Summer Training for Fall Marathons

It’s here. Marathon training season. Exciting right? Honestly, I’m chomping at the bit for my training plan to starting July.

Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan. Watch out Rio!

That’s my first suggestion. Get a coach, surf Pinterest, talk to running buds, create your own. Whatever you do, have a plan. If you’ve run distance races before, you’ve definitely learned a thing or two about yourself. It’s inevitable. Having a solid plan is one I learned for myself.

Second, stick to the plan. Yes, even the core and cross-training bits. It’s invaluable to you on race day.

Sounds easy enough, but how do you stay motivated when it’s 100F and so humid you can’t breathe? Or you’re on vacation? Or you just honestly don’t want to go? That’s where the mental toughness comes in.

A Few Things I’ve Learned

  1. Marathons are mostly mental.
    For my first marathon (WDW Marathon), I’d trained for months. I was pumped. I was nervous. I was ready. But then it happened. I started breaking down at mile 17. Not because my body hurt (it did). No because my fueling was wrong (I had energy left). No, I was breaking down mentally because I was bored out of my mind. I train in Tampa, by the water and on trails. Running Disney service roads for easily 20 of the 26.2 miles was simply mind-numbing. Which leads to my next suggestion:
  2. Choose the right race.
    The following weekend I was supposed to run the Clearwater Marathon but because a storm was on top of us with gail force winds and flooding we got bumped to a half. Trust me, it was the best and only call the director could have made. I applaud his decision. Also, this is a fantastic race series. The week after that, I ran Miami. Also great.
  3. Don’t try to run 3 marathons in 3 weeks.
    At least, not at first. Training is important. Rest and recovery are part of your training. But hey! I’m a Marathon Maniac: #12376
  4. Stay hydrated and keep your electrolytes in check.
    Seriously. This is a big one here in Florida and over the summer. For short runs, water should suffice. For longer runs, try some electrolyte replacements. The market is full of them. I like nuun. Gels turn my stomach, but gummies seem to be ok if not tough to chew at times.
  5. Test your fuel before race day.
    You have plenty of time to try new products, flavors, textures, and combos. Now is the time to do it. Find a mix that works for your body. GI distress is no joke.
  6. Have fun with it, or at least don’t turn it into a chore.
    This is a goal you’ve chosen. It’s not a work project or a chore. Don’t turn it into another check mark on your To-Do List. Sure, some days will feel like that, but make sure you’re enjoying yourself. Grab a buddy, download a ridiculous podcast, load up your favorite playlist, (safely) explore somewhere new. Do what you have to to stick to the plan, but make it interesting.

Have you run a marathon? What tips would you give a beginner? What worked and what didn’t? What’s your favorite marathon memory?