Saturday, June 11, 2011

So You Want to Run a Marathon?

Alright, so it is that time of year... lots of people are starting marathon training.

I am so lucky to be starting my fourth training season! Wow I cannot believe it! Want to know why else I am lucky? I know a few people who are training for their FIRST marathon. Seriously so proud of you guys, one is my sister:) and a Holler to my friend Kate who ran her first 10 miller yesterday!!

I have had a lot of people asking me for advice on training, from "what should I eat?" to "what do you think about on long runs?"

First, I will note to anyone who wants to run a marathon- IT IS NOT EASY. I do talk about my love of running and marathoning BUT I don't want anyone to think that means it is easy or the entire process is fun. There are days when there is no fun involved... but you just do it (holler Nike).

1. How do I stay motivated?

The main thing that keeps me running is the knowledge that if I train hard, the marathon will be that much more enjoyable. Let me tell you some days, when my alarm goes off in the 5 a.m. hour, I do not want to wake up and go for a 6-8 mile run... before work. But guess what? I do it. I feel amazing when I finish it and energized throughout the entire day. I have the freedom to do whatever I want after work.

Not only do I feel great afterwards but I know that completing that run is getting me closer to my goal and will help me enjoy the marathon. My thoughts on this are, if I skip a lot of training runs the marathon will be waaaay more difficult and so will the recovery. If I train hard you will see me smiling while running at mile 23 and heck, I will probably get a better time.

I have been very diligent about my training in the past and plan to continue this way. I do not skip runs, maybe because I am superstitious but I feel way more comfortable on race day knowing I am as prepared as I could possibly be.

Now, one quick note on not beating yourself up about it. If you have a vacation in the middle of training - take a few days off. I went to Mexico two weeks before I ran Boston and while I did run everyday I didn't track my millage or beat myself up about it. You live life and running should just be apart of it, you shouldn't live to run.

2. What do I eat?

CARBOOOOOS I eat bread, cereal, pasta, cous cous, qunioa, oatmeal and plenty of cookies and cupcakes :)

I also consume a lot of fruits and veggies and PROTEIN. You have to eat protein to keep your muscles building especially after those long runs. I definitely up my carbs during training- I try to have at least one serving a meal and at snacks. For those of you who avoid carbs... then you should probably avoid marathons. I don't eat as many carbs when I am not training but I swear you run better, faster and stronger if you are eating carbs while training. Your body NEEDS this type of energy and getting it from fruit and veggies alone won't do. You will be tired and your runs will suck.

I have tested around with different eating and this works best for me, but honestly I do not think there is a better way to train for anyone. I have known girls who run distances and still avoid carbs- they run slower than me and are way more tired... just saying.

Also, I treat myself during training. Well, truth be told I treat myself everyday... I don't remember the last day I went without a treat. During training I find myself frequenting bakeries much more often. Sure a ton of sugar is not good for anyone, I know this but I am working my booty off and when I run 20 miles I deserve a big old slice of cake with extra frosting... Woullets Bakery becomes a second home during training :) Some people would probably say this is not a good thing to do to your body and blah blah blah but for me, it works and makes me happy! I believe in a balance in sweets, buuuuut not so much when I am training.

The night before a big race I usually eat something carbo based with some protein and veg. This can range from some great Pizza Luce to a  Jimmie Johns sub, or a nice pasta dish.

And then I eat a lovely dessert.

A quick list of things I enjoy while training:
Whole grain breads, cereals, pastas
Fiber one pancakes (with choco chips)
Greek Yogurt (great protein for a recovery meal)
Fish- protein
Peanut Butter
Fruit - apples, bananas, berries.
Lots of veg
Tofu- protein
Eggs- protein
More bread
Protein bars- my favs are Luna and Kashi bars

I am not a big smoothie girl but I know a lot of people like making protein smoothies. I am more of an eater so I'd rather eat a meal instead of drinking it. I also drink Gatorade SOMETIMES only after like 15 plus miles- I don't like the taste of it.

I am not a Guu fan either- I prefer Chomps (little gummy energy bites) or Cliff blocks. Guus make me feel like I am going to yack.

3. What shoes do you wear?

Asics- hands down the best running shoe for me. I need the extra support. My best advice here is to go to a running store where they watch you run and they will help find the shoe for you.

Fro clothes- it depends on the weather but Nike running gear is my all time favorite.

5. Do you listen to music?
Usually, when I am training, but I don't really during the race. Personally I love to hear the crowd roar and pretend I am the winner. I do use music when I go out for long runs. I usually run alone, even for 20+ mile runs- I enjoy the "me" time.

6. Do you get nervous?
Only the day of... like 10 minutes before.

7. Do you eat the morning of and before long runs?
 I sure do but I know a lot of people don't. Some people can't stomach it but I need the fuel. I get up early so I can digest a bowl of cereal with almond milk, berries, a banana and coffee, of course!

8. How do you re coop after?

Um, I have been known to not be so good at this... I have learned from experience, taking time off is key. I have gone back to running 2-3 days after and have hurt myself. I recommend AT LEAST a week. I have gotten so hurt after coming back too soon that I was out for 3 months (idiot).

Take the time you need off- wait until barely anything hurts anymore.

Get a massage- it will hurt but it gets all the guck out.

Got to yoga- it works.

Eat when you are hungry- your hunger will be a little off and at odd times. Just go with it- this is an awesome time to really be in tune with your body. Some people are not very hungry that day and then starving the next and some are starving right after or even during the race. I have had a different experience with each race so I just tune into my body and usually eat even more than it tells me mwahaha (at least desserts).

9. How do you do it more than once?
I am addicted. I am addicted to the training, the kicking my own ass, the proving myself, the adrenaline, the challenge and the endorphins. It is a part of me.

10. Do you cross train and rest?
YEP, my training plan is 5 runs a week. I take one day off or add light yoga that day and do weight training the other day off. During Boston training I actually took one of my running days and logged the miles indoors, on the elliptical.  I had bad knees before training began and wanted to be extra careful- and guess what? I got the exact same time as I did in the race before :)

11. Can you take time off if you are hurt?
YEP, do it. One of the few times I have skipped a run was because of injury. Listen to your bod during training- don't go against it... it will win.

12. Do you ice after?
No, but I should and so should you.

13. Do you ice bath?
Nope, after Boston all I wanted to do was take a hot shower... I made my parents go get me a huge sandwich and took a hot shower (I promised them it would be cold) I regretted my decision the entire next week when my body killed.

14. Do you take pain medicine.
Yes, Advil becomes its own food group (this is not the best advice but its what I do).

15. What is your BEST advice in a nutshell.

Be serious, bite the bullet when you "don't feel like it", be ready to work really fricken hard, eat up, do yoga, listen to your bod and be prepared to feel the most proud of yourself you ever have in your entire life after you cross that amazing finish line.

I still get chills when I think about any of my finishes, I cried every time (sometimes in pain hahaha).

But seriously, all of the sweat, early mornings, running off a hangover, eating, blood blisters, PB sandwiches and protein bars are worth it in the end. It is something a lot of people would never do and guess what? You do it and you feel like you are the queen of the world... for at least ten minutes.

Any more questions I missed? Ask way!!!

Peace, love and marathoning!

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