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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm training for the L.A. Marathon (road race), and I have an 18 mile long run next weekend. My question is it better to train on dirt or harder stuff (blacktop/concrete) to simulate race conditions? I am concerned about preventing injuries.<br><br>
I mainly run half marathons, and for that distance my favorite training path is a hilly dirt trail near my home. I have been using that lately but it's got disadvantages (like hardly any bathrooms or water). During the 14 and 16 milers, I carried a heavy 2-bottle trail pack on my lower back; I think the extra weight may have bothered my knees but I took a few days off and they are ok now.<br><br>
So for the 18 miler, I'm considering using this asphalt/concrete bike path near the beach (it's got bathrooms and water), plus I can park my car nearby and pick up supplies as I need them.<br><br>
I have completed one marathon in 2006 and trained mostly on harder stuff, but since then I noticed my knees are rather sensitive. But I have lost 10 pounds since that marathon). I wear orthotics and neutral shoes that I replace frequently (Asics Gel Nimbus and Cumulus). I have biomechanical problems (knock knees and one leg shorter than the other) so I do alot of cross training with a personal trainer.<br><br>
I would appreciate your wisdom on this subject since many of you are way more experienced than I am with the full marathon.<br><br>
thank you in advance,<br>
dromedary <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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I think you're going to get a lot of different answers...... everybody's different... and everybody's body is different.<br><br>
I know lots of folks hate running on concrete, and I try not to very much, but when I do it doesn't really bother me or my knees. I think the extra weight of carrying water would bother me more. I'd go with the bike path and try to concentrate on running form....being as light on my feet as possible and keep my strides short.<br><br>
The best to you on your training <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
Jim
 

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Hi Dromedary! Great topic. Seems like a good idea to do some running on the same type of surface and simular elevation profiles that the race will be on. I will not run on concrete at all. I like running on the multi use paths like you are talking about as they are soft and not slanted. Your logistics sounds very good. Good luck on your training and race. Larry
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys for all the advice! I am going to try a mix of the different surfaces (dirt and asphalt) and avoid the concrete like you said.
 

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I'll just add that for my first marathon a few years ago, I did all my training on concrete. That marathon was a mixed surface but mostly asphalt and crushed limestone.<br><br>
According to my doc, the change in surface (from what I was used to running on) contributed greatly to a knee, ankle, and hip injury incurred in that race.<br><br>
I now try to vary my running surfaces.
 

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Take a broad focus and look at your preparation as a whole, and not just as a single run. Why are you doing long runs? How much time before your next run? Is your next run a recovery run or an interval session? (Yes, it makes a difference!)<br><br>
In my opinion it depends primarily on how well your legs recover from a long run. If you can handle hard surfaces and still run your next scheduled quality run then you should be OK, but if you have a hard time recovering from a long run then I suggest discretion is the better part of valor. Stick to softer surfaces.
 
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