“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Marathon Training: Lessons I've Learned

    We have all been there...you train your mind & body for months to run the Marathon..dedicating hours upon hours running, cross training, eating properly, stretching...etc., then race day comes. You run your race with everything you have in you.  You finish strong and stay high on the endorphins and the joy of your accomplishment for the week(s) after the race.  Then you hit the low.  Maybe it's burn out, maybe it's lack of a clear post-race goal, or maybe you just don't have another race lined up to push your training.  Whatever the case is, we have all been there and getting back isn't always easy or fun.
 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.

If you haven't already, don't forget to enter my giveaway! One reader will win a pair of Auria Earphones.  Giveaway end 7/18 you can enter HERE

Have a great day and Happy Running!!!!

Grace and peace,


Melissa said...

Great post!!

I'm also at the beginning of training for marathon #2 and I feel very much the same. I feel like I used my "off season" much smarter (routine but diversified enough to be fun) and that I have a much clearer vision of my traning plan and what it will take. I think the confidence of knowing that I was able to take care of myself during the race and cross the finish line with a smile gives me confidence of being able to push myself and do it again the next time.

Best of luck with your training!

Glenn Jones said...

I am all too familiar with that post race funk. Mine has lasted over a year! Talk about a mean case of burn out.....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...