Marathon Training: What I Did Wrong: 5 Lessons From My Marathon Experience
What I Did Wrong: 5 Lessons From My Marathon Experience
I think it’s important to look at an experience and figure out what could have gone better, in addition to what went right. So, in considering my first marathon experience, I wanted to expand on some of the things I did wrong with my marathon training and preparation for the race.
As I look at it, I see about 5 significant things that I could have done differently to improve my overall marathon experience.
I recently heard it said that it’s not “Experience is the best teacher,” but rather “Someone else’s experience is the best teacher.”
Obviously experience, whether your own or someone else’s, is a good teacher, but in the spirit of providing you with the best instructor (someone else’s experience) I’m going to share with you lessons from my own marathon trials and tribulations. That way, if you should decide to train for a marathon or half-marathon, these lessons that I learned could be beneficial to both of us.
After all if we’re going to spend 6 months training and preparing for an endurance race that lasts multiple hours, it would be wise for us to do more things right than wrong.
So…Away we go.
One of the first things that I know I did wrong during my marathon training program (and actually, I was aware of it when it was happening) was not doing any strength training, especially core strength exercises.
Even though it wasn’t until over a year later that I found out that my back was way out of alignment and that I was running over 13 lbs heavier on my right side than my left, by doing the core strength exercises I know I would not have had as much trouble with my right hip and foot during the 26.2 mile race.
Not to mention it would have been a quicker and easier recovery afterwards.
Another thing I should have done but chose not to (purely from an immediate gratification standpoint) was training in hot weather. Since the Missoula Marathon is in mid-July, it should have been a no brainer…but I despised running in hot weather. Big mistake on my part, as we had the hottest summer on record!
By only training during the cool morning hours, my body was not prepared for the 90 to 100 degree weather that day. I totally screwed up my water and nutritional intake. While I was racing, I was consuming way too many power gels. But I was in a panic – not knowing what else to do, trying to maintain my fuel tank and hydration levels. Granted, in temps over 95 degrees I’m not sure how anyone can stay hydrated running for more than four hours, but I clearly didn’t help the situation.
The third major mistake I made was a mental error: starting out too fast. For some unexplained reason, in my mind I thought I could run a 4:00 marathon – even though I had never run that fast in any of my training runs. In fact, I had not done any speed work at all! So that I chalk up to plain ol’ ego!
By starting out at too fast of a pace, I set myself up for right hip pain, my foot going numb, and hitting the wall at mile 20.
And the one genuinely stupid thing I did, that I actually knew better than to do was wearing a pair of socks that I had not washed yet. And believe me, I paid for it with a nasty blister on the back of my heel.
Remember that thing I said about someone else’s experience being the best teacher? Well take advantage of this last lesson, cause this one I learned the hard way – I couldn’t have known it before I did it – but you can, now that I’m going to tell you: never, never sit down right after the race! Not only will it be excruciating to try and get back up, but it’s embarrassing as you’re providing entertainment for anyone watching when you do try it. Walk around for about ten minutes or so after hitting the finish line.
I know the first instinct is to sit – for crying out loud you’ve just run 26.2 miles! But don’t do it! You’ll thank me when you don’t have to call for help to get off the toilet! Sure, it’s funny…but I’m not really kidding.
So now that you know what I did wrong, you won’t have to make the same mistakes – you can make your own. For that’s what it’s all about: learning from your mistakes, so the next race will be that much better.
Ready to Run?
How ‘bout it?
Tags: blind, blind runner, half marathon, legally blind, legally blind runner, marathon, marathon training, marathon training program, marathon training runs, Missoula Marathon, Montana, out of alignment, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Runner, runners, Running, running a marathon, running blind, training for a marathon, training runs, Vision, vision loss, Vision Runner