10 Things I Learned Running Marathons
There’s a lot to learn from and about running marathons.
1) Swallow your pride — Going out too hard in the beginning will have you hating your life at the end. Pace yourself slow at the start, aim for negative splits, and finish strong!
2) Lose some weight — If you’re trying to PR, the quickest way you can get there is cutting weight. Losing one pound is the equivalent of trimming about 50 seconds off of your marathon time according to one calculator.
3) Listen to your body during training — Some days your body will feel great, other days it will feel like crap. There’s no point in pushing your body beyond it’s comfort level during an easy training run. Bailing on a couple of miles during your training because your body says so won’t ruin your training.
4) Own your mind on race day — Your body will be yelling to your mind “I have nothing left,” however your body will try to shut itself down before it needs to be. If you’re able to own your mind on race day, you’ll be able to achieve your goals.
5) Today might not be your day — That’s the downside of marathons, you put in 4 months of busting your butt, then come race day it’s 95 and humid. There’s nothing you can do about it. Mother Nature 1, You 0.
6) Sleep! — Most of us brush aside the “8 hours per night” advice from our doctors. When training for a marathon, and especially the week leading up to it, you need to get sleep to let your body recover and be ready to go for the next session.
7) Getting out of the door is the hardest thing — It’s not just you, even the elites admit it! When you’re in the 6th week of a 10 week plan without much end in sight, it’s easy to brush off the 6 mile…ahem, easy run. Lace ‘em up and bound out the door. You’ll thank yourself on race day.
8) Time Management — Possibly the most important of all of these learnings is time management. If you can’t manage your time well, you’re going to hate your life on race day. Some days you’ll have to wake up at 4 am to get your miles in, other days you’ll need to find time to get to the gym because of the weather. If you really want to achieve your goals you’ll need to plan your life better. The great part about marathoning is that it extends far beyond the reach of just the marathon. It will improve your life every day by leaps and bounds.
9) Believe in Yourself — If you don’t believe in yourself you’re screwed. You need to instill positive talk into your mind every day of your training. When you’re slugging through a speed session, tell yourself whatever it takes to get back on track. Every day won’t be great and there will be days where you might question if your goals are too lofty, believing in yourself will help you overcome these mental barriers.
10) Be Mentally Tough — Similar to owning your mind on race day, you need to own your mind in every aspect of your life. Your mind will want you to give in to your friend who doesn’t have the same goals as you do and likely won’t understand your sacrifice, enjoy that sloppy Chinese food that you love, or skip out on a workout. You need to overtake your mind and win the moment. You’ll constantly be faced with these difficult decisions throughout the day, give into them if you want, however understand that it’s at the risk of not achieving your goals.
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