I thought that since I was following a training program for my first marathon, that I was somehow indestructible... Yeah, so NOT the case! As I have said before, my first marathon did not go as planned, but really when does life ever go as planned? I think I'd get worried if things started going as I had planned, but thats another topic... Anyways, I missed so many crucial points in training that if I could do it over again, I would do it so differently! So in hopes to prevent some of you from my same mistakes I'd like to share some of them with you!
1. Not Cross Training - I never realized what the benefits of cross training really were and why I should even spend my time on cross training. While the Hal Higdon training program that I used mentioned Cross training, it was more of a suggestion than a MUST and it HAS to be a MUST! Most days I took the cross training as another day off or did something super light, nothing that really helped me to build my muscles. So what is the point of cross training? As I have said in an earlier blog post cross training is a way to strengthen all of the muscles in your body to give you so much more overall strength, to keep you healthy and injury free! Cross training can also be a great time to give your body a chance to recover from the constant pounding out of the miles. How so? One perfect example is swimming, it is a great overall body workout that strengthens everything from your upper body, core and all the way down to your legs.
2. Not switching up your workout - This one is a new realization for me. I never really thought about the fact that your body adapts to your workout schedule and knows what you are going to do on a specific day. Your body can get used to your routine in as little as 2 weeks! It is better to throw some curve balls into your workout so that your body just get into a "boring rhythmn". This will help out in the long run. Go for "muscle confusion"!
3. Working out to Eat - I think we are all guilty of this every now and then, where we tell ourself that we can eat something we shouldn't because we had a "good" workout. This is really bad to do! You will gain weight, and you aren't supplying your body with the items it truly needs to fulfill it's workout needs. As a result you will be hungrier and can gain weight. This can also lead to overtraining. If you have eaten things you shouldn't have, you are more likely to push yourself harder than you should in a workout in hopes of burning off those calories, which could result in injury or over training and becoming burnt out in your training schedule.
4. Not racing enough - We all know that I did things a little backwards and did the marathon as my first race...EVER! BAD DECISION! Don't do it! Having completely trained on my own and occasionally running with a friend or passing someone on the path is completely different than running with the 45,000 runners at the Chicago Marathon. By racing every now and then you get the feel of what its like to run with other people, the you get the adrenaline of race day and you can figure out your fueling system to make you marathon or big race the best possible race!
5. Winging it nutrionally or being too rigid with your nutrition - They say that nutrition is 50% of being able to complete a race and be healthy and injury free! 50%, that's HUGE! I never paid any attention to nutrition for my first marathon, other than being able to tell what items or drinks didn't work well for a run the next day. Your nutrition should be 55-60% carb intake, 20-30% protein and 20-30% fat, but obviously all the good fats, proteins and carbs.
6. Following Data too Closely or not close enough - Running with a heart rate monitor, timing/pacing yourself is all great right up until the point where you can't do that. For example, I didn't have a heart rate monitor when I trained for my first marathon, or for my second for that matter, so I just listened to my body and did what I could to train properly. Idid however use my ipod to pace myself, it worked really well all through training, then I got to the marathon and tragedy struck! I couldn't run with my ipod! They highly discouraged it and in fact I saw a race official writing down people's bid numbers who had ipods to disqualify them! So no way was I going to make it that far and then get disqualified. But I noticed I was so off balance because I didn't have my ipod to pace me! So it is important to use the equipment, especially if you are a new runner but don't get all caught up in the data that is presenting itself to you. Some days will be good and some days will be bad, its just how it goes!
Lesson: It's OK to make mistakes, its all part of the process! What are some mistakes you have made in training?
Rocking out to: Some Girls by DOT DOT DOT