So, this last week was a bit weird and I really couldn't document my training and force a blog without much to say in regards to training. I think I am hitting that mid-training wall which just messes with emotions. I did finally get into my double digit long runs and ran pain free past my 49 mile mark, which in the last 2 years, is where my injuries started. So, I'm ecstatic about that at the moment!
Since we are under 2 months out and most of us are starting to get into our longer mileage, I wanted to share my thoughts on marathon training, or really any race training. These don't necessarily apply to fitness as whole, mainly because the nutrition would definitely be different than race training.
Have a great week and I will see you guys next week!
GIZMO'S TOP 5 S’s of MARATHON TRAINING
STRENGTH - A stronger body makes for a stronger runner, it’s as simple as that. Building a strong core and upper body is just as important as building the muscle endurance in your legs. Having a great running posture takes the pressure off your legs, which when you get to the last leg of a race, you start to feel the fatigue in your legs and will automatically shift your gait, position or posture.
Having a strong core allows you to rely on your whole body as a runner, not just your legs and your feet. Now, after long run days, the last thing you want to do is use your feet…I get it. I’d suggest low-impact activities such as: swimming, biking and good old-fashioned weight lifting to build muscle strength, endurance and recovery.
STRETCH - Stretch, soak and roll! This is my 3-part mantra to survive race training before and after each and every run and 2 times in between! Stretching your muscles speeds up recovery, breaks up knots and fascia to allow for more oxygen flow to rid yourself of toxins that may cause cramping.
Soaking your body in Epsom salt bath, ice bath, hot tub…bath bomb…I don’t care…JUST DO IT! As therapeutic as this is on a physiological level, I like to use it as a timeout from dealing with the race, even though it’s the sole reason you may be in an ice bath 😉 Just detach and let your muscles relax.
Rolling…aka, foam rolling or self-myofascial release (SMR)…it’s like a Sour Patch Kid…painfully awful at first, but then this sweet, beautiful relief later….! It’s worth the pain, trust me. Please reach out to me if you want more information on SMR! This post isn’t enough space for this!
SUPPLEMENT – Make sure you feed your body what fuel it needs. Learn to recognize when and how you should carb load before long runs, when and what to eat after a run and how to balance protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals. A few rules I follow: 1. Don’t carb load the night before your run, start 48-36 hours out and eat something more balanced in protein and carbs 8-12 hours out. Your body will not process those carbs in time for you morning run, and there’s nothing worse that having that sludge in your stomach while you are trying to pump out 14 miles. 2. Eat a good balance of carbs and protein WITHIN 2 hours of finishing your run, you need to replenish your glycogen storage with carbs and repair your muscles that you just broke down with the amino acids in protein.
Hydration during runs can be difficult, I don’t use a belt with those run-friendly bottles on hand, I tend to uptake my water a few days before my run and take a few sips at water fountains during my run. Over hydration is a thing and can actually harm you during a run, making you more tired than you need to be by diluting the electrolyte levels in your body, which results in cramping sooner than you expected. Also, don’t drink too much before your run or you will be making a bathroom stop really quick! After a run, I grab Smartwater and Watermelon Water as the perfect electrolyte replenishment. I stay away from Gatorade and Powerade just my preference, I don’t like the weird taste, but remember to load up on WATER & ELECTROLYTES before and after your run!
SALT – Speaking of electrolytes, SALT/SODIUM…whatever you call it…stockpile it! Cramping sucks when you are running, and the number one cause is the lack of electrolytes. I start increasing the sodium levels in my diet a few days out by either adding more natural sodium sources to my food (parmesan cheese, olives, pickles, cheese..etc).
DO NOT just add additional table salt to your food, that’s just disgusting. I take a shot of pickle juice before and after every run. Admittedly so, I also favor a nice salty, sour Bloody Mary after a run to help replenish the electrolyte depletion…hey, I earned it 😊
SUPPORT – This goes from anything dealing with your shoes/running gear to the friends that are waiting at the finish line for you to take you out for fries and a beer…well, that’s my post-race meal 😊 Having the right support is the ultimate for me…physically, having a great neutral shoe with some arch support that helps me improve my stride and gait is where I start training season. Getting new shorts, sports bras and socks comes next…I’m nothing without those things. However, the most important support I can have is my inner circle. My friends and family that are not only there on race day but understand my rollercoaster throughout the 14 weeks prior.
Marathon training is just as hard on my mind and heart as it is on my body. It means missing a night out with friends because of a long run the next morning or hating yourself for walking the last few miles on run…both suck and sometimes we get ourselves into our own RUNCAVES. A good support group takes you out for brunch AFTER a run and a good running support group happily walks those few miles with you and says that it’s about getting the miles in, not how you got them in. Having that throughout training makes you that much stronger when you finish. A wise man once told me. “It’s not about the finish line, it’s about what got you to the starting line.”
Truth is, he’s right. I will finish that race no matter what, but what I put into getting there whether it be my shoes, pickle juice, ham sandwiches or the person that listens to your pre-run freak-out…that’s how much more successful that final 26.2 miles will be for me.
With that said, be a part of my support the next 14-weeks and follow my journey down my own road to Marathon Sunday! GIZMO GABS! Posts every Tuesday Morning and talks weekly about my training, nutrition and overall wellness as I make my way to the starting line on October 7, 2018 in Chicago! Hope to hear from you all soon!
For those of you that are new to RB FIT and my blog, I am running the Chicago Marathon 2018 for the same charity as in previous years, The Chicago Diabetes Project - Cellmates on the Run Foundation! Click on the link below for more information, race updates and donations! Every dollar counts, help us find a cure!
See you guys next week!