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Going the Distance

Expert tips and gear that will get you through a marathon chafe-free, and still standing

by Catherine Roscoe Barr

So you’re running a marathon?

Be sure to invest in quality shoes from a shoe-fitting professional and technical active wear with chafing in mind. For chafe protection, Forerunners North Vancouver co-owner Jerry Ziak suggests longer shorts or, for unencumbered movement, short-shorts paired with an anti-chafe stick. If you’re running for more than 90 minutes, it’s important to have fuel and electrolyte replacements as well as stay-put sunglasses with UV protection. And, for the ultimate marathon-training gadget, opt for an all-in-one device that compiles extensive data into an online log that you can measure against friends. But whether you’re running a half marathon or a full 42-kilometre race, training is your key to success. Reduce your chance of injury with these four tips from veteran athletic conditioning coach Jason Chamney, founder of Fitness Science Corp. and LeanRunner: 1. Include one long slow-distance (LSD) run each week, “to condition your orthopedic system—your bones, joints, muscles, tendons—to tolerate the marathon distance,” Chamney says. 2. Make every third week a light week, running 50 to 75 per cent of your previous week’s distance. 3. Increase the duration of your LSD by no more than 10 per cent each week. “If your longest run is 10 kilometres, it will take 25 weeks to build up to a marathon distance of 42 kilometres,” says Chamney. 4. Build additional recovery into your weekly program, with one to two days off, plus one cross-training day (i.e., cycling, strength training, swimming).