Take Two: 5 Things I Learned While Training For [+ Completing!] A Marathon
It’s okay to change or push back your goals. I may have not accomplished my goal today, but that does not mean I will never accomplish it. I will run a marathon. I don’t know when it will happen, but I know it will. I think when I’m 26 it would be a good year to run it “26.2 at 26 years old?” I dig it.
I wrote that almost exactly two years ago, on October 12, 2014 while *officially* sharing with the world that I wasn’t completing in the Chicago Marathon. [Read the full post here.]
Wellllp, funny how life works out, isn’t it? : ) I’m excited to share with you that in fact I did run 26.2 miles at 26 years old. ++ I’m so.freaking.proud of myself [+ Sarah! ++ all the others runners out there!].
If a marathon is on your fitness bucket list, here are 5 things I learned while training for a marathon:
#1] You absolutely need a training plan.
++ it’s important to stick to the *the plan* as much as possible. Find a training plan that works with your schedule//body. I knew that I didn’t want to run every day, so I literally googled “marathon training plan running as little as possible.” The first article that popped up: The Less-Is-More Marathon Plan. It consists of three running workouts a week: sprint workout, mid-distance pace workout, ++ then a long run. I’m obsessed with it — it allowed me to continue my yoga workouts, + I never felt overtrained. I also have a *training pace method* for the long runs that I’ll share with you in another post!
#2] Training buds aren’t THAT important — it’s more important to find someone to hold you accountable.
Two years ago, I attributed a major part of *failing to not complete the marathon* to the fact that I didn’t have a training bud to complete the long runs with. Looking back, I know it was mostly because I didn’t follow a training plan, + truly didn’t have the time//mental energy needed to put into training for a marathon. [+ that’s OKAY! I’m so glad that I waited until I was ready!] I went on only ONE run with a parter ++ it was the very first *long run* which was six miles, ahah. Sarah + I literally DIED — it’s so funny looking back. On that one + only partner run, we realized that we run very differently — I like to run at a faster pace, ++ then walk every few miles, while Sarah sticks to the *slow + steady wins the race* mentality. However, while we didn’t run together, we held each other accountable! Knowing that we were both sticking to our individual plans, ++ going on long runs on the same day gave me the push + belief that we were COMMITTED. We were freaking doing this marathon.
#3] Complete your long runs on Friday morning.
I’ve always heard people complain about *losing their weekend* while training for a marathon. Who wants to lose 15 weekends?! That’s not fun! Sarah + I both completed our long runs on Friday morning ++ it was one of the best decisions! We could enjoy Friday night [TGIF Happy Hours : )] without having to worry about waking up early to run on Saturday. Plus, this meant that Saturday was a complete rest day, which was so nice!
#4] Learn to enjoy the long runs. [#AllTheGu + Smoothies + Epsom Salt Baths!]
You guys are probably rolling your eyes at me : ). But seriously — ENJOY the long runs. Especially if you are training for your first marathon, there’s something to be said about hitting a new milestone every long run. Chances are, every week, you are going to run your LONGEST RUN EVER — that’s freaking amazing! You should be so proud of yourself! I learned to view the long runs as *me time* + created a little routine around them, so much so that I actually [gasp] looked forward to them!
My routine = wake up before sunrise [because running at sunrise is the PRETTIEST THING EVER!] + right away eat a pack of Jelly Belly Sport Beans [my fav is the *extreme* selection — because I think it has more caffeine : )!]. Then, I take a small gatorade on my run, turn on my fav playlist [I listened to the same 4 hour playlist every run on shuffle that I knew I was going to use on marathon day] ++ take as many packets of GU as needed. I love, love, love the espresso + sea salt chocolate. I would take a packet every 5 miles. In terms of the gatorade, I drank a bit every mile, or whenever needed. Thankfully, the trail I ran on had quite a few water fountains, so I took water breaks as needed. THEN, when I was all done with my run [YAY!], I treated myself to a huge protein smoothie from a local cafe + an epsom salt bath. I love this foot soak from Lush, but you can buy epsom salt at any drug store!
#5] There’s something magical about a running + yoga combo.
It’s typical to hear about cross-training for a marathon, but to be honest, my only form of cross-training for almost all of the training program was yoga. I started training Fourth of July Weekend, ++ I had a couple weeks left of testing out CHAARG BOOTYCAMP workouts, but come last week of July, my entire focus was running + yoga. I probably averaged 3–4 yoga classes a week. As you guys know, I’m obsessed with CorePower. I would take 1 heated sculpt class a week [it’s similar to a barre class], + 2–3 heated vinyasa classes. My *zen* ; ) improved so much from these classes, ++ the heated room helped with detoxification, relaxing my body [+ was my only form of stretching — not proud of that], improved breathing, increased flexibility, ++ focused my mind. There really is something magical about yoga — you need to feel it for yourself!
I hope this encourages some of you guys to become a part of the *crazy club* [let me know if you decide to sign up for a marathon please, so that I can root you on!]. The most important advice I can give you is to wait until you are 100% committed — it’s so important that you have the time to devote to the training plan. It’s not easy, but it is so, so worth it!