Sunday, October 16, 2011

Marathon Lessons Learned Part 1 - BEFORE a marathon

I've never run a marathon before so I really had no idea what to expect come race day and how my body would react to 26.2 miles.  Even though I've poured over marathon runner blogs you don't really know until you experience it yourself. 

Three lessons learned of what NOT to do in the days before a marathon (side note: despite these lessons learned I'm still very happy with my time and performance but you can't help to think how you could have done better)

1. DO NOT walk all day every day in the days leading up to a marathon:
Ashley from Redonkulous Runner told me multiple times (via email, comments and her own blog posts) to try and not walk too much in the days before but obviously I didn't listen.  I was in a new to me city and since we had two days before the race I wasn't going to just sit on my butt in the hotel.  Looking back we probably should have utilized public transportation a bit more and I should have cut my multiple mile walk through the park down to a couple miles...oops! 
There were just too many fun sites to see!!
2. DO NOT have an abnormal meal schedule: 
On our first full day in Chicago I didn't eat a full meal until 3PM...bad idea.  My stomach did not like me and decided it didn't want to keep anything in it's stomach for the entire day.  Of course this did not help my nerves.  Luckily, the day before the marathon I was super strict about eating 3 good meals that day and on time and my stomach forgave me. 

The 3PM first meal which was delicious BTW
3. DO NOT spend an abnormal amount of your time doubting yourself and all you training:
As marathon morning approached I was very nervous and began to analyze all my training and what I might have done to be more prepared.  Maybe I should have ran more 20 milers or ran 22 or even 24 miles...6.2 miles is a lot more to run when you've never run past 20 before!  As much as I tried to squash those thoughts knowing that there was nothing I could do about my training in the days before and that I was READY they kept getting overpowered by negative thoughts.  I think this played a large part in me being SO nervous for the first half of the actual race. 
Of course there were lots of things I did right like not having one sip of alcohol the entire week before the marathon, carbo loading, drinking TONS of water including gatorade and coconut water and trying to get a full nights sleep each night.

Stay tuned for Part 1 - What not to do in the week AFTER a marathon :)

Question: What lessons have you learned about what not to do before a race?


Mrs. V said...

You learned the most valuable lesson....No walking the day before!

ashley (redonk runner) said...

haha, the walking thing is def the lesson i will take with me to every other marathon. i managed to not drink the day before the marathon, but i can't say that about the week haha.. i went to two breweries two days before the race!

Falon said...

#1! For sure! I walked around the Mall of America for 10 hours before my first half marathon. Mistake! And that was only a half.

Coy Martinez said...

It's such an experiment, marathon training. I'm going on my 4th and only NOW am I figuring out what works. I went from not carbo loading to overloading. Eat a philly cheesteak with extra onions and mushrooms the night before. Holy crap!

I loved your marathon report and glad you had a good one! I've got my eyes set on Chicago next year!!

Jamie said...

Don't psyche yourself out! That's one of my big rules. I bet you did great!