Health and Wellness

More Cow Bell! Marathon Running and Training Tips

I am running the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin tomorrow morning. You are welcome to come and cheer me as I run from Grafton Highschool to Veterans Park. I will be on a 3:30 pace if that helps you plan your spectating. This will be my fifth marathon and I am occasionally  asked for training and running tips. Tip articles are also popular so I thought I would write my own tips article.


1. Have a good reason to run a marathon. It takes about 16-20 weeks of training to prepare for a marathon. The only way to stick with the regimen is to have a good reason.

2. Remember a marathon has two halves. The first 20 miles and the last 6.2 miles. Almost anyone can run the first half. Running the second half is 99% mental. Be prepared for the anguish that comes when you hit the wall.

3. Practice consuming electrolyte drinks during your training runs and on race day actually walk through the fluid stations so you can drink the fluids instead of throwing them on your chest.

4. Plan your fluid stops. Just because there are water stations every 1.5 miles does not mean you should drink every 1.5 miles. Drink when you are thirsty.

5. Like almost everyone else I just want to add, don’t start too fast. Know your goal time and pace and stick to that pace. I tend to feel really good between miles 8 and 18 so that for me is toughest time to control my pace.

6. For men, know and prevent the danger of nipple chaffing. I have tried band-aids in every direction. This year I am planning a two-layer cross placement.

7. Make eye contact with spectators, especially the ones with cow bells. If you need an extra boost just say, “I need more cowbell.” That almost always gets me the extra cheers I need.


By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.