Ok, so I’m only at the halfway point in my marathon training, but I think I’ve already learned some really valuable lessons from it. I was going to do this post right before I ran the marathon, but now is as good a time as any.
1. Picking the Right Marathon
I picked the Savannah Rock n Roll as my first marathon for a few reasons.
- I wanted it to be out of state so I had a change of scenery.
- I wanted it to be in cool weather – so I chose a November race.
- I wanted to run my first Rock n Roll race.
I met all my criteria; the problem is I didn’t realize at the time that I would need to train for a November race in the summer. The news often describes Florida weather as “dangerously hot.” Not ideal for training. Plus, it makes for some pretty craptacular runs that make you wonder if you can even finish a marathon in the first place. It was pretty dumb of me not to consider.
If I could do it all again, I would have picked a race in February so training could start in November.
2. Picking the Right Training Schedule/Group
I chose a 3-day per week training schedule for a few reasons.
- I wanted to do the least amount of running possible so it wouldn’t take away from my personal life too much.
- I didn’t want to burn out during training.
While I love Marathonfest (the group I do my training runs with), they started training way to early. With Marathonfest, there is over 4 months of long runs each weekend. I’m half way through and I already feel like I’m ready for the race with one 20-mile run under my belt. Next time, I would only do 3 months of training. Maybe less.
3. Running with Friends or a Group
I decided to join Marathonfest because I was pretty sure I wouldn’t do all my runs without some type of formal meet up. I love sleeping in and once it gets hot outside, I don’t want to leave the house. So, I’m really glad I joined this group. Before Marathonfest, I only ran on my own. Running with someone is so much better. I had no idea. Not only have I met some really awesome people, but it’s nice to be with others that are working toward the same goal. They encourage me to keep going when I don’t think I can and they tell me it’s ok to cut my long run short and try again next week if I’m really struggling.
Sometimes just knowing I will see my group every week is what helps get me out of bed at 3am when hubs is just going to bed after a fun night out.
4. Being Committed
Marathon training takes away from your social life and other commitments. A lot. While I knew what I was getting into before I began, I didn’t realize how much it would suck. Hubs hangs out with our friends on Friday nights or does other fun things while I go to bed at 8pm. Then I get up at 3am to run while he’s just going to bed. Unless your significant other is an understanding anomoly or lives in another town, just know that it will affect them as well. Not just you. You are taking time away from your family and friends, and chances are, they don’t like it and miss you.
If you cross-train (which you should), it takes extra time too because you need to work that into your schedule on top of your running. Most of the time, I feel like my schedule is all work, training runs, other workouts, and picking up around the house. I don’t have a lot of free time for relaxing.
5. Gaining Weight
Running long distance does not mean you will lose weight. In fact, a lot of people gain weight during marathon training. Yes, you burn a lot of calories, but you also want to see how much is “all you can eat” at a buffet until they kick you out. I’m usually really hungry for two days after a long run. And that second day of hunger is a rest day where I’m not burning any calories.
Yes. Best to cut down on that parsley, fatty.
Of course, marathon training teaches you the importance of experimenting with running gear and fuel and a bunch of other things that I think half marathon training will teach you. But I’ve found these 5 things to be unique to marathon training.
Did I leave anything off the list? What have you learned from marathon training?