I have to say that overall this has been a pretty good training cycle. Sure, I’ve felt fatigued and dealt with some minor injuries, but I think that’s expected when you’re training for a marathon. I believe that with every new training cycle you learn more about yourself, and this was certainly true for me this time. Although I have a few more weeks left of training, I’m ready to share five things I’ve learned during this training cycle.
I’m not a summer weather runner
I know my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to running, and I’m definitely a cold weather runner. Sure, it requires more layers, but it just works better for me. Training during the summer is HARD! I’m not saying that I will never run in the summer but it would be nice to run because I want to and not because I have to. I’m looking forward to just “running for fun” next summer.
I will not run a Fall marathon next year
This lesson goes hand in hand with my first statement. There’s no need to suffer through long training runs in the heat and humidity if my heart isn’t in it. I think you do yourself a disservice if you start a training cycle but aren’t really committed to running that race distance. For that reason, I definitely need a break from running a Fall marathon. I actually don’t plan on running any marathons next year (unless I get into the London Marathon).
Experimenting with fuel/hydration is important
I experimented with some new fuel and hydration products during this training cycle. While some were a miss (Generation UCAN), others were a a big hit (Tailwind and Huma gels)! While I still do use Nuun and Honey Stinger products, I’m happy that I decided to give other brands a chance. I’m finally figuring out what products work for me, especially during my long runs. While I’m still working on my pre-run fueling, I feel comfortable with my running fuel and hydration choices during this training cycle.
It’s OK to modify workouts
I’m very Type A and I like to stick to a plan. This applies to a marathon training plan as well. I was very focused on making sure that I got in my strength training workouts to help avoid injury this training cycle. That worked well for a few weeks but then my knees started to get very sore/achy. It got to the point where going up and down the stairs was painful. I was icing my knees and using KT tape but it wasn’t helping. After some trial and error, I realized that the cause of my pain was lack of consistent PT exercises and too many squats/lunges in my strength training classes. Now that I’m doing my PT exercise routine almost daily and modifying certain moves in my classes, my knees feel SO much better. A little bit of modification might have just saved my training cycle.
Don’t doubt yourself
You always hear “Trust the process” and guess what, you should! When I as struggling during my long runs in the beginning of my training I was getting frustrated. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong and I was doubting if I could even run the marathon. As the weeks went on, the runs weren’t always pretty, but they were better. I just think that my legs got used to the increase in mileage week after week and I learned how to hydrate more on my runs.
Are you currently training for a race? What have you learned so far?