This week was a mix of hard and easy training. There are days you have a great run and then there are days you ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?"
My body was tired, my mind was tired, and I just didn't feel like getting out there on Tuesday to get my intervals done. I knew I needed those intervals to get faster, to work on my running form and mental focus. So I kept with my plan and hit the road. I began my first interval, and I was a little slower than my scheduled pace, but that was OK. I always tell myself, just do your best. I knew I could have pushed myself a little harder, but then I would have been at total depletion, and I still had more intervals to do. As I began my recovery interval, I told myself to stay strong ,and every interval makes me that much closer to my goal finish time. By the end of my intervals I felt great! I managed to stay within a reasonable pace to still reap the rewards.
Thursday was my tempo run at race pace, and I was looking forward a tempo run that didn't totally kill my endurance. It felt great! I was able to run a little faster than scheduled, and was even able to keep on pace on the hills even with a little wind resistance. It was a beautiful morning, and I enjoyed taking in the beauty of the green hills and spring flowers here in Southern California.
My scheduled long run was another 20 miles on Sunday, the same day as the LA Marathon, and it was in 90° temps, so I had to start early. I was up at 5:30 a.m. and ate my pre-race breakfast: sprouted grain bread, peanut butter, banana, CogniTea, and water. Then my husband dropped me off so I could begin my run with four miles downhill. The sun came up just as I was beginning to get onto my first trail, and it was glorious! I began thanking God for my strong body, for my many blessings, and for strength and endurance. I prayed over all the runners at the LA Marathon, knowing several were first-time marathon runners. Thankfully I was able to finish before it was too hot, and I enjoyed the cool breezes without wind resistance. I ended my 20-mile run at a local Ruby's Diner, so I had my kids come and meet me there for breakfast, that way I could also get a ride home! Knowing I was meeting them kept me going those last few miles...my kids and FOOD!!
I was thrilled my long run went so well. I was able to run a little faster than scheduled pace, and I felt great! Of course, it started out a little hard, but that is what those first miles are for, warm up right?! Once I settled into my pace, my body took over, and I stayed on pace no matter what hill or obstacle was thrown my way. Now if only I can run Boston feeling that great!
Tips before you run your first race:
Practice during your long rung; simulate the race as much as possible.
Wear the outfit you plan on racing in so you can see if it causes chafing. Don't wear the race shirt you get at the expo unless you know the fit and know it won't bother you.
Try out your new shoes and socks, believe it or not, socks can make a HUGE difference! I prefer to use FEETURES!running socks because they hug your feet and help to prevent blisters.
As for a hat, scarf, or visor, give them a try! You need to know if it fits too loose or tight. Don't buy anything new at the Expo and expect it perform the way you want it to.
How about a fuel belt or hydration pack? Better use it on your long run to make sure you like it. The marathon is not a place to try out a new one, especially a fuel belt! It could rub and cause chafing or worse, blisters on your back!
If running a marathon or anything longer than an hour, YOU MUST FUEL every 45 minutes. I prefer Huma Chia Energy Gels. You need to know which ones work for you and which ones cause tummy trouble. Don't forget to practice running and eating since you will not want to stop during your race! Chase your gels with water too!
Don't forget your keys! If you have to drive yourself to the race, are you going to run with your keys? Better practice running with them if you are!
Sunscreen, chapstick, etc. Try out new products before the race to make sure you aren't sensitive to them. I always carry chapstick with me to reapply during my long runs and to help if I begin chafing. Just rub it on the area that is chafing.
Make sure your GPS device is charged the night before a race!
Fuel with extra carbs 48 hours before the race. It isn't necessary to carb-load the night before. In fact you don't want to run a race with a belly full of pasta from the night before. Practice eating different meals before your long run and see which ones sit right with you. Don't go out for a special dinner and try something new!
Hydrate well the entire week before the race, but especially the 24 hours before. Make sure you get all your electrolyte water in! I drop a NUUN tab into my water bottle and drink it before, during and post race. Nuun gives you the electrolytes without the sugar, so make sure you still fuel. A little tip, make sure you are drinking at every mile marker. I carry my water bottle with me, so I never have to stop at water stations, only to refill every hour or so.
Get at least 8 hours sleep every night during the week before the marathon. You want to make sure you are giving your body time to rest and recover from your hard training. Plus your immune system is low due to all the endurance training, so sleep helps you fight off those pending colds too! Don't worry about the night before the race, you will be lucky to get any sleep at all due to excitement!
Remember take time to enjoy the race. Believe it or not, it will be over before you know it and nothing but a memory. Let the experience really sink in and realize what you are accomplishing. Smile and wave at the camera. Give the thumps up to those cheering you on. High-five fellow runners doing great and encourage each other.
Pack your favorite post-race meal, and eat it as soon as you can. It is so important to get some carbs and protein in your body within one hour of completing your race. You need to replace the carbs you just depleted and the protein will help heal those overused muscles. Fuel and you will recover faster! I like to drink NUUN to help recover faster its high in potassium and has electrolytes. Also cherry juice it great to aide in recovery.
Congratulations on finishing your race and accomplishing your goal! Finish lines are goals with a deadline!
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