Yes, it’s true. I am officially running The Kauai Marathon the day after I turn 50. This will be my first marathon and the training is quite different than training for a half marathon. Not that you didn’t know this already, 26.2 miles is a long way!
If you are an avid runner and are training for a half or full marathon, or perhaps you are training for a 5k or 10k, these tips may come in handy:
1. As my friend, Fit Chef Katy, pointed out. Running a marathon, or any long distance, is 50% body conditioning and 50% mental. Mental attitude is half the battle. Make a determination NOW, in your training, to set goals, stick to them, and surround yourself with supportive people. Joining a running group is a great idea!
2. If you are new to running, definitely hook up with a running group and an experienced trainer knowledgeable about long distance runs. Nutrition and training are KEY and if you aren’t paying close attention to those, you can really injure yourself.
My marathon training is based on personal experience, listening to my body, and consulting with experienced marathoners like Fit Chef Katy. Here’s my plan:
Sundays: Do my favorite Barre Fusion workout and take the day off from running
*The Barre Fusion workout works my muscles in a different way. It tones and strengthens the muscles while at the same time relaxing my mind, strengthens my core and stamina, improves my balance and it makes me happy.
Mondays: 6.5 to 7 mile run followed by my favorite one-hour Aqua workout
*The Aqua workout is essential to relaxing the tight muscles while working them at the same time. Water workouts create a different type of endurance and I like the resistance the water creates. I’m working my muscles in a different way than either running or the Barre Fusion workout which I feel makes me stronger for long runs and my muscles less likely to fatigue.
Tuesdays: 7 mile run at a reasonable pace. I run for distance, not for speed. Yet, I do try to maintain that speed or quicker the entire run.
Wednesdays: My long run day. I will run anywhere from 13 to 21 miles on long run days.
*Key tip here: Long run days are just like running an actual “race” in the sense that your body is going to need hydration and fuel. Plan to carry quick, energizing snacks and lots of water and sports drinks for these long runs. My go to snacks: Larabars, orange slices, and gel snacks. Water and Gatorade.
Thursdays: A balance between a high-intensity and low intensity workout at the gym. One-hour class that does not involve running but stretches my muscles while still strengthening and toning.
Fridays: 6.5 to 7 mile run at a reasonable pace.
Saturdays: 6.5 to 7 mile run at a reasonable pace.
3. Experiment with different clothing for the long run
*I don’t like to get too much sun. So, in training, I am testing out different long sleeve “breathable” tops, baseball caps, shorts, workout pants, socks, running bras… anything that I am going to have to run in for hours will need to be comfortable. Test it out NOW and not the day before race day.
4. Try different foods for pre, during, and post runs
*This is especially important for long run days. I’ll write more about nutrition in my next Marathon Tips post, but for now, on the short list of foods for fuel: fruits like pears, apples, plums for energy. Complex carbs like sprouted bread, my favorite “Skinny Pasta”, yams, a few potatoes, a few beans (not too many for me or they make me feel bloated which interferes with my running ability), and energizing iron rich carbs like beets. I love my beet smoothies. Before a shorter run, like 6 or 7 miles, I like to eat a Larabar such as Cashew Cookie or my Protein Power Balls, recipe posting soon. I am also testing out sprouted bread with almond butter. For muscle repair: grilled salmon, eggs, lean chicken, filet mignon, and on a rare occasion, pork chops.
5. Hydrate, always
*I keep Cucumber Mint water in the fridge at all times in a large pitcher. I drink it all day. After a long run, I chug it down like a kid would milk.
6. Sleep, plenty of it
*At least 8 hours of rest per night. I quit drinking wine 3 weeks ago, so alcohol isn’t a problem for me. If you enjoy alcohol, try to skip it during marathon training. Alcohol is dehydrating and the point is to hydrate. Also, alcohol disrupts sleep patterns and can help you fall asleep but commonly, you will find yourself awake at various times during the night. Also, avoid caffeine if possible, for the same reasons.
Join me for The Kauai Marathon on Sunday, September 6! There’s still time and it’s going to be fabulous fun… you’ll find details and registration here: The Kauai Marathon
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Also, @kauaimarathon @thebikinichef @thesusanirby
A great resource for serious marathon training for women (although men can benefit from it, too) is Jan Dowell’s site: Everyday Sports Nutrition for Women