Lessons Learned From Marathon Training.

Hey there!

While my training for this marathon has been less than ideal because of my EHL strain, my mom has been powering through the plan (an intermediate level Hal Higdon plan for any curious runners out there), and doing fantastic! In today’s post, she is sharing some of the lessons she has learned since stepping up the mileage for the marathon.

Lessons Learned While Training For a Marathon - Adventures of a Mother-Daughter Running Duo

  1. Walk

We did a little more research to prepare for this marathon than we had done when training for our first half, and so after a runner friend of Nora’s dad recommended a couple of  books, we were on our way. We settled on Jeff Galloway’s running /walking method. (Galloway says the mix of running and walking is what prevents injury – despite all the added miles – and that appealed to me!)

I decided to try running a one mile followed by walking a minute – and this interval seems to work for me. It’s gotten me through a 17, an 18, and a 20 mile run (a little more about this one later). Even after running further than I ever have before, I ended the runs feeling great, and more importantly, I was able to walk just fine the next day.

Don't be afraid to incorporate walk breaks into your marathon training

(I also decided to keep taking my walk breaks during the shorter runs during the week, reasoning that since the goal was to keep my legs fresh for the long run on the weekend, it couldn’t hurt to take it easier during these hot, humid mornings. Which brings me to the second thing I learned: WATER.

Hydrating properly is key.

  1. Water

Drink it! One of the other books we looked at encouraged runners to walk through the water stops as they hydrate. (I like this because it’s hard for me to drink and run at the same time. Without choking at least.) So in addition to carrying a bottle on the longer runs, I started carrying a small bottle on short runs, and sipping as I took my one minute walking break. What I discovered was that, between the walk breaks, and sipping some water, I could run between 4-8 miles on a hot, humid summer morning and still feel really good, whereas in the past, I would have been drained and cranky.  I was also surprised to discover  that when I looked at my watch, I was only off my normal pace by 20 to 30 seconds, so despite the walk break, my times were pretty similar.

Make sure you're eating nutritious meals with plenty of carbohydrates.

  3. Food

Eat it! Training for the half marathon three summers ago, Nora and I just did some carbo-loading the night before and that was about it. But for this race, we had purchased Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners, and began paying close attention to what we ate – and how much –  and making sure we had good snacks, especially some carbs, frequently during the day.

Nancy Clark's Food Guide For Marathoners

But as it happened, on the two consecutive days before my scheduled 20 mile run, I had “special outings.” I ended up eating late lunches (in one case just pizza, so not balanced) and then just having ice cream for dinner!! (this is occasionally something that happens in our household). Now these are not things you have to avoid when training for a marathon, but these meals were not complete and so I learned the hard way that my muscles hadn’t been fueled properly. At about mile 12 of my 20 mile run, I felt my legs tiring, and even a few cramps. This was surprising to me since I had run the 17 and 18 mile runs without any discomfort!  I kept fueling during the run, and managed to keep a positive attitude all the way to the finish. But later that day, as I realized I had messed up my diet during the two previous days, I realized just how important it is to  maintain  a good diet. This Sunday, I will make sure I eat balanced and nutritious meals in the days leading up to my last 20 miler before the race.  And lastly: Ice.

Ice your feet during marathon training.

  1. Ice

Though I haven’t been able to have a full-on ice bath yet, I have enjoyed filling a basin with water, some ice, and a couple of my frozen Dassani water bottles (I also use these alone sometimes, rolling them  under my feet as I watch TV). This modest ice bath feels really great after a hard run, and though it can’t help with the blackened toenails  (that’s what dark red nail polish is for), it cools your toes and feet,  and gives you an excuse to sit back and relax and think about how amazing it is that you’ve just run so far!!

18 Miles during marathon training

20 miles during marathon training

So there you go! Have a wonderful long weekend (and maybe go for some long runs if you can!) 🙂

 

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Marathon, Training

9 responses to “Lessons Learned From Marathon Training.

  1. cooperrp@comcast.net

    Blackened toenails??? Oy.

  2. charissarunning

    Great job!! You’re training is going so well. You will crush the marathon in a few weeks! I’m still trying to learn all the tricks of long run training even the second time around. It really is so important to eat well and hydrate. I have yet to find the right fueling formula for me that keeps me going (and feeling good) after an 18-20 mile run.

  3. I am in awe. Such dedication.

  4. These are great tips! I’ve been dealing with an injury on and off for the past year and am always looking for new intervals to try that allow me to get through a run without any pain. I’m going to give the one you mentioned above a shot. Thanks!

  5. MB

    Love the article! I need to get out and do my long run this morning! You made me feel better about the walking breaks! Have a great weekend!

  6. Marie G

    September 2, 2014 at 3:07 pm
    I know.! This has made me rethink my attitude about walking too! And the trick is to take the walking breaks early on, even if you don’t feel you need them. My split for the second mile was 10:44, with the 1 minute walk, and my split for mile 20 was 10:44, even though the temperature – already warm- had risen about 12 degrees! I guess the breaks just keep you from draining your reserves too quickly. So good luck on your next long run and we would love to hear how it goes!
    Nora’s Mom (Marie)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s