I had always planned on running a marathon at some point in my life, but never really could commit to signing up for one in the near future. Upon moving to a new city a few months ago (now an LA resident!), I found a fitness community that has inspired me exponentially. (If you’ve never heard of November Project, I highly suggest checking us out and see if there’s a tribe in your city! We’re a grassroots, free fitness movement now in 30 cities across the world that specializes in positive vibes, high-fives, and most importantly community).
That being said, I don’t think I would have agreed to run a marathon this year if it weren’t for this amazing group of people. Knowing that I was signing up with a group of friends made the decision a lot less nerve-wrecking, but exciting! (And although I’ve always been a runner, I NEVER used to find the idea of running 26.2 miles at once exciting… goes to show you how having a community of like-minded individuals can impact us to take a step outside our comfort zones!)
I’m sure I’ll have much better advice after the marathon actually happens, but I’ll share with you some tips that I’ve found to be helpful thus far in the training process:
- Find people to train with. This is something that I feel very strongly about. I was traveling during two of my longer runs and had to do an 18 and 20 miler by myself. Although I’m very used to running alone, and often find it relaxing and therapeutic, I can honestly say that lonesome 20-miler was probably my worst run to date (in every sense of the word- my legs felt tired, I was about 2.5 mins over my goal pace per mile, and I was mentally defeated). Fast forward a couple weeks to my last long run of 21.5. I was back in LA, running with a group of friends who were also training for the marathon. It might be the ex-collegiate athlete in me, but something about training with peers just immediately boosts my moral. Needless to say, that run felt amazing and made me so pumped for the big day!
- Learn what nutrition works for you. Being someone that would go for 14 mile runs without water or nutrition on hand, this was something I had to force myself to do. I was in denial that I needed to have nutrition for long runs, because I had never needed it, nor had I ever broke past the 15-mile threshold. Let me just tell you, the first 18-miler I did with nutrition was amazing. I wasn’t expecting it to make a difference, but my fatigue faded and energy levels were up towards the end of my run. Personally, it’s hard for me to use the Clif Bloks because they are a bit too big for me to digest while running, but I’m not the biggest fan of GU. I’ve found Gatorade Energy Chews to work the best for me, because they give me the extra boost I need, but are smaller and easier for me to digest. I highly recommend researching different brands and types of nutrition and testing out what settles best for you. That way once you’re going for your longer training runs, you can train with the nutrition you’ll be using on race day.
- Stay positive and don’t take yourself too seriously. I know this sounds silly, but running is such a mental game and I strongly believe that the majority of times people miss their goals is due to over-thinking and stressing themselves out. It’s so easy to fall apart during a run if you mentally opt out. I think it’s really important to understand that you are going to hit points in your run that don’t feel so great, but that’s the beauty in a marathon. There is more than enough time to dig yourself out of a rut. I am a huge proponent of internal pep talks and strongly believe that the power of positivity can carry you to reach your goals.