Running your first marathon is a nerve wracking experience, especially on the night before and morning of the race. To help battle as many nerves as possible, I begin to prepare for the race weeks before to help ensure that I am as prepared as possible.
My training for the Twin Cities Marathon this year was some of my best training ever. My long runs went great and I did more strength training than ever before. I also feel like I was able to balance my training with the rest of my life, and I took a lot of pressure off of myself by feeling like I had to post each and every workout on social media. I felt like I was running for me, and really enjoyed the process.
Everything was great until an easy 12 miler 2 weeks before the marathon. I felt fine when I was running, but after the fact, I started feeling pain in both of my feet on the inside of the arches as well as the inside of the knees. Whenever I experience something like this, I usually take a few days off to make sure I feel better before running again (Sorry if this offends you. If you believe in running while injured, go for it!).
After running my first full marathon last fall, and missing my goal by only 11 seconds, I knew I had to return this year for redemption. I am well into my training plan and it is going well so far. Since I know I physically CAN complete a marathon, I’m a lot less nervous than I was last year. But, I have felt a little burnt out knowing that I just have to check the long runs off the list, so I’m really trying to reset my mindset into enjoying the process.
I’ve learned a lot about running along the way, and I thought I would share some of my top advice for runners– whether you are training for a 5k, marathon, or just looking to get in better shape!
A few weeks ago, my friend asked me to join her in running a local 5k race called the Torchlight 5k. I’m actually not a huge fan of 5k races because my running goals aren’t speed, and it seems like a lot of effort to pay and then only run 20 minutes! At this point in my marathon training, racing also isn’t the best idea because putting my body under that pressure for a short distance isn’t super beneficial for my end goal. BUT, it seemed like a fun race, I wanted to join my friend, and I knew I could take it as easy as I wanted, so I signed up.
For the past few years, I have been running a half marathon on the 4th of July, called the Red White and Boom half marathon. I’m not one to get into themed races, but it usually falls in a perfect spot in my training cycle about a month after the Birdtown half marathon. It’s nice to get another month of training in after the Birdtown and see how my fitness level has improved. I ran my first sub-2 hour half marathon at the Red White and Boom a few years ago!
The race is always a hot one since it’s on the 4th of July, and this year it was supposed to be near 100 on race day. The race starts at 6:30am which is a little early for me, but its the coolest part of the day. Knowing how hot it was going to be, I came to terms that I probably wouldn’t beat my PR of 1:41 that I set at Birdtown this year during perfect weather conditions, but I was okay with that. Once you get into the mindset of training for a full marathon, you’d rather focus on that long term goal anyways!
Three years ago, I ran my first half marathon at a local race called the Birdtown half marathon. I had only ever ran a 7k race before, and I had no idea what to expect. My goal was to finish in under 2 hours and off I went. The race was a huge struggle starting at about mile 6 and I spent a ton of time walking. I remember watching the 2 hour time slip past the last mile and couldn’t even bring myself to keep running. I finished in 2:04:30, and was proud to say I had run a half marathon.
Last year, I ran the Birdtown again. Since I had run 2 more half marathons after the Birdtown, I was more prepared. That is, until race day when it was pouring rain. The rain didn’t bother me as much as I thought, and I pushed through with soaking wet shoes and an empty course. I PR’d the race at 1:48:30. I ended up running slower at my next half marathon on a much warmer and humid day, but was frustrated that I didn’t break the 1:45 time that I was hoping to achieve at either race that year.