Happy Tuesday! I hope that everyone had a great weekend and that you’re enjoying July so far!
This week’s Tuesday Topic: What are your tips for a strong training cycle? You can write about this topic, or feel free to post any running related blog post. Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida and the bottom of this post!
This topic seems perfect as many runners have already started training plans for their Fall half marathons and marathons. As I embark on training for my 4th marathon, here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
Have a plan, but be flexible
Of course it’s smart to have a plan to follow, but also know that it’s okay to deviate from the plan. Life happens, especially in the summer, so you have to be flexible. This could mean changing a long run to another day in the week to make sure you get it done, switching your strength training and running days, or skipping a run all together. Now that doesn’t mean you should skip runs all the time, but missing a shorter weekly run, once or twice, will not derail your training.
Embrace Rest Days
I can’t stress the importance of taking rest days during training! i like to take my rest days on Fridays since my long runs are typically on Saturdays, but do what works best for you. Training for a race is no joke – you’re logging lots of miles in addition to other workouts. Your body needs time to rest and repair. Also, you don’t want to overtrain because that is a surefire way to cause injury. Rest days are also a great time to do some extra foam rolling and stretching.
Hydration and Nutrition
It’s so important to be aware of your hydration and nutrition during training. Will you be prefect? Absolutely not, but at least being aware will help you to make smarter decisions. Making sure that you are hydrated is so important, especially since you’ll be training in warm weather. I always keep a reusable water bottle with me – at work, my car, my gym bag and at home – so that there’s no excuse for me not to drink water throughout the day. One tip – drink at least 16 ounces of water when you wake up. I usually drink this while I’m getting ready for work. It’s a good way to start off the day on a positive note. Regarding nutrition, I try to make sure that I get in a good amount of veggies and fruits. Smoothies are a great way to incorporate both of these things. I also don’t totally eliminate junk food or alcohol – if I do have either, it’s normally one day during the weekend.
Since you are training for weeks, you’re bound to have a few bad runs or workouts, and that’s OK! Instead of beating yourself up when that happens, celebrate all that you have accomplished during training. Also know that for every bad workout, a great workout is waiting just around the corner. I know that when I have a horrible, no-good run, my next long run always goes so well! Of course there’s no exact science for this, I can only speak from my personal experience 🙂
What are your tips for a strong training cycle?
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In the past, I was never good about rest days, but as I’ve gotten older, my body just won’t do its thing without rest. I’m learning to listen to what my body tells me. I think as runners, we are so used to pushing ourselves and ignoring signals. Good luck with your marathon training!
Exactly! I think sometimes as runners we think more is better but really, rest days are the only way to get through training!
Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy says
Right on the money Kim.
I think the only thing I’d add is try to squeeze in cross training & strength training. Of course it’s hard, especially with the longer distances — but in the end it’ll help (and I know you know that!).
Definitely! I always make it a priority to get in at least 2 days of cross/strength training.
Zenaida Arroyo says
Great tips as always! I love my rest days and am happy when I have one. For me the most difficult one is staying positive. It is hard but that is how I will be able to get through the training.
Yes! I totally embrace my rest days and look forward to them every week.
perfect post since I just started marathon training.
The most important is to stay positive even when it seems like things are not going as planned.
Yes, totally agree. I think people underestimate the value of a positive attitude.
Kimberly Hatting says
I’d echo everything you said, Kim…especially on the positive attitude 😉 I’m glad I had a lot of half marathons under my belt before I took on a full. By then, I had learned that a training plan is meant to have some flexibility in it, and I also had my fair share of bad training runs to know a great run would be in the forecast soon there after.
Me too! I think running a lot of half marathons before tackling a marathon was a benefit.
Great tips! I definitely agree with the first one about the importance of a plan, but being flexible when needed 🙂 Life happens and we have to adjust accordingly.
Definitely! During training for my first marathon I was SO rigid about doing everything on the plan. By the time I trained for my 3rd marathon I was more realistic about my training.
You nailed it! The only thing I’d add is to remember you’re training your mental game as well. It’s never too early to visualize a positive outcome and run toward it!
Yup! That’s so important too. Mental strength is more than half the battle.
This is super helpful for all the reasons. I drank a water bottle on my way to an appointment yesterday and then filled it there. I was so well hydrated I needed a potty break in Central Park and that opened the flood gates. It felt good though
I love that quote about a goal without a plan – so true,
Thanks Cari! Sounds like you’re doing a great job staying hydrated, but you’re right, the downside is having to pee more often lol.
Black Knight says
Interesting post with good tips. I think that the most important thing is “to be flexible”.
This is the lesson that I found difficult to learn.
Now it’s hot and humid, my only program is “keep on running” with moderation to be ready when the weather will be better.
It’s definitely a hard lesson to learn, it took me a while!
Liz Dexter says
All of these! None of my training cycles have really gone to plan but I’ve completed 80-90% of the long runs and that’s what’s most important for endurance training.
I’d only add this one: train for the worst conditions, not the best. If you “know” it won’t be hot, still do some hot training if you can. Find out the hills and train on more hills. That’s what I learned between marathon one and two and I knocked 9 minutes off my time between those!
That’s a really good tip! I tend to chicken out when the weather is too hot or too cold.
Deborah @ Confessions of mother runner says
It is definitely important to be flexible especially with the summer heat. Sometimes you just cannot possibly get all the miles in and learning that it is ok is tough. This is one of the reasons that I don’t do big fall races it’s just too hard for me in the summer time to do long runs. I have also learned how important rest and recovery are to success
Totally agree! I think that we tend to think of cutting a run short as a failure when actually it’s the smart thong to do.
Colleen @ RunningInEcoMode says
Yes yes yes to being flexible! When you have two young kids and a husband that works in retail management, you have to be willing to move your workouts around and not let it get to you. I’m not always so good at the “not let it get to you” part, but I try! Lol! Great article!
It seems like you know all about being flexible!
Great tips. I think that rest is probably the most important and least followed tip. You’re so right, not taking the time to rest and recover definitely leads to injury (and probably poor performance too).
Thanks Debbie! I’ve learned to really embrace my rest days because I know that rest and recovery is part of the program.
Marc Pelerin says
Good stuff. I agree with all that you wrote about. I think rest, even active rest, is really important and so is being flexible with a schedule.
Yes, I have learned to love my rest days!
Debbie @ Deb Runs says
Great list and being flexible with your plan is so important and it’s one of the things I try to emphasize with my clients. It’s so easy for them to give up when something happens that temporarily interferes with their training.
Totally! It’s really easy to get wrapped up in the training program because we think we’re supposed to do everything. In a perfect world that would work but having some flexibility is key!
Angie @ Two For the Road says
Rest– that is my downfall especially when i get into the zone and I am feeling great for days without any issues so I tend to push it. Why I’ve gotten injured a few times.
Yes I had to really learn to embrace rest days!
Flexibility is absolutely critical! It’s hard for me to go easy on myself for those kinds of things, but life happens all the time, right?
these are great tips. The positive outlook is definitely necessary.
Exactly! And I feel like especially in the summer, things are bound to pop up, so it’s just best to be flexible.
Great tips, Kim! While I do tend to follow a training plan (that holds me accountable), being flexible is so, so important (or I won’t get anything done!).
I also embrace my rest days. I don’t feel guilty not doing anything at all, because I know it’ll help me be stronger on my workout days!
I think once i learned to embrace rest days, the training process became much easier for me!