While the 3CheapRunners are slugging Cervezas on a Dominican beach, we have asked a few of our blogging buddies to handle our posts for us. Today we have Katie from From Ice Cream to Marathon taking over…Thanks Katie!
Hello friends and readers of 3 Cheap Runners!
My name is Katie and I blog over at From Ice Cream to Marathon.
I LOVE Mike, Michelle, and Rhoda's blog and was so excited when they asked if I would like to do a guest post. I am so honored!
Today I'm going to share some tips on how to build up to your first marathon.
I have been running for a year and a half, and have ran 3 marathons. I am currently training for a 100 mile ultra, in April. I remember after running 5k races, thinking there was no way I could ever run more than that. The thought just seemed overwhelming! But I love a challenge, I love pushing myself, and I love doing things that my brain says I can't do! So I kept on running, a little more each time, until I got to the point of being confidant that I could run a marathon. Here's some things I learned along the way.
Set a date and find a marathon
I did this before I even began training. I knew I wanted it to be an 'easy' marathon. Flat and fast! I also didn't want it to be a huge marathon, with lots of people. I knew I would do that eventually, but not for my first one.
Find a training plan
I followed a 16 week training plan from Runkeeper. There are lots of plans out there, ranging in length from 12-20 weeks. Most plans assume you have been running for at least 6-10 weeks, and can run for at least 30 minutes without stopping. If you are brand new to running, I would start out with the Couch to 5k plan first.
Training for a marathon takes several months. Follow the plan as closely as possible, it will get your body used to running longer distances and you'll gradually build your endurance.
It's not uncommon for life to get in the way. If you are unable to run on one of your scheduled days, don't get discouraged, get out there and get back on track. Remember what is driving you to run a marathon!
Hydration and Fueling
During your training you'll be able to figure out exactly what your body needs to be able to run a marathon.
Some people wear a hydration pack or carry a water bottle with them. I haven't done that for any of my marathons, as I've found the water stops to be plenty for me.
Energy gels or chews are the easiest to carry and often the easiest to digest. I use GU's during my long runs and marathons. I have found that it's hard for me to chew anything while running, so I like the consistency of the GU's better.
I can't say enough about how important it is to hydrate and eat correctly, before the marathon. Hydrate well several days before the marathon. Eat a simple, high carb dinner and breakfast before the race.
My 2nd marathon was the Chicago marathon, and I did it all wrong, even though I knew better! The week before, I ate very little. I was so nervous about the race, that I could hardly eat. I ate very little the night before, and the morning of the race, I only ate a banana! DON'T DO THAT! I paid dearly for it. Starting at mile 13, my stomach was hurting so bad, I had to walk almost the whole second half of the race. It was extremely disappointing. I also believe drinking too much gatorade during the race caused that. I crossed the finish line an hour later than I was hoping. Fueling is very important! (Thankfully I learned my lesson, and got an awesome PR at my last marathon.)
Ok, you've done the work, you've prepared, now just trust your training and go out there and do it! Make sure to pace yourself and start out slow, even though that's hard to do.
Enjoy the spectators, enjoy the scenery, enjoy every bit of it, even when it gets tough. Crossing that finish line will be absolutely incredible. And it will be so worth all the sweat, blood and tears! :)