Bold Print: I have no education, whatsoever, in exercise or physical anything. I don’t even read running magazines. I have to try VERY hard to follow my doctor’s advice when it comes to taking care of my legs/feet. I am in no way an expert.
That being said…I did run my first marathon last May and it went so well, I want to do it again and again. This is what I’d tell someone that was thinking of running a marathon.
1. You CAN do it. I made my decision after watching “Biggest Loser’s” marathon one year. I thought: if those people who were inactive and 350 lbs 4 months ago, then I can certainly do it. What you don’t know yet is that you build really slowly. You run 8 miles and then 10 miles and then you think “I can run 12, because it’s only 20 minutes more than I ran last week”.
2. Cross-train, cross-train, cross-train. I cross-trained really hard and had no injuries, at all. I felt like it was because I was working ALL of my muscles regularly, not just my running muscles, and so nothing was getting over-used and strained. Others I know, who didn’t cross-train, got injuries. Also, I was reading an article about running your first marathon, and the #2 thing they said to do, after checking with your doctor, is to begin weight lifting! My cross-training included 2 days of serious weight-lifting and one day of boot camp.
3. Use this plan:The Less-Is-More Training Program . It’s a 3 day a week training plan and I really liked it. I felt like I never got burned out on running or was achy from pounding my feet 4-5 days a week. You have to be running 4-6 miles to start it, and it starts at high mileage right from the start, but all of my friends, who trained with me and didn’t use my plan, want to use it for our next marathon.
4. Convince SOMEONE to do it with you. Those long runs were actually FUN to me, because I knew it was my alone time with my friends. Plus, you want to talk about it non-stop, so you need someone who cares.
5. Realize that your body will need to recover. When I ran 15 miles on a Saturday morning, I was kind of useless until about 2:00 pm, after a long nap. It’s a sacrifice for your family, so tell them thanks a lot.
6. Research your marathon. Don’t start out on a challenging, hilly, high-altitude one. You can find ratings and opinions on sites like this.
7. Download some new upbeat, dance-y tunes every few weeks. “Rockstar” by Pink gets old after 115 miles of training.
8. Good shoes. Everyone who knows me, knows I get by on cheap. You can’t go cheap on running shoes. Go to a running store and have them fit you…it’s worth the extra $50, I promise.
9. Don’t expect to lose weight. Unless you are a boy.
10. Start early experimenting with food and liquid during your long run. You want to have a fueling habit that your body can count on. You can find books at the library or websites that will give you ideas on ideal marathon training nutrition. (I ate a banana and a yogurt 30 minutes before each run, fueled during the run with G2 and jolly ranchers and tried to eat a complex carbohydrate—whole wheat bread/crackers within an hour of getting home.)
There you go! It was so fun! I get a giddy feeling in my stomach whenever I remember it and can’t wait to do Top of Utah in September of this year…anyone want to join me?
**More How-Tos: Check Stie’s fun How-To Tuesday here.