Here are a few things I have learned in my own marathon journey that have helped me stay on course.....or get back on course.;)
Your body starts to deteriorate when you are in an inactive state....I have learned that even aging does not cause the body to deteriorate quite as much as inactivity does. When you are in motion your body does not deteriorate. Getting back to running after a long hiatus is painful and not very enjoyable for most. Whether you need to take a hiatus, have an injury, or are just in a running funk, find something to do that will keep you moving. Join an aerobics class, ride your bike, or take a karate class. If you have a leg/foot injury, swim, do ab routines on dvd, take the time to strengthen you upper body and core.
I found myself in a running funk early spring...I knew I had set my goals high this year(to attain the big BQ) but I was just having a hard time getting my booty in gear. What I really wanted to do was chill out and sit around with a bag of coconut toasted marshmallows(avoid these at all cost!!!! I'm pretty sure the devil himself invented them) Instead, I joined a fitness boot camp. Something I knew would not just keep me active, but would keep me accountable and also benefit me when I got back to real training. Something that would make my fitness foundation stronger. We all know running does not just require legs and feet, you need strong legs, strong abs, a strong back. Do something that will benefit you in your future runs.
Even if you aren't getting in the same mileage but you are staying active; when the time comes to start pounding out the miles again it will be much easier to get through those start up miles.
I am once again in the start up miles of my marathon training. This go around has been much easier for me. I have had more "good" training runs then just ok training runs... last time I felt like I had a lot of "junk" miles...this time I feel like I'm training "on purpose".
Trial & Error
Another thing I have learned is the art of trial and error. Just because Dr. so and so says it...or it's printed in some book, doesn't make it right for ME. I have read a LOT of different material on how to properly train for a marathon and the one thing that is clear to me is that there is NO PROPER WAY to train for a marathon. You have to figure out what works best for you and that comes through trial and error. If A+B=C for an elite runner, than how come A+B doesn't =C for me?(well for one, I'm NOT an elite runner) but also because I am a completely different person with a completely different DNA make up! For me, A+B might =P.A.I.N......so I had to figure it out. I really struggled with this last go around.
That is what your training period is for. Use your long runs to experiment with what hydration technique works best, pre-race meal, post run recovery, which gels you can stomach and which ones you can't...some of your training runs won't be pretty, but you will discover what works best for you. (*It is always good to know where the closest bathrooms are on a run or at least carry some tissue with you.;)
I'm not an elite runner and I have only run one full marathon so far, so maybe that disqualifies me from giving marathon advice to some. What I am is a full-time, working, mother of 4, who loves to run and has put in the time to train. Many of you are in the same boat or maybe you're just climbing in...either way it's not easy and it's not always fun but it doesn't have to be confusing or overwhelming.
Marathon training is rewarding.
Crossing the finish line knowing that the months you have dedicated to the run has paid off, is very satisfying.
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Have a great day and Happy Running!!!!
Grace and peace,