Hey all y'all Elle Noelers!! I'm Meredith and I normally hang out over in My Own Little World. I immediately got nervous when I saw Leigh Ann's name in my email box with the subject: Guest Post. Oh yes, I was nervous but knew I couldn't pass this up.
I totally think Elle Noel and I go together like peas and carrots. We both are brunette, from the south and LOVE all things running. We both are also in the midst of marathon training. Our FIRST marathon. And if you have read one post here you already know this.....
10 Things I Learned from Marathon Training
1.Hydrate and Fuel properly. In my mind it goes something like this: Pee ALL the time and eat ALL the food. I have never guzzled so much water and eaten so much in all my life. Mostly I try to aim for healthy choices and I am able to do this 80% of the time, but I won't lie- one main reason I run is so I can eat. In all seriousness-hydrating and fueling properly will take you the distance.
2. It is hard and time consuming. Oh hello there Captain Obvious. Really though, I thought I knew it would be hard but I didn't really know until I got a few weeks into training. Running consecutive days in a row was new to me. Even as a runner having completed 5 half marathons, I still never ran 2 days in a row. I always felt fresh legs were best and in theory they are. In marathon training though, the theory is you have to get through 26.2 miles and you are going to be tired. Your legs will not be feeling so fresh and you have to train to deal with it. This was new to me and why it has been hard and time consuming. Confession time: I cross train with spin and walking on Sundays but I have not lifted a weight in probably a month. Running has completely taken over and for my first go round with this beast, I'm ok with that.
3. You will look and feel amazing. This is most certainly an added bonus-next to eating my weight in food on long run days. My legs are rockin, my skin looks amazing and I feel upbeat and energized most days. WhooHoo!
4. Be flexible and self-forgiving. Things are going to come up. You or even one of your children(if you're a mom) may get sick. Life happens. Don't be too hard on yourself. Don't try and make up mileage but DO get up, dust off and get back out there at the next chance.
5. Dress accordingly. My training started the beginning of August. One of the hottest months of the year here in Tennessee. It has also taken me through the Fall and now into cold weather temps. I have run through thick heat and humidity, rain, wind and the freezing cold. It sounds crazy but I would rather brave the conditions than die of boredom on the ole dreadmill. Having the correct gear makes a world of difference. I also have been rotating my shoes. I wear one pair for my mid-week short runs and one pair I wear for my weekend long run. I could do a post alone on what to wear.
6. Use long runs to try different methods of fueling. This was a big one for me. I had always used GU gels up until my last couple of long runs. I suddenly I started having um, "Issues" after I had consumed more than 2. I was worried after 2 runs(pun intended) of this happening. What was I going to do? I still had a couple more long runs to try something different- and that I did. I switched to a different method of fuel, Clif ShotBlocks(2 chews every 5 miles) and this seemed to help tremendously. Use your long runs to see what works best for you. Better in training than on race day!
7. Rest, Rest, Rest! Rest days are scheduled for a reason. Your body is taking a pretty hard beating on the days you run. You need rest. You need to regroup and re-energize. I know I am getting towards the end of the week in training because fatigue starts to set in. I seem to get tired doing everyday things. I am always thankful for my Friday rest days!
8. Set a goal. You've signed up for the race, you are now training- do you have a goal? Initially my goal is and still is to finish. I would be lying again if I didn't have a second, goal in mind. A finish time goal. Goals are good and keep you motivated and hold you accountable. Have a goal.
9. Everyone is different. Your run, time, pace, etc will be different from mine. You will have a good run when I may have had a bad run. We all differ. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. Those can even change from day to day. Stay focused on that goal and what it is that brings you back each time. For you. Not anyone else.
10. Respect the distance. I haven't run the marathon yet. I have completed all my LONG training runs and am currently in the "taper" phase. I know I have to go beyond the 22 miles I trained at. I know I don't have a clue how those last 4.2 miles are going to play out. It makes me nervous and excited. All i can do is rely on my training and respect the distance that is before me.
Whew- are you glad I am done now? That seemed long!
Thank you all for reading and Thank you Elle Noel for allowing me to take over your place for the day!