Lessons Learned: Seventh Marathon

I wish I could say that I’ve got it mastered from my seventh marathon. I know when things will hurt, how to push through them, the secret sauce to power through to that finish line, but I don’t. This marathon was part of my 50 miler training, so my ultimate goal was to still not get injured (among I also thought that getting a sub 3:40 really wasn’t too far off). Oh, how I still have so much to learn!

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You can’t train for a bad day. They will happen and it’s just a fact of life.

You also can’t train for stomach issues. You should still try to take gels in (I didn’t until much later in the race, when I should have tried to take another one sooner).

Be proud of your effort through the race and beyond. There will always be things out of your control. Show up to the start line knowing you gave it your best (or being realistic and knowing that you haven’t) and give it your best that day.

Training on hills is necessary.

Don’t slack on marathon paced miles. I slacked on these a bit (they were HARD) and paid for it.

Don’t rely on an awesome half marathon PR to pull you through on the marathon. I got a big half marathon PR 5 weeks out from race day and maybe had too much ego (that I will get my time goals) leading into the full.

Finding out what works well for you (nutrition-wise) the days leading up to the marathon is really important. I’m still working on this one.

We’re all up to date on my marathons! Cheers to 6 more weeks of training before my eighth marathon! Also shocker- I’m not using this as a build-up for anything else! It’s all marathon-focused over here right now.

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What works well for you for fuel before race day?

Anyone else find marathon (or race pace) miles super challenging?

Lessons learned from your past races- tell me what they are!?

Lessons Learned: Sixth Marathon

After getting a big PR during my fifth marathon, I was hopeful going into my sixth that maybe I could break that elusive 3:50 mark on 26.2. I also had another goal during this race: not get injured. I was using it towards training for MS Run The US Relay the following month. This was also my hilliest marathon to date. I came across the finish line really proud of my race and my effort. I also felt extremely fit for this race (fit enough to drive 5+ hours home post-26.2 . ha. NOT recommended).

I learned that when you work really hard on something, it will pay off. Training on hills through the winter also really paid off for this hilly race.

Find your fuel. I ended up switching-up how often I had my gels and that made a big difference for me come race day.

Don’t be scared to cut-back your mileage if you’re injured. I ended up going to PT during the last few weeks before my marathon because I was having some knee pain (actually stems from tight hips). I scraped some runs, but showed up to the start line healthy.

This was the first marathon where I finished and still had gas left in the tank -> the most amazing feeling ever.

Also another amazing feeling? Passing people in those later miles of the race. I wish I had remembered this lesson during my next 26.2, but alas there’s always new things to learn!

Switching up your sneakers during training runs = necessary. I think I rotated between 3 or 4 pairs and it helped a lot.

Don’t be afraid to change around your training runs or break up your longer runs. I did my last 20 mile run as two shortened runs. It’s not the best practice for someones first or second or third marathon (I truly believe in the power of training your mind/body to be on your feet for long periods of time), but this wasn’t my first rodeo ; )

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What are some ways you’ve switched up training runs on the schedule?

Ever ran a hilly race? How’d it go?

Lessons Learned: Fifth Marathon

I finally got to go from an over 4 hour marathon to under 4 hours when I ran my fifth 26.2. This was THE race. You know, that one where everything just ‘comes together’, you never hit a wall, and that runners high goes strong for quiet some time. I ended up following the hansons marathon method for this building block and I really think that that, paired with getting my anemia back to normal levels, was the key to me obtaining my sub 4 hour race. I ran more miles-per-week than I ever had and introduced so many crazy different speed workouts that they all came together to help build my speed. So, here are some things I learned during the training block and the race:

Building in marathon-paced runs are necessary if you want to achieve a certain time goal.

Running in the late-afternoon/evening for a marathon is amazing. No sun = no problem.

Sometimes listening to music during the race is FUN, but sometimes running with no music during a fun race is even better.

Training well and smart is the best plan of attack when trying to reach a time goal.

Mantras are really important. I put a few really important-to-me ones on my arm before the race and I think they really helped me in those last few miles where everything hurt.

Things are still going to hurt those last few miles, even if you are in excellent shape. I was in the best shape that I had ever been in leading up to this race and I still remember how challenging it was to get my legs moving those last few miles.

Bigger weekly miles and more speedwork = the best results in a race for ME. Find what works for you! Maybe it’s getting a coach (I’d like one of those someday…ha), running with friends, trying out different training plans, etc. No one person is the same, so why should we all expect to have a training plan that fits for us?

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Ever tried Hanson’s Marathon Method?

Do you remember that ‘magical’ race where everything just came together? Tell me about it!

Lessons Learned: Fourth Marathon

2017 was a crazy year for me. I ran THREE marathons after going from a marathon a year. I guess you could definitely say that I caught the marathon bug after Disney. When I look back, 1. it’s crazy to me that this was just two years ago?!? 2. this was a really pivotal year for me on so many levels. I got a new job, I tested out two different training plans for my races (or three if you also count Disney), we moved out to a more residential neighborhood where I could run hills!, re-vamped my diet and found a real love for cooking whole foods, and began this BLOG! So, here are some lessons I learned from my fourth marathon:

Never underestimate the power of good wholesome foods and cooking your own meals. I started doing a bunch of meal-prep, re-introduced carbs, and found that beets and molasses really don’t taste so terrible.

Adding in speed-work and pilates is a MUST when marathon training. I began working with the local Pilates studio and learned so much body-awareness. I miss those gals so much. They were the best.

I learned the power of stepping-back from training so crazily and learned the power of resting. Between Disney and Revel Rockies, I was hospitalized with a Kidney Infection (where I first truly discovered the power of having a great nurse!) and also found out that I was severely anemic! I think this helped with my 10+ minute PR as well.

The treadmill and speedwork became my best friend.

Having a time-goal is GREAT, but having fun should be your “A” goal (always)! I went into this race with the big goal of a sub 4 hour marathon and when I didn’t achieve that, I came across that finish line really disappointed. It didn’t matter that I had a big PR- to me, I had failed.

Wearing shorts when you race should ALWAYS happen. To me, they make me feel powerful and strong.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. It took me 26.2 miles to learn this, but it was the best lesson that came out of this race!

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Anyone else struggle with being too ‘stuck’ on a time goal?

How did you feel when you made a big jump from PR times on a race? Happy? Elated? Disappointed?

Lessons Learned: Third Marathon

My third marathon came in January 2017 at the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. I had planned to do this marathon as part of the Goofy Challenge (half marathon on Saturday morning & full marathon on Sunday morning). This race had been on my bucketlist for a really long time, so needless to say I was really excited when the race came! Although, the half was ‘officially’ cancelled due to some really scary thunderstorms, I still managed to get in my 13.1 miles late Friday evening (I think I ended my run around 11:30pm?!?) and was really prepared to run a potential PR Sunday morning….Spoiler alert: it definitely did not turn out that way at all!

I learned that not all races will be PRs. This was a tough pill to swallow in the moment, but I do remember being really dang proud of running through the entire race!

Finding a training plan that works well for you will make a huge difference. I followed the Run Disney training plan and it honestly just didn’t suite me as a runner. I think there’s a plan for everyone out there and this one wasn’t the best fit for ME.

This will be the first marathon that you actually ENJOY. You’ll stop to take character photos and wish at the end that you had stopped to take more!

This marathon was THE ONE. The one that ‘hooked’ you at the 26.2 distance, the one where you pushed through the pain, the where you pushed through the frigid weather, the one where you’ll cross that finish line and experience all the happy tears.

This race was the one that gave you confidence that maybe, just maybe, you can actually break 4 hours in the marathon and 2 hours in the half marathon (spoiler alert: it will take a while before this actually happens!).

You will train your butt off for this race and while not being able to ‘officially’ complete both of the distances, it will spur you on to sign-up for some other really really crazy distance challenges in the future!

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Anyone else experience the magic that RunDisney races provide?

Anyone else have Dopey Challenge or other ‘big crazy distance races’ on the bucket list like me?!?