Bucket List Item: Running a Marathon Part 2 – Putting in the work!

If you haven’t read my first post in this series – do that now! This post is the second part in my marathon running series and it’s all about putting in the work!

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As I mentioned in my first post, I chose Hal Higdon’s novice 1 training plan. I counted 18 weeks from my marathon which landed on December 3rd. At this point it was late October so this would give me a little more than a month to get a consistent base. It is really important before you start training to make sure your body is used to running 3-5 miles 3-4 times a week. If you’re starting from 0 then you risk getting injured. At this point I had been running consistently multiple times a week so I continued to keep doing that until December. I did have a small bout of tendinitis where I took

The training plan is structured with shorter runs during the week and a longer run on the weekend. My husband and I would run separately during the week since our schedules didn’t always align and then on weekends we would run together.

December started out great! We felt good and we were able to get all of our training runs in. Even on the nights where it was a little chilly. I started posting my runs on my Instagram stories. This started because I wanted to track my pace, outdoor temp, and what outfit I was wearing for that temperature. This proved helpful later on when I was trying to figure out what to wear on certain days – including race day! But I also found that it kept me accountable and I got quite a few messages from people saying I had inspired them to sign up for a race too!

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We started to figure out our nutrition plan by experimenting on our runs longer than 6 miles with eating different things at different intervals. We also started figuring out what to eat before the runs and how long to eat before the run. This was so important because if I hadn’t done this and figured out what worked there’s no way I would have known what to do on race day. Instead I walked into the race knowing exactly what and when to eat. I could probably write a whole post on my nutrition plan but for now I’ll tell you that I ate one serving of skratch labs energy chews every 35-50 minutes (or whenever I was hungry). I rotated flavors so I wouldn’t get tired of one flavor but I think my favorite flavor was the Matcha Green Tea and Lemon.

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January is when things started to go downhill. We spent a weekend in Florida where we battled a 12 mile run in heat that our bodies weren’t used to. The weather started to get too cold to run outside in Wisconsin – like dangerous wind chills! I knew when I signed up for the race that I would probably have to do at least one long run indoors on a treadmill. I set a threshold temperature of 15 degrees and anything below that I would run inside. This was better for my lungs, muscles, and overall health. But it did mean that I ran 7, 8.5, 10, 13 and 15 mile runs on a treadmill!.

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By the end of January I had gotten sick. I knew I had been pushing myself too much, not sleeping enough, and not eating the best since I had been travelling a lot. When I was sick I drastically decreased my mileage, got plenty of sleep/fluids, skipped a run or two or substituted a run for a day on the bike or elliptical. I just hoped that as soon as I was better I would be able to increase my mileage again without issues, and thankfully that was the case.

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February I started to travel a lot for work. This meant that I was doing more runs on treadmills at a gym and I was having to fit my runs in around my travels. This did mean I was adjusting my run schedule a bit because I had trouble fitting in my runs on Thursdays. Many times I would skip my Thursday runs while travelling, which was fine since they were usually my shortest run of the week. The 16 mile run was brutal. My body kind of gave up around mile 13 and I basically walk/jogged (also known as wogging) the last three miles. On this same run my husband got hurt and strained his IT band. Ultimately he had to drop out of the marathon in order to let his body heal.

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March was rough too. I was feeling incredibly unmotivated now that my running buddy was no longer there. My husband was really sad he couldn’t run and it made me sad too. At times I questioned if I wanted to keep going or not. What helped was finding more friends to run with. Unfortunately I got sick again and had to take another step back and let my body heal.

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That week when I was sick, I really needed motivation, I posted on my Instagram story that I needed encouragement. Within an hour I had 10-15 messages in my inbox with people telling me not to give up, giving advice, or motivating me! I had no idea that social media would play a big role in keeping me motivated. My advice to anyone running a marathon is to find a way to hold yourself accountable and figure out what motivates you. Then during your low points you can dig deep to find that motivation and continue to hold yourself to your training schedule.

My hardest week of Marathon training had me running 20 miles during the week and then a long 20 mile run on the weekend. I knew if I could get through that week it would give me the confidence I needed to run the marathon. So I found friends to run with me every day that week! Even the 20 mile run – THANK YOU CAMERON! Check out his engagement photos here!

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After that week I started my taper. It felt really good to know that the hardest part of training was done and all I had to do was stay healthy until the marathon.

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In my next post in this series I’ll cover the day of the race!

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