Looking Back at Marathon Training

Now that almost two weeks have passed (and I’m not doing anything), I thought I would share my thoughts on marathon training and the marathon as a whole. I will say that the marathon was the hardest thing I have ever done. It encompasses every part of your body including you mind, body and soul. And you can’t fake your way through a marathon – if you aren’t prepared, it will show.

Training
When training started I was all about it. I tried to stick as close to the plan as possible. Runner’s World is the expert, so I wanted to follow their trusted plans. As I got further into training, I made some changes for myself, like cutting from 5 running days to 4. Then, 1 month into training I got a new full-time job that includes a 70 minute total commute. This threw a wrench in my plan as it was hard to wake up early enough to get in long weekday runs. 10 miles in the morning before work just wasn’t realistic (or safe). So I tweaked my plan and my mileage suffered.

Midway through training I came down with a case of runner’s knee. I was freaking out and so nervous that I wasn’t going to be able to finish training. I pulled back on my mileage and my main goal became just getting to race day healthy enough to race. I feel like “healthy-enough” should be the slogan for all marathon training plans. I don’t know if it is possible to make it to race day in perfect condition. Training is hard on your body and so many things can happen. So it is all about being healthy-enough! And I was! My runners knee got better as I stretched more and did some strength training.

Looking back, I wish I could have gotten more quality runs in midweek and also fit in more speed training and track workouts. But I never missed a long run. I cut a few of them short due to weather and injuries or sickness.

Body/Weight
I was anticipating gaining weight during marathon training because I know it is common. I actually wound up down 1-2 pounds from the start of training. I was not concerned with losing weight during training because that didn’t sound like a good idea. I knew my body needed to be well-fueled and healthy to make it through all my runs. But I also didn’t want to gain weight because that didn’t seem healthy either. I think part of the weight loss most likely came from lack of strength training.  All of my clothes fit throughout training and I didn’t notice too much change in my body. I didn’t track this closely, though.

The Future
What does the future hold for me and marathons? That is to be determined. I always said I would never do a full marathon and now I eat my words. Never say never! I do not have my eye on another marathon in the very near future, but knowing how competitive I am with myself, I will most likely decided I have to beat my time and tackle another one.

For now my goal is to register for more races. I really love having something to train for and plan to participate in several races next year of varying lengths. Here are some I am considering:

Superbowl 10K: Feb 6th
Shamrock Half Marathon: March 13th
SacTown 10 miler: April 3rd
Parkway Half Marathon: May 1 or 8
TRI for Real Olympic Distance Tri: June 5th
Run on the Sly Half Marathon: August 21st

They all sound great, but we will see which ones I actually run!

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