Monday, September 21, 2009

Reason #58: I'm in it for the Long Run

I have officially completed my first three weeks of marathon training. Through a combination of fast runs, long runs, and cross training, I have totaled 88.4 miles in the past 21 days. Below are a few things I have picked up from training thus far:

1) Listen to your body. While I try to follow my training plan as closely as possible, on the days when my legs feel like lead, I rest. On the days when I am in the zone, I go the extra mile.

2) Rest days are essential. Take them.

3) You will have good runs where you think “hey, I can do a marathon” and bad runs where you think “I’m actually paying money to run 26.2 miles?”

4) Do not wear 4 inch heels, dance for four hours, and drink vodka clubs before a planned 16 mile run the next morning.

5) Even though there is no physical contact in the sport of running, you will have to deal with blisters, black toe nails, and chaffing. Be prepared.

6) Energy gels will re-energize you. Clif Shot Blocks are my favorite.

7) Friends will ask what you think about during your long run, and you will have absolutely no idea what crossed your mind for the past 150 minutes.

8) I have now deemed six miles as an easy run. I am hoping I will say that about 13 miles in a few weeks.

9) You will be amazed at the shapes, sizes, and age of your fellow marathoners. It proves that a marathon is possible!

10) All of your extra cash in the training months will go toward fuel belts, visors, and anti-chafing cream. As a result, your fall wardrobe will suffer.

11) Make sure to find enjoyment in running. When running for hours at time, I remind myself that this is all part of the experience. Take it in. Be thankful for the ability to run.

12) Start experimenting early with “pre-race” meals and know what works for you. I have had bad experiences in the past, but lately my go-to meal has been a banana and an English muffin with a little peanut butter. Even though I am a daily coffee drinker, I have avoided it before long runs.

13) Find support. My friend Ashley is running the Chicago marathon on October 11 and has served as inspiration as well as a knowledgeable source of information for training. Running blogs, books, and articles are also helpful.

14) Discipline and desire are probably the two traits I have relied on most thus far, and will continue to rely on to get me to the marathon finish line.

15) Avoid cotton shirts. Wear Dri-Fit or Climax, the fabric won’t weigh you down and will keep you comfortable.

16) Develop a mantra. When you find your mind wandering into negativity, use a mantra to change your mindset. Say it once, and repeat. “One step forward, is one step closer” or “move forward, don’t fail” or my college soccer’s simple mantra of “believe.”

17) Runner's high exists. I have without a doubt experienced a runner’s high. I was on an evening run, running alongside the Hudson River with the vibrant New York City skyline in my sight. I almost felt like I was floating, my legs were weightless, and I was in a state of euphoria. As I glided down the road, taking in the fresh air, I closed my eyes(it seemed appropriate at the time), moments later I tripped over a hose and nearly broke my neck. Why there was a hose in the middle of the road? Who knows, but my high was over.

With three weeks of training completed, and nine more to go, I am excited for the rest of the journey. I'm in it for the long run...


  1. I love this post! Thank you so much for all the tips, now that I am starting to run more and farther these are ideal! Especially about how your old long runs are now short runs. I can't wait for that to happen to me!

    Let me know if you ever want to run together -- although I will slow you down.

  2. Love it Gill - Just what I needed to get thru the next 2.5 weeks. PT is scheduled for Monday PM -- she was very optimistic over the phone and promises I'll be ready to go 10/11. In it for the long run...