Muscles locked up during the Marathon ?

(Okinawa, Japan)

Muscle problems during the marathon :

"Dr Marius,

DISAPPOINTED is an understatement. I ran my first marathon (Okinawa Marathon) this past weekend but did not/could not finish. The training went very well, I thought. I used your plan to the letter. I felt really good and comfortable during the entire run. I was aiming for 3hr and was slightly off pace by a minute or two. I was running at a 6:55 min/mi for the first 12.5 mi and then it began to go south. My energy levels was good, my breathing was very comfortable, but I began to feel cramps in my legs and knew something was going awry. I ran with 42oz of EFS (electrolyte drink by first endurance) and a flask of liquid shot (energy gel). I trained with these products and they were my formula for success the entire training cycle. A gulp of EFS every 15min and a mouthful of Liquid Shot every 30min. OK, now to my question and problem. Although my energy, breathing, and feet were good, my legs locked up at 18.6 mi. I could not walk or anything else. WHAT HAPPENED? My HR was averaging 171, which is a low zone 4 for me but I wasn't laboring or struggling for 18min, except for my on coming cramps at 12.5mi. WHAT HAPPENED? and What can I do next time to prevent?

BTW, I ate plain spaghetti for lunch the day prior and light pasta and rice for dinner. I drank some electrolyte drink and raisin bread for breakfast.

HELP!! Thx!


Answer: Hi Clenn and thanks for your question.

There are several considerations you should look into :

1) Did you do the half marathon test race 4 weeks before ? This is crucial to exactly find the correct pace to aim at and cannot be substituted with using workouts themselves to find the goal pace.

2) IF you did the above, it sounds like you experienced an incidence of severe glycogen depletion. It seems that some runners are more prone to this than others and that those runners can benefit from a systematic carbo loading beforehand.

Earlier, this was done with a carbo depletion phase and then a load phase (you can google this and read more). Recent research suggests though that the carbo depletion phase first is not neccesary. I'm linking to an external link on this one - as that article is quite good : Carbo loading Try this before your next marathon !

In addition to this, you MAY want to increase the total mileage in the 100 day plan somewhat, by 20-30 % if you can - by adding in some minutes on the longer runs. But the above is by far the most important.

I wish you all the best,

kind regards,

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How?
Simply click here to return to Marathon Injuries / Recovery