I learned some more invaluable lessons from running my second marathon. Unfortunately, some are points that I have struggled with in the past that are just a challenge for me as an average runner.
Training plans: I used the same training plan (Doug Kurtis, 18 week training plan from Runner’s World magazine, July 2014 issue) for both marathons. It offers 6 days per week of running, speed work/pace work alternate weeks, and double run/long run alternate weeks, with a peak of 48 miles.
I enjoyed this plan, but I think for Boston, I will try another, or at least try and vary this one. I felt that the taper was too extreme, and that I might want longer/more intensive speed work. I quickly looked at a plan from Runner’s World under the title, “Intermediate Marathon: Break 3:30”. I might splurge and pay the $10 for this plan (ha!) knowing that my goal would be to make 3:30. That is if I decide to run Boston for time vs. for the experience. I have received a lot of advice from runners who say I should just run Boston for the experience. If you have an opinion, do tell! Here it is, a whopping 3 days post Indy (where I swore off ever running again at mile 22) and I am already considering racing Boston for time.
Regardless, I think I will vary the plan a bit; variety is the spice of life!
Nutrition: Always a weak link for me. I think I did a terrible job fueling. I had
spilled down the front of me Gatorade at 2 stops, and had 2 mouthfuls of Boost gu at 2 others. I think I could have started the race better fueled and hydrated too. I had an egg on a dry, mini bagel for breakfast and a 1/2 cup of coffee. I know, I know…I need to do better! This goes for nutrition during general training as well.
Hydration during the race: Perhaps if I hydrated better beforehand I wouldn’t have to stop at every water stop. Or at least if I stopped at every other stop and actually swallowed a decent amount of water (versus getting it down my shirt and up my nose) I wouldn’t waste as much energy at water stations.
Core/Upper body strengthening: I ditched the effort maybe half way into the training plan. In other words, I did my usual, “when the training got tough, I ditched everything but the run”. (Not completely true, I still stretched diligently). However, I really noticed towards the end of the race that I didn’t have as much “scrappy strength” that I usually can rely on. I blame it on age, oh, and ditching said core work!
Having friends family toe the line with you: This was priceless! It did help calm my nerves and get myself out of my own head to have my brother on the line with me. I don’t think I have ever had so much fun on the starting line before. He distracted me enough that I only used the Port-0-Potty ONCE before the race. A new record!
Cross training, or lack thereof: I need to figure this out. I have to find some xc activity that I will consistently do.
I think the biggest thing I learned is that one can never have the “perfect” marathon; training or otherwise. Mastering it will always be allusive; I will always be a scholar of the race. I think the best thing one could try to accomplish is that of mind over matter.
Any recommendations for Boston? I am going to give myself a couple of weeks to decide about running for a time or experience. I am a bit nervous about jumping back into marathon training in a few weeks. However, after Boston, I will be taking a break from 26.2 for at least a year.
How long do you take off after a marathon? I said 2 weeks, before the marathon. Today I told myself 1 week. We will see. It is hard to be smart about these things! I just read about giving yourself a week off, then doing a “reverse taper” for 2 weeks. That sounds reasonable.