Monday, May 12, 2014

Tips on Training for your First Marathon

As many of you probably know (since it is all I talk about) I am currently training for my first full marathon and was hoping to  pass along a few tips and tricks I have found extremely helpful during my training process. I will be running the Surfer's Path Marathon in Santa Cruz, CA on May 18th (less than a week away - EEKS) as my first FULL Marathon (running alongside a friend that suggested I run it with her). The list below is in no particular order (and can actually be used as tips for training for races in general, even if you aren't ready to take the leap of conquering the beast of a 26.2 mile race)...

Find a plan and stick to it.
I am a list maker. I LOVE crossing things off once they are complete. Having things written down is a MUST for me. But even if you aren't a Type A personality (or maybe a little OCD) like me, I would still strongly urge you to find a training plan (whether it is one that you find online or one that a coach sets out for you). Make sure you find one that works with your lifestyle. For example, if realistically you can only get 4 days of running into your weekly routine, then don't pick a plan that calls for 6 days - it will only lead to frustration and failure. You need to find something that will be able to work within your time constraints and current way of life. Also, make sure to DO the work! This might sound obvious, but it seems all too often we find excuses to miss workouts. Put them on a calendar, just as you would an appointment or meeting, and make it happen! {Now obviously you need to listen to your body, but if you aren't hurt or sick, you should get those training miles in.}


Have a support great system.
My husband is my number one cheerleader, but let's be honest, he doesn't know too much about running. I have a few select friends, that when I run a fast time, break a personal best, kick booty on a hill workout, I can reach out to and they understand what I mean. They get me and I get them. I am lucky enough to have some amazing running friends in my life, but if you don't, please let me persuade you to seek some out. The running community is AMAZING and always willing to offer encouragement, lend a helping hand, and celebrate alongside of you. (There are GREAT Twitter Chats and Facebook Groups you can join, if you need suggestions of where to start. Also, check out local running groups! I promise, we don't bite!)

This goes without saying. Thankfully I LOVE water, so it isn't hard for me - but I know there are a lot of you out there that really have to force yourself to get enough H2O throughout the day. Whatever you need to do to make it happen, DO IT! (I have seen folks write times on their water bottles so they know how much they should drink by a certain time, move rubber-bands from their wrist to the bottle until the all the bands are on the bottle, add fruit to their water to add a little {healthy} flavor, etc.)


Quit your day job.
Okay, okay, this one may be more of a joke, but it is actually what I did :) With all day to train, it makes it a lot easier to get in all of my workouts and training runs. I am beyond blessed to have an amazing husband who has allowed me the opportunity to stay home for the past few months. But NO I did not quit to train for a marathon... it just so happened that I was a housewife when I decided I could train for a marathon. In all honesty though, you will need to put in a lot of training hours, so make sure you are ready for the commitment before clicking the "Sign Up" button for a race.

Recovery is KEY.
Adding mileage can stretch your body to limits it has never seen before. Making sure you are able to recover between runs is key to avoiding injury and being refreshed for your next workout. I make sure to try and stretch every evening (this is something you can do while watching TV, reading a book, or chatting with your hubby about your day). My foam roller has become my best friend (yes, it hurts so good). I wear my PRO Compression Marathon socks after difficult workouts (and even during my long runs) to promote circulation and blood flow. I use golf balls to roll the arches of my feet when they are feeling tired or sore. Taking care of your body between workouts will help ensure you will be able to cross the finish line of your race.


Celebrate the victories.
Whether it is a distance personal record, kicking booty on a hard workout, or not walking during hill repeats, take joy in what you have accomplished. Yes, of course you are working for an end-goal, but you can also rejoice in the journey that gets you there.

I am sure there are plenty more tips out there, but these are the main ones that I have been focusing on while training for my very first full marathon. And hopefully, after seeing this short and simple list, you are swayed to sign up for your first! I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT! (Oh yeah, my last tip, and possibly most important - BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!)

Are there any I left out that you would have added to the list?

1 comment:

Angie said...

Thanks for the tips! I will start training for my first marathon this July. I am pretty nervous, but I know if I do the training I should be okay.