Monday, January 13, 2014

Marathon Success: Week 30

The mind is the battlefield and I am determined to win the war for my thoughts. This week was an intense week because I got what I call "marathon nerves" and I was battling a sinus infection. For my last training update I want to tell you how I trained for my first marathon while being a wife to Zeke and a mother to three kids who are 4, 3 and 1 year-old. 
Last running group seminar: tips for marathon weekend!
Training for a marathon is not difficult. These past 30 weeks have taught me that dealing with loss and grief is difficult. Dealing with disease is difficult. Not having good health is difficult. Training for a marathon is for healthy people so I didn't find it difficult per say. Is it Challenging? Yes. Is it life changing? Sure. The following details of my journey will help you see how I did it. The first step I took was to go to my Doctor and get clearance from her. It turns out she had ran a half marathon and gave me great tips. Another important step is to believe that you can do it. Here are other steps:

Time commitment • each week I put in between 4 - 12 hours of training. This included all my training runs and cross training. I advise anyone trying to run their first marathon to get a solid training plan for beginners. A great thing to do is to join a running club (paid or free) where you have access to multiple experienced people or "running encyclopedias" as I call them. I trained for 30 weeks because I wanted to be sure my running base was in place before attempting to start training. If you don't need to build your running base you'll find much shorter training schedules. 

Marathon Fee • Marathons have different costs. This year the Houston Marathon was $125. There are cheaper and more expensive races out there. It's all up to you. If you are competing out of town you might want to include the price of transportation, food and hotel to your expenses.

Tennis Shoes • I went through 3 pairs of tennis shoes during my training. I went to a running store, got measured and tried on a couple of pairs. I believe that having the right shoes can help you have great training runs. 

Nutrition and Hydration • I wrote down most of what I ate during my training because I was managing my weight. Being lighter meant less pressure on my joints but at the same time I paid close attention to eating the best nutrition for my bites. I also made sure I drank enough water each and every day. I've been dehydrated in the past and I dislike that feeling. It wasn't challenging to stay hydrated throughout the season because I always thought about my training and how water was like putting gas in a car. My food journal really helped me make sure I was getting the right nutrition and hydration during this season. 

Training • this was the year I started to "train" instead of "exercise." There was a goal to my training: to run 26.2 miles strong and injury free. This goal drove everything I did since Week 1. I started by building my running base. Then I made sure my upper and lower body were stronger as well as my core. I ran between 3-4 days of the week and had 2 days of cross training. Some of my cross training included walking, spinning class and good ole squats, lunges, situps, pushups, etc. I mostly used my body weight for training. I read that athletes eat and train, they don't diet and exercise. There is absolutely no one paying me to compete so I'm not an athlete but I do have that mindset: eat so my training will be fueled with great nutrition. 

You can totally run a marathon my friend. It took me 4 and a half years to arrive at a place where I could do it. While I was having my kids and taking care of tiny little babies, I was training my mind and getting educated. I found Marathon Training Academy to be a great resource for all things marathon training. Once my third baby was sleeping through the night I started building my running base. I talked to my husband and we felt like the Winter of 2014 was a great time to run a marathon. 

I thank God for allowing me to run my first of many long distance races to come. I find that I'm built for long distance running. I love the challenge, the length, the training and the wonderful people I meet along the way. I love the lessons God has taught me these past 30 weeks. The top lesson? It took a village to get me here and I am thankful to God, to my husband and kids, my extended family, my running coaches, my running group, Stuart Hudson, Adaeze Onyenezi and all my encouraging friends. There's no way I could have done it without you. This marathon is 1 day out of 216 days of training. The gold is in the journey and I am thankful for all I've discovered so far. Now it's time to enjoy the last leg of the journey. 

Please keep me in your prayers and come back next week for a marathon recap. I'd love to answer any questions you may ask. Please leave me a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Remember, you too can conquer your first marathon!

Previously in this Series:
Marathon Training Basics
Weeks 1-10
Weeks 14-20
Week 21
Week 22
Week 23
Week 25
Week 26
Week 27
Week 28
Week 29
Chevron Houston Marathon Recap

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