Things I Learned from Running A MarathonJune 3, 2017 / byrunningwhilevegan / Categories :
March 19th, 2017 I ran my first marathon, the LA Marathon! I trained for four months, and I learned a lot about myself, about running, and what to do to prepare for my next marathon! Now that I am so very wise and experienced, I would like to impart some of my newfound knowledge to the world! Or, at the very least, remind myself of some key factors for the next time around.
Hydrate! Hydrate a lot! Hydrate the entire week before, more than ever. Just don’t hydrate the morning of. I mean, drink water, but like, a glass of it or just an energy drink. The lines at the port-o-pottys are brutal and to put it gently, people are in there awhile, expelling their nerves.
Don’t wear new clothes, shoes or socks. Do a dress rehearsal with what you plan on wearing on at least one of your longer training runs.
Eat A LOT of the foods you enjoy that you know will sit well in your stomach. Eat whenever you want three days leading up to the race. Since I wasn’t necessarily racing for time my first marathon, I had a bagel and a banana the morning of, but that’s up to the individual. For me, when I get hungry during a run, that’s when I know it’s all going downhill. I highly recommend racing gummies, energy gels and even candy in a running pack for longer runs and a marathon. Having my favorite candy in my running pack helped boost my morale and energy levels for the really long training runs.
Be honest with yourself, your friends and family about your level of commitment for social gatherings. Long training runs mean abstaining from late nights and alcoholic beverages. They mean a level of exhaustion you may not be used to and it creeps up at times you may not expect it to. I wasn’t expecting to fall off the face of the earth the way I did. My energy levels are usually through the the roof! Surely I could balance it all! Nope, no, no way. It has helped tremendously to be part of a run club, follow other runners on social media and have a runner boyfriend. Do your best to get acquainted with other runners – people who have done it, are training for it, or aspire to do it. They’ll be there for you when you doubt yourself, cheer you on for your victories and inspire you to keep going!
Learn to run without headphones. Race day is exciting, there’s so much energy in the air, and there’s nothing like it, nothing I can think of to compare it to. Since I stopped needing to run with music, I was able to take it all in on race day, be more present. Of course I pack my headphones! Sometimes you need that boost, those power songs! It’s also nice to take them off and take in what’s going on around you!
There’s going to be a recovery period, a body hangover if you will. I wasn’t expecting not to want to run for about a month after the marathon, but that’s how long it took. I felt fantastic after the marathon! I couldn’t wait for the next one! I read somewhere that you should take a day off for every mile you ran, and I thought that was complete nonsense. Turns out there’s something to it. When I joined back up with my run club for a 5 mile run, a month after the marathon, I was surprised to see I wasn’t the only one struggling. Most of us had run the marathon, and in our post-run pep talk, the pacers/leaders/advanced runners among us admitted they were still tired, that this 5 miler hadn’t been easy, and it was completely normal. That eased my mind so very much.
If you have the opportunity, course preview goes a long way! This can mean just checking out the course, or ideally, running it. Not the whole thing at once, but parts of it during training runs. The LA Marathon is full of hills the first few miles, and fortunately my run club had already taken us through it for most of our runs! I knew when to speed up and when to slow down, as if running on muscle memory! If you are traveling for a race, this may not be an option, but if it’s home turf, take advantage!
Remember to have fun – it’s YOUR day! It’s really special to run a marathon and a huge accomplishment!
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