Thursday, 28 March 2013

Long Distance Lessons

So as I gear up to start training again, I find myself dreaming, plotting, planning, and thinking about Marathon #2. I long for those perfect 42.2km (or 26.2 miles). Just me, a pair of sneakers and the road - spending some quality time together, battling my inner demons and my genetic shortcoming - all while smiling and bouncing across that finish line triumphant and happy. OOOOOHHHH I want it so bad I can taste it!

And this time I am gonna be READY! This time I have decided that I am a little older,  a little wiser, and better prepared for this monstrous task. So I am taking all the lesson I learned last time and putting them into action!

Lesson #1 - Respect the Distance
42.2 kilometers is a LONG WAY to run. I definitely underestimated the power of the Marathon. Don't be fooled - it is far! Very very far!

Lesson #2 - Patience is a Virtue
Miles, Strength, Endurance and lots of training are required to run a Marathon. And all of that requires patience and perseverance.

I tried to run my Marathon way too soon after toasting the ta-tas. I started running again in June, but I had absolutely no base, no strength, no endurance. I was basically starting over. I tried to go from running 0 miles to Marathon glory in 4 months. It was ambitious and also a little silly. I wasn't ready. I just really really really wanted to be.

So this time I going to be patient (or rather as patient as I can be). And I am giving myself time to build that base. It is also why I have decided to change my goal race. I have decided to run the Hamilton Marathon on Nov 3rd. It is a flat course. It is ranked the #1 Boston Qualifying Course in Canada. And it is a little bit later than the other race options I was looking at, so I will have more time to train.

Lesson #3 - Nutrition is Key
So deep down I always knew this. But I was a total nutrition newbie when I ran my last marathon. I had experimented with lots of things and lots of different products leading up to me race, but I never really nailed down what worked for me. I am going to make an effort to log my meals along with my miles on My Fitness Pal so I can keep track of what fuel works for me and what doesn't. There will be no funny business this time around.

I will also be fueling my runs with Clif Blocks to help keep my sugar levels in check. CLIF Bar has been absolutely amazing to me and has offered to sponsor my marathon journey. (**No big deal, just a CLIF sponsored athlete. Totally normal for a newbie amateur marathoner and Darwinian Fail, Right?! Totally normal...**) So I am going to nail down my nutrition plan early and practice my race day fueling on my long runs. No Bonking Allowed!

Lesson #4 - Cross Training is Your Friend
Because I was trying to get my running legs back so quickly after my surgery, I think it is possible that I over-trained. Or at the very least over-ran. My approach to my last marathon was simply run, run, run, and run some more. I was logging 5 runs/week on my own and 3 additional runs/week with the 10km clinic I coach. This was clearly not the most balanced approach. Miles were logged, but at the end my legs were fatigued and I wasn't any stronger for it.
This time around my training plan will include swimming, biking, and yoga. The swimming and biking are key for my endurance as well as triathlon training. And the yoga is required to help restore my body and balance my training after those long training run.

Lesson #5 - Consistency is Powerful
One of the things I think I did right last time was remain consistent throughout my training. I followed my training plan to the letter, now granted it wasn't the ideal training plan, but I was on point in terms of commitment. If you want results you have to do the work. And I plan to do the work.

What do you guys think? Would love to hear your thoughts, criticism, feedback?

Ready?! Let's go!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,