www.tidewaterreview.com/features/health/la-live-health-chat-marathon-training-transcript-20110117,0,803460.htmlstory

tidewaterreview.com

Live Health Chat

Marathon training tips from an Olympic medal winner

January 17, 2011

Advertisement

Thinking of training for a marathon? Get great advice and tips on how to prepare for this challenging run from Rod Dixon, director of training and coaching for the Honda L.A. Marathon and a former Olympic medal winner.

On Jan. 17, Los Angeles Times health reporter Jeannine Stein spoke with Dixon, who answered reader questions on the mechanics of running, as well as how to plan out a safe and sane training schedule for any marathon you want to tackle.







 Live chat: Marathon training tips from an Olympic medal winner(01/17/2011) 
10:49
Jeannine Stein: 
Hello! We'll begin our web chat in about 10 minutes. Our chat today is on training for a marathon, and our guest is Rod Dixon, director of training and coaching for the Honda LA Marathon. If you have questions for Rod, please feel free to post them now! We'll be back in a few minutes.
Monday January 17, 2011 10:49 Jeannine Stein
10:59
Jeannine Stein: 
Hi, everyone, and welcome to our weekly web chat. Today we're talking with Rod Dixon, director of training and coaching for the Honda LA Marathon. Rod is also an Olympic medalist, twice a world cross-country champion medalist, and the 1500-meter champion of the United States, France, Great Britain and New Zealand. He also won the 1983 New York City Marathon.

Now that I feel completely inadequate as a human being, welcome Rod! Thanks so much for being here today and talking with us about training for a marathon.
Monday January 17, 2011 10:59 Jeannine Stein
10:59
Jeannine Stein: 
Rod, we know that marathons have become increasingly popular in recent years, with numbers of entrants climbing in many races. Why do you think this is? What's the appeal?
Monday January 17, 2011 10:59 Jeannine Stein
11:00
Rod Dixon: 
Hello everybody it's a pleasure to be with you all this morning...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:00 Rod Dixon
11:01
Rod Dixon: 
I think more people are taking more interest in themselves and their health and wellness. A lot of people are influenced by a family member or friend who has participated in a marathon...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:01 Rod Dixon
11:02
Rod Dixon: 
and this has inspirted them to training and to compelete one of lifes challenges the marathon.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:02 Rod Dixon
11:04
[Comment From AndieAndie: ] 
Hi :) I have done a handful of 1/2 Marathons and feel compelled to take it to the next step for a full...I am excited and scared all at the same time. My biggest fear is the long training runs....what is the longest I should be at before Race Day?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:04 Andie
11:05
Rod Dixon: 
Hello Andie thanks for being with us. Your success at reaching the half marathon distance certainly allows you to think about the full marathon
Monday January 17, 2011 11:05 Rod Dixon
11:06
Rod Dixon: 
please be excited rather than scared. In training for the marathon you will need to do longer training runs. some of these shoud be at least 18 -20 miles...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:06 Rod Dixon
11:07
Rod Dixon: 
however, I do feel you need to balance your weekly training so that you are able to double your daily average mile once a week. By this I mean if you can average 5 -6 miles three times a week. Try and run your long run bwt 10 and 12 miles.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:07 Rod Dixon
11:07
[Comment From AndieAndie: ] 
how many should I do before race day?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:07 Andie
11:08
Rod Dixon: 
Andie I think it's a good idea to consider at least 2 long runs. A third long run of between 18 -20 miles. Will just allow you to be better prepared.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:08 Rod Dixon
11:09
[Comment From Jon SutherlandJon Sutherland: ] 
Any tips on how to prepare for the hard downhills and all that pounding.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:09 Jon Sutherland
11:09
Jeannine Stein: 
Great question, Jon, thanks. We tend to think of the uphills as the toughest part of a marathon, but the downhills can be challenging as well.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:09 Jeannine Stein
11:10
Rod Dixon: 
Thanks Jon. As most of you know the LA Marathon course has a lot of hills and we really need to prepare well for them..,..
Monday January 17, 2011 11:10 Rod Dixon
11:11
Rod Dixon: 
as much as uphill running as downhill running in our training. My feelings are that you run the uphill section at about the same speed as the downhill section. running uphill is about efficient and ecomony of effort
Monday January 17, 2011 11:11 Rod Dixon
11:12
Rod Dixon: 
when we are training on the hills avoid over striding which tends to cause the pounding that you are referring to.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:12 Rod Dixon
11:14
Rod Dixon: 
The key is to land directly underneath you on each stride. Overstriding means that you are landing more on your heel and over extending all the leg muscles and the impact stress travels right through out the leg muscle causing tiredness and fatigue.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:14 Rod Dixon
11:15
[Comment From karenkaren: ] 
Would you recommend that someone a bit heavier lose weight before tackling a marathon?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:15 karen
11:15
Rod Dixon: 
Hello Karen of course the lighter we are the more efficent we are in our running...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:15 Rod Dixon
11:17
Rod Dixon: 
training for the marathon does put extra pressure on us to more aware of our eating habits and the need to eat healthy which in turn give us the right fuel for the effort...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:17 Rod Dixon
11:17
Rod Dixon: 
naturally it does go with the training and the lifestyle to lose any excess weight.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:17 Rod Dixon
11:18
[Comment From JohnJohn: ] 
Let's try that again. Is it too late to start training for the LA Marathon? If so and if I regularly run 3 miles two times a week, would joining LARR be helpful at this point?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:18 John
11:18
Jeannine Stein: 
Rod, can you also tell us how far out you should start training for a marathon? And can you break it down for people who are in fairly good shape and may be running already, as well as for couch potatoes?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:18 Jeannine Stein
11:19
Rod Dixon: 
Thanks John for your question...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:19 Rod Dixon
11:20
Rod Dixon: 
my question to you is do you consider yourself a beginnger, intermediate or advance runner?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:20 Rod Dixon
11:21
Rod Dixon: 
In the meantime I'll answer jeannine question
Monday January 17, 2011 11:21 Rod Dixon
11:22
Rod Dixon: 
if you are new running. I think the minimum amount of time for you body to adjust is 28 weeks. If you compelely off the couch then I would suggest a 12 month program....
Monday January 17, 2011 11:22 Rod Dixon
11:23
Jeannine Stein: 
John mentioned joining a marathon training group. Some people choose to train this way, while ohers go it alone, perhaps reading books or blogs on how to train. What are the pros and cons of each?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:23 Jeannine Stein
11:24
Rod Dixon: 
The great thing with joining a marathon training group is the friendships and access to information on training on recovery and nuturion information...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:24 Rod Dixon
11:26
Rod Dixon: 
of course the is so much information available on the internet for those who go at it alone. My personal feelings are that I have been a member of a running club for over 40 years and the vaule of the friendships and information has allow me to be a life runner.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:26 Rod Dixon
11:26
[Comment From Ravi RajanRavi Rajan: ] 
How many times a week should I do speed work? Does it need to be on the track or would fartleks do?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:26 Ravi Rajan
11:26
Jeannine Stein: 
Rod, can you also tell us why speed work is important in marathon training, and what value it adds? Also, for those of us who are in the dark, what is a fartlek?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:26 Jeannine Stein
11:28
Rod Dixon: 
Hello Ravi I assume your aerobic base training complete. I would not advise speed training before the aerobic phase is complete...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:28 Rod Dixon
11:30
Rod Dixon: 
this should normally take bwt 10 and 12 weeks. At this point doing some speed training either on the track or fields or closed roads would be beneficial. You alos mention what is a "farlek"...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:30 Rod Dixon
11:31
Rod Dixon: 
Fartlek is a Swedish term for speed play where you vary your pace from slow to fast with intervals of recovery over say a period of 30 to 40 minutes...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:31 Rod Dixon
11:32
Rod Dixon: 
this type of training gives up the challenge of pace variation and is a form of speed training.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:32 Rod Dixon
11:33
Rod Dixon: 
speed training is an important component of training for the marathon but should be done in the correct sequence of preparation...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:33 Rod Dixon
11:35
Rod Dixon: 
once the aerobic foundation of training is complete (this would normally be for a period of 10 to 12 weeks of slow easy running) ...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:35 Rod Dixon
11:37
Rod Dixon: 
at this time alot of runners want to engage in some form of faster training. the benefit of speed training at this point will engage different muscle fibers that are not normally used in the slower aerobic phase...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:37 Rod Dixon
11:38
Rod Dixon: 
speed training gives us the boost in our training towards marathon race day.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:38 Rod Dixon
11:39
[Comment From JodiJodi: ] 
Training question: I may run 2 marathons a year max. This year I'm to do LA in March and Boston in April. Any suggestions for training for 2 that are so close together?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:39 Jodi
11:39
Rod Dixon: 
Nice question Jodi...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:39 Rod Dixon
11:41
Rod Dixon: 
You are taking on quite a challenge running your two marathons so close together. The most important factor is your foundation base training. If you have compeleted a strong and consistent training program it is possible to run the two marathons in March and again in April....
Monday January 17, 2011 11:41 Rod Dixon
11:41
Rod Dixon: 
my only thoughts are do hope to run both marathons at full effort to achieve a fast time in both or is one setting you up for the other?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:41 Rod Dixon
11:43
Rod Dixon: 
the key two to running these to marathon so closer together will be recovery. Recovery is such an important compontent of training and racing. Between the two marathons walk and jog very lightly and don't be concerned about take the odd day off....
Monday January 17, 2011 11:43 Rod Dixon
11:44
Rod Dixon: 
my take on recovery after a marathon is take it very easy for 26 days before doing any training at effort or pace.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:44 Rod Dixon
11:44
Jeannine Stein: 
Since you brought up recovery, why is it important to take days off during training? I know this is a tough one for some runners, since they feel guilty when they do.
Monday January 17, 2011 11:44 Jeannine Stein
11:45
Rod Dixon: 
feel confident about taking the odd day off from training. I will say that you improve more in your running during recovery than you do in training...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:45 Rod Dixon
11:47
Rod Dixon: 
I know from expeirence that taking days off from training are essential to allow the body to recover. And this means recovery in phyiscal emotional mental and spiritual its about the whole body undergoing recovery and rest...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:47 Rod Dixon
11:49
[Comment From karenkaren: ] 
This is all useful info. Thanks!
Monday January 17, 2011 11:49 karen
11:49
Jeannine Stein: 
Thank you for being with us! Rod has graciously agreed to stay on a few minutes past noon to continue answering your questions, so please stay with us!
Monday January 17, 2011 11:49 Jeannine Stein
11:49
[Comment From Will NewmanWill Newman: ] 
I'm 62. Is there an inherent danger in beginning a training regimen at this age?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:49 Will Newman
11:50
Rod Dixon: 
Thanks Will nice question...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:50 Rod Dixon
11:52
Rod Dixon: 
hopefully at the age of 62 you have been active and have participated in some sports of some kind. To start a marathon training program at 62 does require a through medical check up with your doctor and a full discussion of what you plan to undertake...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:52 Rod Dixon
11:53
Rod Dixon: 
my suggestions once you get all go to start. The first three to four months should be based on a walk and then walk/run program and then a run/walk program before taking it to the next level of a running program...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:53 Rod Dixon
11:54
Jeannine Stein: 
John is back with us to continue the discussion about training for the upcoming LA Marathon in March....
Monday January 17, 2011 11:54 Jeannine Stein
11:54
[Comment From JohnJohn: ] 
Thanks for answering my question. I would say I am an intermediate runner, but I guess it depends on the group. I enjoy running intervals and I did the LA Marathon last year. With 62 days until the marathon, is it too late to consider starting progressively longer runs now?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:54 John
11:55
Rod Dixon: 
Okay John you've answer a fair bit of the information that I want and that is you are a runner...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:55 Rod Dixon
11:58
Rod Dixon: 
by this I mean you have training the marathon last year and perhaps you have continued to train since your last marathon. If you have an average two to three days training with an average of 4-5 miles and have run at least two or three 12-14 mile runs I feel confident with 62 days to go you could fit into the training to progress the longer runs now...
Monday January 17, 2011 11:58 Rod Dixon
11:59
[Comment From RamonRamon: ] 
Any tips to share to make it through the last 6.2 miles? I hear those are the hardest?
Monday January 17, 2011 11:59 Ramon
12:00
Rod Dixon: 
Thanks Ramon. I find this is a questions that comes up a lot. We often hear people say the marathon doesn't start until 20 miles. This is somewhat true...
Monday January 17, 2011 12:00 Rod Dixon
12:03
Rod Dixon: 
getting safetly through to 20 miles in the marathon really is the key to how well you will run the final 6.2 miles. For runners who will take several hours to get to that 20 mile mark. How well you run the last 6.2 miles will depend on how well you have managed those first 20 miles with hyratation and eating sufficently to give you the balance to run final 6.2 miles.
Monday January 17, 2011 12:03 Rod Dixon
12:04
[Comment From karenkaren: ] 
Do you recommend strength training as part of training and if so, how often and what type?
Monday January 17, 2011 12:04 karen
12:04
Rod Dixon: 
Good question Karen. Yes I do recommed strength training as part of marathon training or for that matter any running program...
Monday January 17, 2011 12:04 Rod Dixon
12:06
Rod Dixon: 
we often forget that running invovles the whole body and we are only as good and strong as are weakest part. So often we rely on the power of the legs to get us through but there is so many ways we can get our whole body to share in the workload....
Monday January 17, 2011 12:06 Rod Dixon
12:07
Rod Dixon: 
and this means getting stronger. I'm a huge believer in cross training using our own body weight in execise. We need to be more efficent in moving our own body more effectively..
Monday January 17, 2011 12:07 Rod Dixon
12:08
Rod Dixon: 
I also hightly recommend yoga for runners.
Monday January 17, 2011 12:08 Rod Dixon
12:09
Jeannine Stein: 
Rod, thank you so much for chatting with us today. I think you've given people some great advice on running a marathon. Thanks to everyone who joined us--your questions were fantastic and we really appreciate your participation.
Monday January 17, 2011 12:09 Jeannine Stein
12:11
Rod Dixon: 
Thanks everybody for your great questions. I've enjoyed the last hour or so with you all. Please visit the LA Marathon website for more information. Be sure to click on the Roadrunners training and check out our great training videos!
Monday January 17, 2011 12:11 Rod Dixon
12:12
Rod Dixon: 
www.lamarathon.com
Monday January 17, 2011 12:12 Rod Dixon
12:12
Jeannine Stein: 
Be sure to check out those training videos, they're terrific.

Please join us next Monday, January 24th, when we'll be chatting with UCLA neurologist Dr. Christopher Giza about sports-related concussions. Be sure to check in with other chats hosted by our Tribune sister papers: http://lat.ms/gv9Z5t

Have a great week, everyone!
Monday January 17, 2011 12:12 Jeannine Stein
12:12
 

 
 
 


Photo courtesy of Rod Dixon