By no means am I a marathon expert! I like running marathons because they are still a challenge for me. Every time I train I run into different problems and during every race I have to make decisions that I hope are the best one! Once I complete a race and go back to normal life for a bit, I quickly enough lose that ability to run over 20 miles and it’s something I will have to train for again when it comes around.
I do want to share the parts that I do use and feel have helped me train for and run my marathons.
This may seem too easy, but it works for me and so I’ll share with you! When training for races, I have always trained by building up my distance mile by mile, week by week. I will have the Nike Coach app running in the background because I like referencing it to see if I’m running the same amount that it would have me do. Sometimes I am, but here is what I don’t like about that app is that it will have you running five days a week without any cross training. Rather than run shorter distances a few days, I make sure I lap swim one day a week and have another set aside for bike riding or yoga.
I especially like having a good yoga practice the day after my long run once I get up above 16 miles. It really moves and stretches your sore muscles but is more gentle on them than even swimming or a softer activity would be.
So pick a day of the week (Saturdays work best for me) and plan on that for your long run day. Tell people about it. It will make you more accountable to do it! Also, do it in the morning when you are fresh and have had less time for the day to ware you out and to consume foods that will slow you down. The next week, do that same but add a mile. If you are more active, add two miles a week until you hit your comfort level and then only add one. Adding mileage like this is much less intimidating than those training plans that have you run three miles one day, four the next, and then 16.
Take care of yourself during your long runs! Stretch out really well the night before, and obviously before you run. Eat a safe breakfast. Until I find something I like better, mine will forever be two scrambled eggs and a whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter and honey.
Recently I have been drinking a little bit of tart cherry juice before I head out. I saw on another blog that it could potentially save your muscles from soreness because of the anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherries. It could all be in my head, but since starting this, I’ve been moving a little smoother at the end of my long runs and I definitely don’t wake up as sore I used to the morning after.