Training for a Marathon: What I Would do Differently

1 Sep

There is a Sex in the City episode that’s titled, “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda”.

The entire episode reflects on the characters’ decisions and they wished they had done things differently (i.e. Miranda getting preggers).

First of all: that episode was filmed in 2001.

Second of all: that was 10 years ago. Eff, I’m old.

Now that it’s been three months since I completed the Ottawa Marathon, I’ve had a lot of time to think about the things in which I would have done differently when training for the marathon.

I don’t have too many coulda, woulda, shoulda moments, but there are many things I learned along the way.

Here’s my Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda Marathon List:

1. Get the Right Shoes. Shoes that properly fit both your feet and understanding how your foot pronates affects your entire bodily mechanics. Poorly fitting shoes leads to misaligned hips which leads to angry knees. Just ask my left knee, which still needs a brace cover. I thought my shoes fit well, but following my marathon, I met with a foot doctor who said the shape of my foot doesn’t mirror my shoe shape. I therefore crammed my foot in and it put my body off balance. It also led me to steal a pair of Garage Sale Shoes. Don’t be a Ghetto Superstar – consult someone (not a teen at a sports shop) to give you some worthwhile feedback.

2. Cross Train. Following a regimented marathon training plan is great for Type A’s (ahem), but it also turns the logical side of your brain off. I followed the Running Room’s training plan. I loved it, but there is no room for cross training. I wish I had substituted one to two of my weekly easy runs with cross training. Why? Sure, running up to 65 kilometres a week is hard on the body. But more importantly, running ignores necessary muscles that play a supporting role in your runs. I shoulda completed weight training and utilized swimming or spin classes to keep my entire body tuned up.

3. Get a Running Buddy. Running any more than 20 kilometres on your own is tough. And makes you go kinda crazy. If you can’t find someone willing to run the entire distance with you, work it out to meet them for the last portion of your run. I did that a few times with my sister, and it was so helpful for my sanity!

4. Eat Smarter, Not Harder. I learned this lesson part way through the training schedule. But understanding how food works as fuel keeps your energy levels up – and makes you less cranky, too! Just ask Jamally. Also, I was dropping weight fast in the first few weeks of training. I kept hammering through carbs and cheese. Then I spoke with Conor Collins, who helped me figure out what nutrients I needed to keep my energy and weight levels up. Read up on what foods to mix in your diet to keep you going through training.

5. STRETCH! I did not stretch enough, which also led to injury. I shoulda enrolled in a yoga class, but that would have added to my marathon bill. It coulda, however, lowered my chiropractor bills!

I’ve been asked many times over these past few months whether I’d do a marathon again. Right now? Not a chance. Ever again? Probably. And I would do these things to help get me to the starting line, and not keeping me out of my running shoes seven weeks following race day.

Today’s Question: What is something you’ve learned after training hard for a race?


4 Responses to “Training for a Marathon: What I Would do Differently”

  1. Dana September 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Sounds like you learned some valuable lessons from your experience. Also, I’m a huge fan of SATC and I’ve always been annoyed that they never wrapped up Miranda’s marathon training arc. Did she run or not?!

    • Cat's Cove Writing Services September 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

      I never realized they didn’t ever touch on MIranda’s marathon outcome! Maybe they’re saving it for the movie, SATC: 14

  2. Stephanie Gray September 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Did someone say “pronate”? I wonder if I will ever run again….

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