Terms of UseOnline StoreSitemapSearch

State of the Art
A Marathon Training Newsletter
Volume XVI– June 2007

Welcome to the Summer Edition of "State of the Art", a regularly published newsletter of the State of the Art Marathon Training web site located at: http://www.marathontraining.com. Marathon training tips, featured question, personal success story, the latest news, recipe, among other topics are featured within this issue. As always, we welcome your feedback and contributions. Email us your thoughts, experiences, suggestions, and/or anything pertaining to marathon training and running in general for an upcoming issue at art@marathontraining.com. Thanks in advance and hope you will enjoy this newsletter!

Featured Web Site Section
Whether you’re new to the sport or have been running for many years, one of the biggest challenges you may encounter from time to time is finding the time to run. Originally written as part of a weekly newspaper column for those training for Charleston, SC’s largest 10K event, The Cooper River Bridge Run, Art invites you to check out his article entitled “Finding the Time to Run”. Highlighted are a variety of strategies to enhance your chances of being more consistent with your running program.

Updated Articles
Just about every runner has a unique story relating to the circumstances which led to their first strides. We invite you to check out this issue’s featured article, written by Simon Clarke, as he shares his personal account in “Why Do I Run?”.

Latest News
Since it was first being published in 2002, “The Everything Running Book” has been among Adams Media Corporation’s most popular sellers in their Everything Series. As a testament to its success, work is in progress for its second edition. Art along with editor Dominique DeVito have been collaborating in updating and expanding its content. Look for “The Everything Running Book, Second Edition” for sale in bookstores and on the web in the spring of 2008.

Featured Question
The featured question this issue is submitted by Natalie P. of Fresno, CA

Hi Art,
I have run two marathons and came in at 3:12 both times. First race, I started slow and bonked at 22nd mile and second race, I started fast and bonked at 18th mile. I know glycogen level is depleted after 20 miles, but how do marathoners maintain their speeds and finish strong? What can I do to prevent or minimize bonking?

Hi Natalie,
Thanks for the great question you asked! Let me first begin by congratulating you on your two marathon finishes. Many people would be delighted to finish in 3 hours, 12 minutes which equates to running 26.2 miles at a 7:20 pace!

For those who aren’t familiar with the term, “bonking” (also called “hitting the wall”) refers to the point in time during a marathon when a runner’s pace significantly slows, most often caused as a result of the depletion of glycogen stores within the muscles. There are a variety of factors, oftentimes inter-related, that can have an impact on one’s energy level in the later miles during the marathon. These include training, race strategy/pacing, carbohydrate loading, hydration, and tapering.

You didn’t say anything about your preparation for these events. While entire books have been written about the subject, without a doubt, the long run is the most important component of marathon training as it teaches the body to both physically and mentally tackle the challenges of running 26.2 miles. Physiologically, the body must learn to tap into and utilize energy reserves from fat storage sites after the glycogen (fuel stores in the muscles, converted over from carbohydrate food sources) have been depleted. Through long run training (including two to three runs from 20 –to 22/23 miles), the capacity to store more glycogen within the muscles increases. An increase in glycogen stores translates into the ability to maintain one's pace during the marathon and delay the onset of fatigue.

So what is the maximum pace you can sustain without hitting the wall on marathon day? One way to determine the answer to that important question is to experiment with pacing during your long runs. For the first time marathoner whose primary goal is to complete the event safely and comfortably, I recommend doing their long training runs at an aerobic pace. By that, I mean running at an easy, relaxed, conversational pace, without pressing, during both long runs and the marathon.

Experienced runners who wish to “push the envelope”, so to speak, during the marathon will need to practice running at, or a bit faster than goal pace as part of their long run training. Doing so helps condition the muscles to sustain one’s goal pace over the course of 26.2 miles. I cannot begin to adequately cover speedwork related to marathon training here; however, it’s important to realize that speedwork, along with running the marathon at too fast a pace for which you’ve training increases one’s risk of injury. Additionally, aggressive marathon pacing oftentimes translates to a much slower finish time or even worse, failing to complete the event!

A final word about pacing - Running the correct pace for your ability level is crucial in the marathon, especially for the first time marathoner. It's so easy to start the race by running at too fast pace for which you are prepared. Your pace during the first miles oftentimes feels effortless due to the adrenaline rush and excitement of the event. If you run the first miles too fast, you'll pay dearly for the mistake in the later stages of the marathon. A much better plan is to start out slower than what you hope to average and then run the middle miles at your chosen (hopefully realistic) pace. It's a better strategy to pick up the pace during the final miles when you know you can finish rather than starting aggressively. In the world of marathoning, there's no such theory as "putting the fast miles in the bank early in the race" and then holding on in the end. During the marathon, constantly monitor how you are feeling, and adjust your pace accordingly based on your perceived energy level. The experience gained through your past long training runs will enable you to do this.

Appropriately fueling the body is crucial to the task of maintaining one’s goal pace over the course of 26.2 miles. This is where carbohydrate-loading and staying well-hydrated before and during the marathon comes into play. By using your long runs as opportunities to experiment with nutrition and hydration options, you will determine the specific types and quantities of carbohydrate-rich foods, gels, and beverages that most optimally work for you in sustaining your energy level during the marathon.

Finally, be sure to taper your training mileage three weeks prior to the marathon so that you will be well-rested on the big day. As race day draws closer, an important rule of thumb to remember is "less is best". Listen to your body and take an extra rest day, particularly if you’re legs are feeling fatigued or achy. Also keep in mind that there are no workouts the week prior to the marathon that will enhance your preparedness for the race.

I hope you find this information helpful in determining how to push back the wall and avoid bonking at your next marathon. Here’s wishing you all the best.

Art Liberman
State of the Art Marathon Training

Art offers individualized coaching services designed to meet your needs and to help you achieve your running goals. For more information, check out the Personal Training section.

Success Story
We’d like to share this wonderful letter we recently received from Michelle K.

In July of 2006 I got the "brilliant" idea of wanting to see how fast I could run one mile. Before this, I had never run. As a matter-of-fact, I had always hated running. I had never been an athletic person by any means, so for me to want to run seemed pretty crazy. But, I went out and ran one mile and my time was 10:15. I waited a couple days and ran again. My time was the same. After a few attempts, I realized I needed to be doing something different if I wanted a different result. My mom saw my new found interest and bought me your book, “The Everything Running Book". I was excited to find the beginner schedule included inside. For me, this was a "no-brainer". I just follow the schedule. And that is exactly what I did. It was awesome to come home and check off another day knowing that I was exercising and getting better.

By the time I finished the beginner schedule, I no longer cared about my one-mile time. I now wanted to run a marathon. So I moved from the beginner schedule to the mileage buildup schedule and then on to the half-marathon schedule. Then on April 14, 2007 I ran my very first half-marathon. What an awesome experience it was! I ran it in 2:05:13 which equates to a 9:33 pace. I couldn't believe it. When I finished, one of the first things I thought was “bring on the marathon”! I am now beginning the marathon training schedule and preparing to run my first full marathon on September 15, 2007. Thank you for all the information that you have provided. I’ve managed to stay injury free and loving running every day! My life is completely changed! Between changing my eating habits and running, I’ve lost over 85 pounds in one year. I am a completely different person than I was before I received your book. Thank you!

Michelle K.
Hilliard, OH

Thanks Michelle and congratulations! We hope that you too will consider sharing with readers your personal success story and/or testimonial pertaining to running, racing, general fitness, etc. Email us at: art@marathontraining.com.

Featured Recipe
Sylita Thomas graciously provided the recipe for this newsletter. She’s a professional athlete and author of two popular websites: Athlete Recipes and BasketballOverseas.com.

Carrots Soup with Croutons


5 pounds – carrots
5 - potatoes
2 - onions
16 oz - tomato sauce
Handful - Croutons
To Taste – savory, salt, pepper


1. Rasp the carrots and potatoes
2. Cut the onion in small parts
3. Boil the rasped carrots, rasped potatoes and onion
4. After 10 minutes, add tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and savory and boil for 5 additional minutes
5. Serve with croutons

Per Serve: 518 calories; 102.2 g carbohydrates; 2.7 g fat; 48.6 g protein

Thanks Sylvia for sharing these tasty recipes!

Please Support Our Advertising Sponsors
Thanks to the following companies for advertising on State of the Art Marathon Training. Please visit their respective web sites to learn more about their fine products:

Road Runner Sports
Sonic Relief
Doran Lifestyle
Peak Running Performance

In Closing
Thanks for reading State of the Art newsletter. Here’s wishing you and your family a safe and fun-filled summer!

Everything Running book now available!

Team ACS

Want your advertisement here? Click for info!

| Home | Marathon Training | Personal Training | FAQs | Running Links |
| Featured Article | Latest News | About this Site | Contact |

© 1997 - 2014 by Art Liberman - All Rights Reserved
NOTE: The material presented in this website may not be copied/reproduced (in whole or in part) or distributed (in any manner) without the expressed written consent of Art Liberman. Users of this website are bound by our Terms of Use.