A while back, I wrote a post on The Runner in you, specifically about running a marathon. Thinking back to that piece, I was worried that perhaps I didn’t sound encouraging enough. My advice to you was to make sure a marathon was the race you truly wanted to run. Why? Well, thanks to shows like The Biggest Loser, running a marathon looks incredibly easy to do. That you don’t have to have any running experience at all, you just sign up and run. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. They show you some of the struggle, but not all of it. And I’m sure they don’t show the prep.
With that being said, do I think a marathon is out of the question? Absolutely not!! But here’s what I think you should do as you train. Prepare by signing up for smaller races; such as 10ks and 5ks. Part of running a race is getting used to running with other people. Some races are so crowded at the starting line that you don’t even run for a good 30 seconds. You just walk over the start and wait until the crowd thins out. You have to learn to navigate around others, which requires skill. You don’t want to get stuck behind a group of slow starters, nor do you want to go out to fast and then pay for it later when you can’t breathe.
While you might train with a partner or group, you may not actually run at the same pace. You need to be prepared to do much of the running solo. That means you alone with your brain. I’ve always said that running is 90% mental. I just guessed a percentage, but the mind is powerful. Just as easily as you can convince yourself to run, you can tell yourself to give up. I would suggest NOT running with music either. It’s just not safe. And if your ipod gives out, well, there’s your motivational partner.
You also want to find out what happens to your body when you run for longer distances. Do you need to run to the bathroom? Are you the type of person to develop a stomachache? Do you need to pee often? You need to plan accordingly for what could happen.
Do you get too hot, too cold? If you are over or under dressed for a marathon, you won’t appreciate the running as much. You’ll focus on the fact that you were uncomfortable and you’ll remember the experience in a negative way. Also, some runners chafe during long runs (nipples and legs). Or they lose toenails because their feet expand during the race. You can buy creams for that. With shoes, you should get a half size bigger. (That’s what I’ve always been told).
How much water do you need? Will you need to refuel? During a 10k or 5k, you’ll probably grab water at the stands along the way, but you won’t need to refuel with electrolyte gels during the race. As silly as it sounds, you need to learn how to drink while running. (Squeeze the cup into a point and drink that way while you slowly jog on the side). You need to learn how to navigate to the table without knocking over runners or getting stepped on yourself. I would suggest trying gels out pre-race because it’s like eating cake frosting as you run. During a half or full marathon, it’s a must. (I use about 3 for a half- one at 5/6, one at 10, and then one at 12 to finish strong.) For a marathon, you might even carry your own. It seems like a lot, but it isn’t.
Remember, running is freeing and powerful…but it’s also painful. If you aren’t prepared ahead of time your mind can very quickly talk you out of completing your goal. So prepare yourself and you’ll have no excuses! Good luck!!! You can do it!
Classes with Audra for Zumba are scheduled: 6:35 Wednesday night and 8:00 Saturday morning at Squared Circle Studio. Squared Circle Studio is located in Deep River 860.526.8763 to call for classes. http://www.squaredcirclect.com Home Page.
image 1 via blogs.wyomingnews.com image 2 via Google Image Result for http://randallsisland.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/new-york-city-marathon-2010.jpg. image 3 via toughrun.tumblr.com image 4 via healthyfitandtoned.tumblr.com image 5 via 25.media.tumblr.com