Since April I have been training for my first and possibly only marathon. I’m running the Marine Corps Marathon to honor my dad and uncles all who served. Here are seven short lessons I have learned as I trained. Feel free to share one of your lessons from training in the comments.
- Learn how your body works – working with my doctor to determine hormone levels and blood work helped me better prepare for how to eat, refuel, and train. Learning about glycogen depletion and how the body breaks down certain foods will provide a better understanding of performance during running.
- When I eat is as important as what I eat – I really enjoy pizza but it may not be the best option the night before my long run. Knowing what foods maximize training makes it more enjoyable. Pizza is the celebration AFTER the run now.
- Proper recovery is a vital part of training – in the past I would finish a run and begin to instantly analyze everything that went wrong based on how I felt. Now my first question after a run is “what can I do to recover and be most prepared for the next training session?’ Recovery includes foam rolling, yoga, static stretching, compression gear, ice bath, ice wraps, and sleep. 2xu (click 2XU to visit the site) is my compression and recovery gear choice.
- Find out what refuel source and hydration is most efficient – Through working with my run coach, nutritionist, and doctor I have a good grasp of what will help me refuel and hydrate during runs over an hour. Using Skratch Labs for hydration and GU Energy for refueling works best for me. Everyone has preferences so it can be trial and error.
- Quality Sleep is essential currency for training – I had to change my habits about electronic media so my quality of sleep would increase. Bonus is going to sleep at 9:30 most nights and even earlier before my 4 am alarm for the long run.
- Say “thank you” often – gratitude defeats the attitude of self -entitlement. I’ve been fortunate to have encouraging people and companies be a part of my training. Send text, emails, and letters thanking those who have helped in the journey helps keep me centered.
- Having a run coach made a difference – one of the main problems I found with most online run programs was the lack of individualized approach and human component. Working with Ryan Knapp allowed me to have a confidant when I struggled mentally or needed to make adjustments. The big goal was always in mind along with a daily plan to reach the finish line.
Bonus – Power naps are awesome and I have gradually lost weight since April!