I have ran three marathons so far and looking back on it now I didn’t train smart for any of them. Honestly I didn’t know what I was doing. To run a race you just go outside and run right? Yes, but if you want to run your best race probably not.
I should have known this, I ran track in high school and was pretty good. I must have repressed the memories of my speed days on the track with 400’s and 800’s. Or maybe I figured those workouts wouldn’t benefit me for a half or full marathon. In high school I ran the mile, 2 mile and sometimes the 4×400 relay. Those were so short compared to 13.1 miles or 26.2, right? Right in that they are short, but all training is best with variation speed, tempos, long runs, short runs, hill runs, etc.
When I signed up for my first marathon I just wanted to finish the race. I had just gotten back into road racing and wanted to complete a new distance. I printed a plan online and just got to it. That’s where I went wrong. This plan was not geared to me. It didn’t know who I was or what my history of running is. It doesn’t know what’s going on in my life now. It knows nothing and can be a great base but I shouldn’t live and breathe this plan.
I ended up running the same pace every run. On days I did run I felt I had to go at least five miles. I kept building miles and that was all. No variation, no cutback weeks. I cutback the length of my long run but not really my overall miles. As you can guess I got injured. I was able to run my race but near the end of my training I took a rest day after every run.
My most recent marathon I got one step closer to training better. I incorporated a speed day. I trained with friends from work and we ran most our runs together it was great! The mistake I made this time was running all my runs too quickly, a pace that my body hadn’t adapted to yet. I got to the race and I BQ’d but I overtrained. I felt sluggish going in and I took the whole summer off from any sort of formalized training and racing.
My marathon is now 2.5 weeks away and I am so confident in my current training cylce with Victoria from run4prs. I got a customized plan from her and it opened my eyes to everything I did wrong in the past. It also opened my eyes to my potential if I train right! I feel like I am in the best shape I have been in since high school!
My tools to success:
- Knowledge- I read as many running books as I can to gain as many perspectives as possible.
- Recovery is important – foam roll, bands, lacrosse ball, yoga, cutback weeks
- Variation- have your week contain long runs, short runs, speed workouts, tempo, recovery runs
- Hydration – I used to be so bad at hydrating now I love drinking nuun and also tea throughout the day!
- Focus on the goal- keep in mind what you are working towards and trust the process