Northlanders receive Grandma's Marathon training advice from Olympian with MN ties

By KBJR News 1

March 1, 2014 Updated Mar 1, 2014 at 8:07 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The sound of the opening whistle, along with cheers from spectators, are what dedicated runners spend months preparing for.

Health and running experts lent a helping hand to marathon hopefuls to help runners get on course to win the race.

"...what kind of shoes I should get for my feet and what I should drink before a run," were questions on Taconite, MN residentEmily Havens's mind during the seminar.

With only 112 days before grandma's marathon, dietitians such as Heather Pitschka say it's important to start developing healthy eating habits leading up to race day.

"The old notion of eating giant plates of pasta the night before...gone," said Pitschka. "You want to decrease your training so you're not burning off as much and maybe have one or two more carbohydrate rich foods those days before hand.

Staying hydrated and eating carbohydrates during the race will also help keep your body going for the whole race.

"Typically somewhere between mile 18 and 21 is where people hit the wall," added Pitschka, "and if you haven't been fueling well up through that it's hard to finish the race as strong as you were in those first 10 to 15 miles."

But besides what you put into your body, it is also important what is on the inside of your shoe.

"Just having a good pair of socks makes the shoes work better," said Jim Stukel, co-owner of Duluth running store Tortoise & Hare Footwear. "They are only padded under the heel and fore–foot so they don't bag down, so they prevent blisters, they prevent rubbing anyplace."

A few pointers from a former Olympian and Minnesota native also doesn't hurt.

Carrie Tollefson represented team USA in 2004 at the Olympic Games and shared some of her tips to becoming a successful runner.

"Nutrition is a big thing, but also making sure you believe in yourself and you persevere through tough times during training and the race," said Tollefson. "I think that's key, so don't forget to train your brain as much as you train your legs. It's important you have a good strong head going into the race," she added.

Grandma's marathon kicks off on June 21.

Kati Anderson