It’s been a while since I’ve gone for a run. In fact, confession time. I haven’t gone for a legitimate run since the half marathon. I had a bout of sickness that took me over a week to get over, and then I jumped into strength training. However, it feels like that race was yesterday. I don’t remember much of the pain…I just remember the finish line. I guess that’s why people say you’ll get bitten by the running bug. You just remember those high moments.
However, I did learn quite a few things while training and during the race that I thought I’d share with y’all.
I have to insert this in this post, because half marathons (heck, running at all) is a huge deal.
DISCLAIMER: Now, of course before you start any type of workout program, it’s best to check with your doctor. I’m not a doctor…just some random blogger. Seriously, check with your doctor before taking on a workout program, especially if you have had injuries or you’re overweight. Running can be hard on your body, so you want to make sure you don’t make anything worse or hurt yourself…period! Also, these are tips from what I personally encountered. Everyone is different…you might not go through any of this (lucky).
1. It’s going to be SUPER mental.
So many people told me this, and they were all right. Running long distances becomes a mental game. After mile 1, I surely didn’t think I had 12.1 more in me on race day. However, I took it one mile at a time. It was especially rough once I passed the 10 mile marker, since that was my longest distance in training. I kept saying to myself, but you did a personal best! You don’t have to hobble 3 more miles..but I somehow shut my brain up and finished it!
2. You might get sick after. Like seriously…
I came down with bronchitis TWO DAYS after the half marathon. I was 100% on top of the world on Sunday, and then I slowly declined by Tuesday. I thought something was wrong with me, but apparently this can happen. When you’re exercising for such a long period of time, your immune system takes a bit of a dip, so I apparently was supposed to take vitamins, avoid exposure to a bunch of people and just become a hermit. Um…nope…that didn’t happen at all (Oops!). I seriously had NO idea about this…lesson learned.
3. Body Glide is my BFF (sorry real life BFF, I still love you).
It’s no secret that I’m a large gal. With that, things rub/chafe. In fact, it wasn’t until the 10 mile run that I learned about sports bra chafing. Yeah, that’s a thing and it’s PAINFUL. Worse than thunder thigh chafing. My good running friend recommended that I purchase Body Glide and put it everywhere. That stuff is wonderful.
4. Cotton is the enemy.
This goes with chafing. Cotton stinks…cotton clothes, cotton socks, cotton anything. Whenever I wore cotton anything during training runs, there was blisters/chafing. I love cotton for everyday clothing, but never again for workouts.
5. There’s this thing called a wall.
Yeah, that infamous wall happened for me at the bridge (around mile 11). I was thinking there’s NO WAY there’s 2 miles left in me. You just have to keep on, keeping on (unless you injured yourself, of course). Blast music. Count trees. Check out cool gear on marathoners who are running past you (some running shirts had hilarious phrases on them).
6. Always bring fuel.
Don’t depend on the race course to have what you need. Bring the fuel that you know and are used to. The last thing you want are stomach issues on the course. I had a pocket full of Gu Chomps (which I used for quite a few long runs previously) for the race. I did pick up a free Gu at mile 8, just in case I needed a boost in the end, but I never used it.
There’s a bit of a balance here. I wanted to stay hydrated, but I didn’t want to over-hydrate (it’s really dangerous to do that from articles I read). For me, I took a small swig of Powerade and a small swig of water every 2 miles. It worked for me, and I never needed the port-o-potties.
8. Full night of sleep before the race? I wish!
For me, I am a worry worm. I kept having nightmares before the race, and the night before was no exception! I think I got 4 hours of sleep the night before, but thankfully the afternoon before, I took an epic nap. Carb loading = running fuel + a need to nap!
9. Don’t compare yourself to others. Just finishing is awesome.
I did this the whole race. I’d look across the lake and saw the first place runners passing mile 10 while I was pushing through mile 3/4. I felt sort of defeated when I saw that, but my friend reminded me that we were still doing this and finishing the race, no matter the time, is still doing the same distance everyone else did. We all finished the same race.
10. Runners are friendly.
This blew my mind. I don’t know…maybe it stems from old school P.E. days of being called Shamu by kids, and constantly being last picked on teams ::cue tiny violins::. Whatever. :-P I just always felt like I was in the way when it comes to working out. I’d rather be invisible (I battle this at the gym all the time), because I don’t like knowing that people are watching me struggle. However, at the race, marathoners….FAST marathoners at that, took a second to pat me on the back and tell me “Good Job!” when I hit the wall. I needed that so badly. Also, throughout the race, we sort of kept up with the same people and we’d have conversations while having walk breaks (yes, I took walk breaks…many of them…I’m not ashamed).
Now, I’m sure there’s more….but those are the top 10 that stuck out to me. If you’ve done a race before, what’s something that you learned?