With my first full marathon just 12 (OMG, really?!?!) days away and having successfully (barely) completed all of my long training runs, I have compiled a list of the Top Ten Things I’ve Learned While Training For My First Marathon. So here they are, in no particular order:
1.) Running-Buddies- I could also call them “people-who-suffer-alongside-you-while-pretending-they’re-not-suffering-but-you-know-they-are-and-it-makes-you-feel-better-about-your-own-pain.” Thanks for the great runs Sarah & John!
2.) I Love My New Shoes- Thanks to the amazing, knowledgeable people at Fairhaven Runners, I purchased a great pair of new shoes a couple weeks ago. I was unaware that I had been wearing the wrong size (hence the losing of toenails). Now my feet are happy, comfortable and blister free! So important to have great shoes!
3.) Hydration is Key- Everyone knows this is important. I unfortunately made the mistake of not hydrating enough before or during my 20 mile run and felt the awful effects afterward. I learned a huge lesson (the hard way) about proper hydration.
4.) A Marathon is Time Consuming- It is definitely much more of a time commitment to train for a full, as compared to a half, marathon. While training for all the half marathons I’ve done, a training run never lasted longer than an hour and a half. My 20 miler last week lasted almost 4 hours! Ugh! that is a lot of time to put aside for running.
5.) Snacks- Lesson learned….If you’re going to run for 4 hours, without eating lunch, bring a snack!
6.) Gu/Hammergel/etc- First, Gu doesn’t count as a snack (see #5). Second, though it has an awful texture and sort of has to be choked down, Gu is super essential to my long runs and helps me go the distance (ha!)
7.) Chafing Sucks- Because I am not one of those “Skinny Minnies” whose thighs somehow (magically?) don’t rub together, I invested in the Body Glide Anti-Chafe stick. And let me say this: Best. Money. Ever. Spent.
8.) Hitting the Wall- I thought I had experienced “hitting the wall” before my last (20 mile) run. I had no idea. It actually didn’t technically happen until after my run, during my cool down walk. Nevertheless, I was walking (ok hobbling) and all of the sudden couldn’t walk/hobble/drag myself one more step. I just sat in the middle of the sidewalk and waited for a ride to come get me. Ouch!
9.) My family and friends are AWESOME- A huge, gigantic, enormous, giant…you get the point, THANK YOU to my Mom and friend Katie who so amazingly rode their bikes along with me on my 18 and 20 mile runs, respectively. I will sum up my gratitude in a MasterCard like statement: Running shoes= $130. Running shorts and shirt= $60. Not having to carry your own water/Gatorade/Gu for 3+ hours of running= Priceless!
10.) I’m Insane- Though I was thinking myself a little crazy when I officially registered for my race, I did not fully realize how hard the running would be until about mile 18 of a 20 mile run. What the HEll am I thinking?!?