How Drinking Water Almost Killed Me – Part 2 of 5 – Preparing for the Marathon

This is the second part of the series. The previous one described my running background up to the 30K run to Montserrat in November 2011.

After completing that 30K uphill run, completing the famous marathon run certainly seemed feasible. It required careful training. I also preferred doing it in one of my home towns such as Barcelona or Tel Aviv, rather than doing it on unfamiliar ground.

I had a break from running during the beginning of January 2012 due to a visit in Israel, and I began considering the Barcelona marathon upon returning towards the end of January.

The race was planned for March 25th. At first I didn’t register, as I wanted to be certain I’m up for it. This cost me more money when I eventually registered, but I could afford it. So, I began training in the city and around.

Besos River - Barcelona
Besos River – Barcelona city limits

Preparation

A friend helped me find a good plan, and I began running at least 3 times per week. This included several short and fast training sessions, medium length and medium speed runs and most importantly lengthy runs on weekends.

The long runs consisted of doing a half marathon, followed by a 32 kilometer (20 mile) training session on a gravel road in “Carretera de les Aigues” above the city. This run left my knees aching and a bit worried I’m not up for the big run.

During these long runs, I became aware of the power of Powerade (or Gatorade if you wish). The isotinc drinks presumably has the right balance of water, sugar and salt, and I felt that they gave me a big boost along the runs.

A week later saw another half marathon race in which I didn’t encounter any pain and in which I set a personal best of 1:44:42. It certainly motivated me.

The longest run of a bit more than 32K was a bit hard, but I completed it successfully. This was 3 weeks before the big run, and I felt comfortable enough to register for the marathon.

The plan was to run 24K a week later, but it turned into 30K, which was already in warmer weather and more tiring, but after having all this capacity behind me, adding a bit more seemed within reach. It was.

According to the plan, the last weekend before the big day was an easy 15K run in order to “taper down”. That’s exactly what happened.

Montjuic as seen from the outskirts of Barceloneta
Montjuic as seen from the outskirts of Barceloneta

I had my last short training session 5 days before the race. Then I started a coffee and alcohol diet: abstaining from coffee was done in order to clean my body towards the race and then have a nice cup of coffee on the morning of the big race. This way, the fat burning that caffeine offers would be more effective.

Abstaining from alcohol just helps clean up from a tiring factor before a significant physical effort. I also woke up early and got up early, getting myself ready for waking up early for the race, especially as it was planned for the day that DST came into effect.

The next chapter will be published tomorrow and includes the race itself and the aftermath (what I remember).

All the chapters:

  1. Running Background
  2. Preparing for the Marathon
  3. Race Day – From Euphoria to ER
  4. Losing it and Getting Back
  5. Thanks and Conclusions