to prepare you for marathon training. The marathon specific finish fast long run and strength workouts are essential if you want reach your goal time, but these workouts must be completed at the appropriate time during a marathon training plan in order to receive the max benefit.

My weekly mileage continues to stay in the mid 40s. Due to professional commitments, including business travel, I complete the most essential workouts in my plan as best as possible and on other days I only have time for a 5-6 mile easy run. In my experience, the marathon specific (harder) workouts, in between these easy runs, adequately prepare me to reach my goals. The easy runs build my aerobic capacity and help me recover and most important, avoid injury.

Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of my workouts.

Monday May 7th – Easy run + strides

The purpose of this workout was to recover from the previous day’s 12 mile long run. The previous day was actually pretty tough on legs due to the warmer temps and long hill at the end. The goal of running easy + including strides in this workout will help me recover and be ready for the next days’ planned track workout.

The key to this workout is to go easy. Even the strides are not too fast. I also include a little extra rest between each stride. This workout is not meant to be hard in any way.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 5.0 miles, 44:14 minutes, 8:48

Tuesday May 8th – Track/Mini Strength workout

1 mile (or 10 minute warm-up @ easy pace) + strides
4 x 1600m w/ 3 minute rest
10 minute c/d

We’re continuing with weekly track workouts. This week I’m increasing the distance of the interval and keeping the rest at approximately half the time of the interval. This workout is boarding on what’s called a strength workout or a marathon specific adaptation. The primary goal of these workouts is to prepare the body to handle the fatigue that’s associated with marathon running. This portion of the training is truly marathon preparation.

Mile repeat marathon training workout

Some of the benefits of these workouts include:

1) Improve running economy
2) Improve endurance at faster paces
3) Improve lactate tolerance – by forcing the runner to adapt to running longer distances with some lactate accumulation.

Ultimately, we want to train our body to work through this lactic acid accumulation.

My times for each 1600m ranged from 6:14 to 6:20, so I was right on target. I incorporated short rest.
To make this workout a true strength workout, we would run a little slower for each interval (10 seconds below Marathon Pace) & increase the number of intervals from 4 to 6. I will start that work next week.

Run Distance: 7.3 miles

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Wednesday May 9th – Easy Run + Conditioning Exercises

6.2 mile easy run. The purpose of this workout was to recover from yesterday’s track workout. With 2 challenging workouts in the last 3 days, it’s really important to get in an easy run. I also completed some conditioning exercises at the gym (push-ups, planks, dips, squats with a 16lb medicine ball & lunges with a 20lb kettle bell).

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 6.2 miles, 48:42 & 7:50

Thursday May10th – Off Day

Business travel & meetings today. I planned the day off to coincide with my busy day.

Friday May 11th – Easy Run

I was on business in Scottsdale, AZ where it’s extremely hot at this time of year. I got up at 5:30am to beat the heat (and also prior to my business meetings) and completed a 6 mile run at an easy pace. Since I planned for a long run the next day, it was important to simply get an easy run in.

This run was also good practice for my early race (the July 4th marathon start time is 630am). Also, I ran without having anything to eat, so this will help my body adapt to running without carbs. I have found some benefits to training your body to use stored fats instead of always having a lot of carbs right before you workout.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 6 miles, 48:13, 7:55

Saturday May 12th – Long Run

16 miles at easy pace with last 3 miles at goal race pace. Today’s run serves a dual purpose. Obviously because of it’s length, I’m getting plenty of time on my legs which is essential for marathon preparation. You must include long runs in your marathon training. Also, I finish the last 3 miles at harder (Marathon Race) pace in order to start get my body acclimated to running race pace, when my legs are tired. Coupled with my Tempo & Strength runs, these finish fast runs are some of the best ways to prepare your body to complete your marathon at your goal pace.
The idea behind these runs is that physiologically we’re training the body to work more efficiently at marathon pace. Also, mentally, it’s tough because you’re already experiencing some fatigue (tiredness) and then you just add to it during the final few miles. Also, the distance for finishing fast should increase as you progress through the plan. So with my next 2 long runs, I will be finishing the last 6-7 miles at a fast pace.

Finish fast long run

There’s a lot of debate as to the length of the longest runs in marathon training. I typically get 3-4 runs in the 16-18 mile range. I have also previously included 20 – 21 mile runs in my plans. However, I know that one of the drawbacks to these longer 20 + mile runs is the damage they can cause to your legs (specifically capillaries & mitochondria (responsible for producing energy). The other challenge for me is that with weekly mileage in the mid 40s to low 50s, it’s generally discouraged to include long runs at a distance that make up 40%+ of my weekly mileage.

I have found that as long as I have numerous longer Tempos (8-12 miles) and the repeat 1, 2 & 3 mile workouts, I don’t need to complete 20 mile runs in my plan. As a general rule, if I’m targeting a 3:00 hr marathon, I don’t have any runs longer than approximately 2 hr 15-20 minutes in my marathon training. The key is, my runs of 15+ miles need to include finishing fast (anywhere between 20 – 40 minutes at race pace).

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 16 miles, 2:01:41, 7:36

Sunday May 13th– Easy Run + Strides

5 miles at easy pace + strides

The purpose of this run was to recover from the previous day’s long run. Instead of taking days off after my long runs, I like to either run or get on the elliptical. The pace is easy. I also allow plenty of time between strides and keep them at a controlled, but quick pace.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 5.0 miles, 44:48, 8:55

Weekly total = 6 days of workouts, 6 with running – 45 Miles