When I started Marathon training in late April, I took the necessary steps to figure out just where I wanted to take this new year’s road to the Chicago Marathon. I sat down and took the time to make a list of goals for the upcoming month of May. Those goals contained 4 things –
- Complete ALL Scheduled Training runs for the month. When I checked in on May 31st, I completed all but one of my scheduled training runs and finished the month out with 71.9 miles under my belt. Most of all, all the runs were paced and I kept the average pace all month to stay on track!
- Decrease “Adult Beverage” intake to just the weekends. Struggling with things often induces indulgences to compensate and, let’s face it, Summer is here and more opportunities to get outside and join friends for a beautiful happy hour or two. This month I chose to cut those adult beverage indulgences to just the weekends. I was really happy with my ability to keep this on track and only once did I divert from my plan for a special dinner party.
- Cut back on sugar. This is a biggie for me. I have a HORRIFIC sweet tooth that I really have to work at keeping in check. The beginning of the month brought a special Baby Shower celebration for my bestie at my home and one of the yummy options was a Candy Buffet. Yeah, that I fell off that wagon and it backed up about 100 times (it seemed like) and drove over me again! Finally around week 3 I got that under better control.
- Lose 8-10 lbs over the course of the month. I’m just going to weigh in on that item as, it’s off the list until after Marathon training is complete. Strong, healthy and fully fueled runs are my priority. Clothes fit differently now and I’ll take that over the number on a scale any day.
So I’m going to take a little more time and elaborate on some important things that got me through attaining at least 90% of my goals for May.
Stick to your plan – My training plan is plotted out for me for the next few months all the way up to 2 weeks post-marathon. I chose to run 4 days a week instead of my previous marathon attempt that consisted of 3 days. For me, the 4 day option keeps running on my mind and leaves little time for “slacking” and losing the endurance I gained from a previous run. Though this month my mileage should have been closer to 80 miles, I’m really happy with the quality of my runs that totaled 71.9.
Shoe Rotation is crucial – FINALLY I have found a shoe that leaves me with absolutely NO foot issues during and post runs. Even on distance days, I no longer find myself thinking about how much longer I have to be on the pavement because my feet hurt so bad. This made me think, wow, I have more than 500 miles to cover before my Marathon and these shoes are certainly the pair that I want to be running in on Marathon day, so I searched online for a 2nd pair at an affordable price and now await them to come in to add to the rotation. Another big factor is tracking the mileage of those shoes. I really love my Nike+ App for my iPhone that allows me to assign what shoe I wore for each specific run and tracking that mileage for that specific pair. I did get one extra pair of another brand of shoe for shorter run days and I plan to test those out this month. (Stay tuned for that review)
Find a team of Accountability Rock Stars – I used to label myself as a lone runner. I often found myself not doing group runs because it was too much work to try and run and hold a conversation. Now, I admittedly am a little apprehensive about running my marathon without my amazing training crew of Girl Power Sole Sisters! They’ve been there for 4:30am “Crack of Dawn” runs and filled in for each other when needed. We also keep each other accountable with our monthly fitness goals while encouraging and supporting each other with an outlet for venting and bragging. It’s truly been an amazing 31 days with my Crew! Bonus to me has been watching them grow their running abilities and for some, nailing the longer runs which they found themselves being apprehensive about in the beginning. “You never know what you can accomplish until you make a single step forward to try”
Hydration is IMPERATIVE! – I truly struggled the last few months with hydration and kicking up my mileage with Marathon training made the hydration situation soooo much harder. Nausea and headaches plagued me for most of April and several weeks into May. I finally reached out to my running peeps and my hardcore Tri-athlete and Runner inspiration and friend, Robin answered my call! She provided me with a couple of samples of a brand that worked for her last year and it is specially formulated for women and our hormones. Osmo Nutrition pre-hydrate and hydrate have been a Hydration SAVOR for me and so affordable and worth it! I drink the pre-load hydrate the night before my runs, since it is incredibly humid even at 5:30 am and this gives the product time to soak into my tissue and my body is ready to perform as soon as I hit the road. I usually drink about 4-6 oz of water right when I get up and then load one of my hydration bottles with the Hydrate to consume while I’m out on my run. No headaches and even more exciting, NO MORE NAUSEA! So thankful for this recommendation from her and I can get it locally so no having to wait for an order to come in through the mail.
Find what nutrition works for you – I never seem to be a “go with the crowd” foodie and it is really important to make sure you are doing what works best for your body and fitness activity level. To stay fueled up YOU’VE GOTTA EAT FOOD!!! My nutrition plan is simple, eat and eat often! When I get up, even on cross-training (days that I teach at the Studio) I grab a pouch of Peter Rabbit Applesauce and either cashew butter and local honey rolled into a tortilla or a new find from my friends at GoMacro (Review coming later this week) the GoMacro Mini bar. I can also place these little goodies in my hydration belt for fueling options on my runs. The Cashew Butter is, by far, my favorite of the varieties they offer! I also have a hard time finding TIME to make meals, especially in the mornings when I have to run or coach early before my day job. I often find myself resorting to a yummy new protein drink from my local Complete Nutrition store that is egg white based called Muscle Egg. My favorite flavor is the Mint Chocolate Brownie and in the store, it’s super affordable! This yummy goodness is Gluten-Free, Soy-Free and Lactose Free. Other meals throughout the day consist of a lot of healthy snacking and protein packed options to keep my body fueled to go.
Cross-Train for full-body strength – Thankfully the cross-training comes naturally on my schedule. I coach a 45-Minute Schwinn Cycle Class on Monday mornings at 6am, I also coach a 45-Minute BOSU Complete Circuit based class on Thursday mornings at 5:30am and a 30-Minute Muscle & Hustle, a dumbbell based class, on Friday mornings at 5:15am. For my schedule right now with all the running, this is has been the best cross-training plan to keep me working on my strength and core. Power from my legs and a strong upper body to have the proper posture for my runs, I’ve really felt the effects of my Studio work days. My core is a work-in-progress, but I am determined to get it where I need it to be to endure the long-run.
Give it a REST (day) – With such an active schedule, Saturday’s are my scheduled “Rest Day” from everything. My opportunity to sleep in past the normal 4:10am alarm and take the day to just be lazy and allow my body to recover. Still keeping my nutrition in check but also allowing myself to indulge a little to reap the rewards of my 6 days of work each week. Recharge those batteries, your training plan and workout will thank you for it! For me, it was hard last month to say no to Saturday activities which involved extra workouts, but sitting those sessions out, my body rewarded me for the rest.
Keep your Eyes on the Prize! – Checking in with myself each week in looking at my numbers from runs and assessing how I feel after workouts has really kept me in check with pushing harder each workout to attain my goal(s). With sticking to my plan, I don’t find myself struggling as I previously did because I am mentally prepared for what’s coming. It’s just another form of accountability. When you’re struggling just quietly ask yourself how bad you want it and pick back up and truck on forward.
Bedtime and Naps – I have a strict bedtime schedule. Usually I am in bed between 8:30-9pm on weeknights and Saturday night, before the long-run, I try to get in bed no later than 10pm. When I can fit them in, afternoon naps are certainly on the plan and I take them as often as I can. 30-60 minute naps keep my body recovering and ready to go. I think the worst thing about being adults, they took away nap time!!! Whaaaa Whaaaa Whaa!
Don’t over think it and Stay off the SCALE! – So when I look back at the month, I really think that sitting down on the front end, much like people do for weekly meal prep, and making a plan are key. But don’t over think it too much. I found that I beat myself up over missing a run instead of realizing that I obviously needed rest when I slept through the alarm that morning. I also found that pound loss during Marathon training is unrealistic to be put on your list when you have so much other stuff that you need to focus that energy on. I opted to stay off the scale except for the beginning and last day of the month. My clothes fit differently and I feel stronger and THAT is what really should matter.
So there you have it, my first month of Marathon training in the books and all the little things that I picked up along the way. I’m excited for picking up mileage in June, but not so excited about the added heat and humidity headed my way. I’ll just do my best and keep on pushing . . . one foot in front of the other