So I’ve Been Training for a Marathon

So I’ve been training for a marathon, but I’ve been a little quiet about it. Partially because my blog and social media is mostly about food, and also because I feel as though I’ve been holding my breath until it was time to taper down my mileage and rest, which thankfully it finally is.

*PHOTOS COURTESY OF @RUNVERMONT INSTAGRAM

I started out 2018 by setting an intention with a single word: confidence. I wanted to dive into new ventures this year with a positive, “chin up” attitude, and even if things didn’t pan out, I could look back and admire something I confidently set out to do. Running a marathon is not something that has been on my bucket list for too long, but here I am, trying my hardest to remain confident in my ability to cross the finish line at the Vermont City Marathon in just under three weeks.

When I ran my first half marathon a year ago (although it feels as if I’ve been a runner for a lifetime now) I shared tips and nutrition tidbits from my training, and so I’m giving you a peek into how training for double the distance went down. I’m writing this with 3 weeks to go in my training, but the hard work was put behind me after tackling my last long run of 20 miles this past weekend. I’ve had a lot of thoughts and emotions about this process, and appreciate my readers letting me use this post as part reflection for myself, alongside my technical advice for aspiring marathoners.

And don’t worry, a mini race recap will also be shared once I’ve recovered, but for more immediate updates be sure to follow my social media for a hopefully smiling, medal-wearing face on Marathon Monday.

Marathon Training Recap Thus Far

  • When and Where: I chose to run the Vermont City Marathon in beautiful Burlington, Vermont because it’s where I went to college and you really can’t beat running along Lake Champlain. Luckily this race is held Memorial Day weekend, meaning it shouldn’t be too hot for race day and I’ve gotten to train in cold/chilly/mild temperatures in New York throughout the months of January through May. Personally, I preferred doing shorter weekday treadmill runs when it was cold and dark after work rather than sweating my bum off in the humidity of summer and dealing with tourists in crowded Central Park.

  • How: I followed another Hal Higdon plan, just like I used for my half. I stuck to it for the most part, minus a few days of shorter miles for when we traveled to Colombia. I also played around for a few weeks with when to take my rest day after my long run. My physical therapist suggested that rather than running 3 days in a row during the week I should run after my cross train day and give myself a mid-week break instead. Honestly, I did a combination of her suggestion and Hal’s plan and it really came down to when I needed to do laundry after work…seriously.
  • Nutrition: I definitely had my game face on when it came to proper fueling this time around. As a dietitian I know how valuable proper pre, during, and post-fueling efforts can be. In general, my calorie intake significantly increased over the past few months, along with our grocery budget.
    • During the week I ate intuitively with plenty of carbs, protein, and veggies, but as my long run approached on Saturday I would find myself cooking more veggies versus raw salads, and would choose “white” carbs to help with digestive comfort.
    • I’ve never been one to workout on a full stomach, so I’ve kept pre-run eats quite light- pretty much just a half a banana and some peanut butter. I try to carb-load substantially the night before so that I avoid the eat-bathroom game before (or during) my run.
    • After my long runs I intentionally had recovery smoothie ingredients ready to go- usually a banana, protein powder, maybe some greek yogurt, and almond or soy milk for blending. Not long after I would consume a more dense meal with replenishing carbohydrates and calories. Overall, my appetite on long-run day was big, but not huge. The hunger would usually catch up with me later that week- see some pf my sample eats below.
    • While running a half marathon I could get by with zero or 1 energy bite for fuel during my run, but if I was going to double that distance I know I needed more in the tank. Many of my marathon friends recommended the energy chews over GUs, but I found both to be tolerable and convenient to slip into my run belt. I also had to get used to consuming liquids during my long runs…I’m still working on this one.
  • Injuries: I started out training with a twinge of piriformis syndrome (basically a nervey twinge pain in my glute and down my quad) on my side side,and so I took the advice of friends and established myself with a good physical therapist. I went just about every 3 weeks and definitely noticed my pain becoming less severe. As luck would have it, as I strengthen and fix one side, the other starts to hurt. Long runs started to take a toll on my tight left hip. Needless to say the next few weeks will be jam packed with strength and stability exercises!
  • Mental Toughness: This has probably been the piece I’ve had the most ups and downs with. Training for a marathon is emotionally and mentally draining. You’re out there alone (unless you enjoy training partners- I don’t really) and it’s up to you to keep yourself motivated as each mile passes. I found myself occupied and happy for about 2 podcast episodes, but as I entered the final 1-2 mile stretch of every long run I would start to go into mini-panic mode, thinking “how on EARTH am I going to finish this?”.  I plan on doing some meditation and visualization over the next few weeks to help see myself powering through the home stretch and crossing that finish line.

It’s been an exhilarting few months, and while I’m still nervous, I know I’ve prepared to the best of my ability- here goes nothing! And if you’re thinking about running a marathon or are just curious about more of what goes through a crazy runner’s head, don’t hesitate to send questions, or words of encouragement, my way.

See you on race day!

 

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HeartBeet Smoothie for America’s Heart Month

From the months of October through April, it feels like we skip from one holiday or celebration to the next- Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, St. Patty’s Day, and finally Easter. Naturally, with festivities come food, usually followed by guilt and despair. Wouldn’t it be nice to dedicate the days surrounding these holidays to health promotion, education, and changes in food and fitness lifestyle?

I certainly think so, which is why I’m happy that February is not only host to Valentine’s Day, but also proudly promotes itself as America’s Heart Month.

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Workout Wednesday: Is afterburn legit?

Welcome to the second installment of Workout Wednesday!

Last week’s query focused on calorie “budgeting” for weight loss and how that fits in with increased hunger levels post-workout. While going to the gym for a workout is a huge boost for your metabolic health, you would be mistaken in thinking that the fridge is completely free reign for the afternoon or that becoming a couch potato for the rest of the day is a valid reward for your hard work. In other words, relying on the “afterburn” effect of your hour workout to magically erase any calories over-consumed later in the day would be an ill-advised strategy.

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Welcome to Workout Wednesday

I’m in training mode again! After my half marathon this past April I knew I wanted to feel that runner’s high, push my body to the (comfortable, injury-free) limit, and get  in-tune with my running body’s nutritional needs more often, so here I go again! This September I’m running the Bronx 10 Mile and with August now in full swing I thought it was about time to hop back on the training wagon.

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Recap of the Ladies First Half Marathon and My Post-Race Eats

While I had always hoped to run long distances likes my superstar mother and inspiring friends, I was never 100% confident that I could actually do it. I struggled with side stitches, knee pain, and, to be honest a little runners boredom, and I never got over the 5 mile hump. But this year, I made a pact with myself, grew some mental toughness, didn’t let up on training, and successfully raced my first half marathon!

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Training for My First Half Marathon

Every time I stand on the sidelines and cheer friends and family on as they race towards the finish line of half or full marathons, I feel exhilarated and inspired. I think, “if they can do this, so could I!” And so, after using my internship year, nuptials, and new job as convenient scapegoats, I have finally run out of excuses, and figured it was time for me to run my first half marathon! I’ve been training for the past 5 weeks, with 7 more to go, and I’ve learned a lot about my physical capabilities, mental toughness, eating intuitively, and enjoying running! Today I’m sharing with you my biggest lessons learned so far on my road to 13.1

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