When you take on a marathon the distance is a scary thing. The next time you drive in a car take a look at your mileage meter and take account of the actual 26 miles. What will take you about 26 minutes will take me 4 hours or more to complete on my feet. When you get to where ever it is that you are going I will still be running. It’s a crazy thought1 I know because people at work tell me that all the time and trust me I believe them because I myself have done the same thing.
26.2 is scary but challenging and I love the challenge and working toward a goal. Every run has taught me something about myself in some way through this journey of marathon training and 16 was nothing short of a million lessons learned before and after the run.
I always let myself sleep in on long run days because I need the energy and truly, I don’t get the chance to during the week so I take a little advantage of the running. I was feeling pretty sick with a head cold but I decided to go out anyway because anytime prior running would make me feel better. I drank my 2 scoops of UCAN and had a protein shake before that and I was off.
Tip #1 – Eat something REAL before a long run.
I set off on my trail with my camel back full of water because I really didn’t like carrying a water bottle. I didn’t drink anything for the first three miles and was listening to a podcast. This particular one was pretty boring and I should have changed it but kept going because it was keeping my pace slow. Later I turned the music on, started jamming out and after mile 3 I took in water at every mile. My pace was pretty good and at around mile 8 I stopped to use the bathroom. I was feeling really good on the energy front and I started thinking about how time-consuming marathon training is on the weekends. It pretty much eats everything on the weekend. 2 plus hours running and then the rest of the day is rest and Sunday is also recovery. It’s fine but when you have so many chores to do it can leave you feeling like you have to do everything at once.
Tip #2 – Split up your housework during the week so the weekends are free from at minimum cleaning.
Around mile 12 I started feeling a small cramp in my calf so I decided that I would take in more water and I opened my Clif Bar and ate a few bites of that with more water. I ended up having to use the bathroom again and there wasn’t one until I reached the end of my run so I had to hold it.
Tip #3 – Plan bathroom stops even if you don’t normally need them.
I made it through the rest of my run pretty happy but feeling really crummy. I had a photography appointment that I had made prior to the realization of how tired I was going to be on this run and while I should have cancelled for the sake of my health and the recovery that I didn’t realize until later that I needed I trudged on, I had a great rest of the day but I was very spent.
Tip #4 – Sometimes it is okay to say no.
Marathon training is a big deal no matter how “super hero” people think that you are. I think that I give off this air that I am tough and I can do anything and while that is true I am also human that needs rest and recovery as well. I put extreme expectations on myself and I think that is passed on to others as well. On the norm it is okay but internally I am seeing and learning that I do not have to do it all, I can ask for help and I don’t always have to say yes. It’s very eye opening to me to let go because of the past that I have had. Ever since my divorce a few years ago I feel like I have to PROVE something to others because people that didn’t really matter now that I look at it didn’t think that I could so I have to SHOW them that YES I can and I will do it WELL. This week has been a humbling experience for me. In a very personal way I have had the time to heal things about me that I thought were a “normal” part of me but that was truly a source of pain for me.
Tip #5 – You need electrolytes.
I got home and showered and got ready for my adventure out and I got really woozy. I thought I was going to be sick and or pass out. I laid down, ate the rest of the Clif bar that I had and took in some electrolytes and I instantly felt better. I have since bought salt tabs to take with me on my run. I didn’t know that I was going to be so drained and lose all of my electrolytes, but that is what training is for. It’s to learn what your body can do, but it’s also to know what you can improve on because……well…..there is ALWAYS room for improvement.