Lessons Learned from Marathon Training

The next few posts are going to be dedicated to the marathon.  I could possibly spend 2 weeks talking about various aspects of my training but I don’t want to bore you too much.  I won’t be doing “an expo recap”, a “race recap parts 1-26.35 (because Garmins are more accurate then the NYC course itself) or traveling” ect. Type of posts.  I trained for this race for close to half a year so I do have a lot to say.

Here are just some of the posts I’m working on but feel free to let me know if you have any other questions or posts you are interested in  (or any you don’t want to hear about).

The full marathon recap (2000 words but there are photos!)
Training lessons (below)
Physical marathon lesson thoughts
Taper Review
The Carbohydrate depletion and load review
Advice for running New York City
How I’m recovering and future marathon plans   

I learned a lot about my first marathon via training and physically running the race.  These are lessons I think I could only learn by experiencing them for myself.  I did a lot of things I don’t regret but I also made a lot of poor decisions.  I didn’t make poor decisions because I meant too, I made them because I didn’t know what the proper thing to do was or what would work for me.

First my training as a whole:

I thought I had moderately good training for the full. I got the most important thing in: the long runs.  I did 4, 20 mile runs and 1 half marathon and then added 7 more to make it 20+.  So I did 5 long runs beforehand.  I got the mileage in despite traveling and moving.

What I didn’t do were workouts that resembled the pace I wanted.  In the most critical time of my training was when I lacked the most crucial part (speed). I think my legs had forgotten what pace I wanted to hold for the marathon.  For my first marathon that was fine and a lesson learned. I wanted to use this race as a learning experience.

Here are positives I liked about my training:

  1. I ran averaged about 70 miles weekly with a rest day.  It gave me confidence and also gave my body a day to recover.  I truly think resting and having easier mileage is what has kept me injury free.
  2. My only speed workouts were races and it made running by myself or with others enjoyable.
  3. I was never stressed about marathon training.  Yes, I wanted to a 3:10 but at the same time I wanted to enjoy the process of training for my first marathon and enjoy myself.  I had an umbrella goal because I was going in and not knowing what to except.

Here are things I think that hindered my training and that I will change for my next marathon (which won’t be Boston but I do plan to run many more):

  1. First I won’t be moving or traveling.  I can honestly say after I moved, the last 2 months my training were not exactly what I wanted.  I enjoy living outside of running and training though so I don’t regret anything.
  2. I didn’t do speed workouts that resembled my marathon pace.  Looking back I wish I had done more speed workouts or races leading up to the marathon.  I would have liked to do a couple more half marathons, 10ks, 5ks or anything really.  The half marathon I had my eyes on in Texas happened to be the week my knee was feeling off so I didn’t do it.  Multiple race options didn’t exist in Del Rio (unless I wanted to drive 3+ hours every weekend) but I have those options in New Jersey.
  3. I gained weight.  I gained about 5 extra pounds in the last month which I don’t really relate to marathon training but moving in with a significant other, enjoying life…ect.  I’m not worried about it but it was just a note of interest.  I’m not saying I have an interest in losing that weight but when you are used to running at a certain weight and all of a sudden you gain 5 pounds it’s a point of interest.
  4. I didn’t do core work or weight training like I wanted.  When life fell by the wayside, I don’t regret it but I know I should have done more of that.

The thing about training is that you also must exist outside of working out.  Something I often discuss outside of blogging is I want to be known as Hollie.  I don’t want to be known as Hollie and all she does is work out/run.  I think it’s very important to realize that even though I didn’t dedicate 100% of my focus to this training cycle, I had a very enjoyable time both with running and in the outside world.  I  am dedicated and got my miles in but there were several occasions that I skipped the gym/lifting weights or a second run in order to relax or hang out with friends.

It all worked out though and I learned a lot that I never would have learned without exper it for myself and training how I did.

Questions for you:

What have you learned from your current or last training cycle?

Tell me something that you do outside of reading blogs, working out, cooking of baking.