Sports Therapy
Ottawa Marathon Running Tips

Ottawa Marathon Running Tips

Here are some tips from our Orleans physiotherapy, Westboro Physiotherapy

and Barrhaven Physiotherapy locations for our local Ottawa Marathon Runners:

Most participants do not run a marathon to win. More important for most runners is their personal finish time and their placement within their specific gender and age group, though some runners just want to finish. Strategies for completing a marathon include running the whole distance[33] and a run-walk strategy.[4] An intermediate approach is to run from water stop to water stop, and walk through the water stop area to ensure the fluids are consumed instead of spilled. In 2005, the average marathon time in the U.S. was 4 hours 32 minutes 8 seconds for men, 5 hours 6 minutes 8 seconds for women.[34]

Another goal is to break certain time barriers. For example, recreational first-timers often try to run the marathon under four hours; more competitive runners may attempt to finish under three hours.[35] Other benchmarks are the qualifying times for major marathons. The Boston Marathon, the oldest marathon in the United States, requires a qualifying time for all non-professional runners.[36] The New York City marathon also requires a qualifying time for guaranteed entry, at a pace slightly faster than Boston’s.[37]A qualifying time is also needed for Washington D.C.’s National Marathon.[38] However, unlike Boston, where the qualifying times serve to attract a more talented field and limit participation, the National Marathon is motivated more by the need to reopen city streets in a limited amount of time.


MoonWalk is a nocturnal charity marathon to raise money for breast cancerresearch

The long run is an important element in marathon training.[39] Recreational runners commonly try to reach a maximum of about 20 miles (32 kilometres) in their longest weekly run and a total of about 40 miles (64 kilometres) a week when training for the marathon, but wide variability exists in practice and in recommendations. More experienced marathoners may run a longer distance, and more miles/kilometres during the week. Greater weekly training mileages can offer greater results in terms of distance and endurance, but also carry a greater risk of training injury.[40] Most male elite marathon runners will have weekly mileages of over 100 miles (160 kilometres).[40]

Many training programs last a minimum of five or six months, with a gradual increase (every two weeks) in the distance run and finally a little decrease (1 to 3 weeks) for recovery. The decrease, commonly called the taper, should last a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of three weeks, according to most trainers. For beginners wishing to merely finish a marathon, a minimum of 4 months of running 4 days a week is recommended.[41] Many trainers recommend a weekly increase in mileage of no more than 10%. It is also often advised to maintain a consistent running program for six weeks or so before beginning a marathon training program to allow the body to adapt to the new stresses.[42] The marathon training program itself would suppose variation between the hard and the easy training, with a periodization of the general plan.[43]

Training programs may be found at Runner’s World,[44] Hal Higdon,[33] Jeff Galloway,[4]Boston Athletic Association [45] and from numerous other sources.

Overtraining is a condition that results from not getting enough rest to allow the body to recover from stressful training.[citation needed] It can result in lowered endurance and speed and place a runner at a greater risk of injury.[40][46]

Before the race

Samuel Wanjiru raises his hand in acknowledgment of the crowd as he runs to a gold medal in the 2008 Olympic marathon

During the last two or three weeks before the marathon, runners will typically reduce their weekly training, gradually, by as much as 50%-75% of previous peak volume, and take at least a couple of days of complete rest to allow their bodies to recover from any strong effort. The last long training run might be undertaken no later than two weeks prior to the event. This is a phase of training known as tapering. Many marathon runners also “carbo-load” (increase carbohydrate intake while holding total caloric intake constant) during the week before the marathon to allow their bodies to store more glycogen.

Immediately before the race, many runners will refrain from eating solid food to avoid digestive problems. They will also ensure that they are fully hydrated beforehand. Light stretching before the race is believed by many to help keep muscles limber. Some runners will wear an ice vest before the race to reduce their core temperature so as to avoid overheating later in the race.

During the race

2007 Barcelona Marathon

Coaches recommend trying to maintain as steady a pace as possible when running a marathon. Some advise novice runners to start out slower than their average goal pace to save energy for the second half of the race (negative splits).[47] As an example, the first five to eight miles (8–13 km) might be run at a pace 15–20 seconds per mile slower than the target pace for later.

Typically, there is a maximum allowed time of about six hours after which the marathon route is closed, although some larger marathons (such as Myrtle Beach, Marine Corps and Honolulu) keep the course open considerably longer (eight hours or more).


Modern marathons such as New York, Chicago, London and Berlin have tens of thousands of runners and millions of spectators. Common courtesy for other runners becomes necessary when running in a densely packed crowd.[48] Those employing a walk/run strategy or who are simply walking are encouraged to stay to one side, leaving the middle of the street for faster runners.

Runners in groups are encouraged not to block the entire street, preventing other runners from passing them. Two or three runners abreast is recommended. Large groups may consider single or double files.

  1. 4..^ abc“Retreats — Athens”. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  2. ^“The Moon and the Marathon”, Sky & Telescope Sept. 2004
  3. ^“Ancient Olympics FAQ 10”. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  4. ^ Moralia 347C
  5. ^ A slip of the tongue in Salutation, Chapter 3
  6. ^Persian Fire by Tom Holland
  7. ^SPARTATHLON ::: International Spartathlon Association[dead link]
  8. ^“The Great Marathon Myth”. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  9. ^“Olympic Champion Joan Benoit Samuelson To Be Guest of Honor at Manchester Marathon — Registration Closed”. Cool Running. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  10. ^Wanjiru and Gharib break OR in Men’s Marathon
  11. ^“Olympic Games Records – Women”. International Association of Athletics Federations. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
  12. ^ J.Bryant, 100 Years and Still Running, Marathon News (2007)
  13. ^“The Marathon journey to reach 42.195km”. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
  14. ^ Martin, David E.; Roger W. H. Gynn (May 2000). The Olympic Marathon. Human Kinetics Publishers. p. 113. ISBN978-0880119696.
  15. ^“IAAF Competition Rules 2008” (pdf). IAAF. pp. 195. Retrieved 2009-04-20.
  16. ^ British Olympic Council Minutes
  17. ^ abcde . Bob Wilcock, The 1908 Olympic Marathon, Journal of Olympic History, Volume 16 Issue 1, March 2008
  18. ^ The Princess of Wales’ private diary and press reports
  19. ^ Bob Wilcock, “The 1908 Olympic Games, the Great Stadium and the Marathon, a Pictorial Record” (2008 ISBN 978-0-9558236-0-2)[page needed]
  20. ^ Martin & Gynn, “The Olympic Marathon” (2000 ISBN 0880119691)[page needed]
  21. ^ Competition Rules 2009 – Rule 240
  22. ^
  23. ^Runner’s World Top 10 Marathons
  24. ^
  25. ^ Craythorn, Dennis; Hanna, Rich (1997). The Ultimate Guide to International Marathons. United States: Capital Road Race Publications. ISBN978-0-9655187-0-3.[page needed]
  26. ^“All-time men’s best marathon times under 2h 10’30″”. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  27. ^“All-time women’s best marathon times under 2h 30’00″”. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ ab“Bot generated title ->”. Hal Higdon. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  31. ^“2005 Total USA Marathon Finishers”. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  32. ^“Running a sub 3 hour marathon |”. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  33. ^“Boston Athletic Association”. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
  34. ^The ING New York City Marathon[dead link]
  35. ^National Marathon – Qualifying Standards[dead link]
  36. ^
  37. ^ abc Daniels, J. PhD (2005). Daniels’ Running Formula, 2nd Ed.. Human Kinetics Publishing. ISBN0-7360-5492-8.[page needed]
  38. ^ Whitsett et al. (1998) The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer. Master’s Press.
  39. ^ Burfoot, A. Ed (1999). Runner’s World Complete Book of Running : Everything You Need to Know to Run for Fun, Fitness and Competition. Rodale Books. ISBN1-57954-186-0.[page needed]
  40. ^Marius Bakken. “Training For A Marathon”. Marius Bakken’s Marathon Training Schedule. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
  41. ^“Marathon Training at Runner’s World”.

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