This weekend marks a year since my first marathon. It’s true what they say: Hindsight is 20/20. I feel like a much stronger runner than I was then physically and mentally; I’ve learned a lot about running from doing things right and doing things wrong. And since I want to get better and run a third some day, it feels right to reflect on the things I’ve learned and put the words onto paper—or a blog post, at least.
Listen To Your Body
It sounds simple, but this is probably what runners are worst at. Listen to your body and back off as soon as you feel an injury coming on. I wasn’t a very strong runner for my first marathon having just came back from a stress fracture and now whenever I feel shin splints acting up I know well enough to stop. You can always find something else to do and run the next day, or next week—it’s all better than injury.
If you eat a lot of sugar and fat, your long run the next day is probably going to be great. If you eat a lot of sugar and fat every day and aren’t training hard for anything, you’re just going to get fat. A year ago I was running at roughly a 10:00min/mile using the Galloway method. For my 2nd marathon I ran at a 9:00min/mile pace. Now that I’m not training for anything I average an 8:00min/mile. The difference is less fat and more muscle, which all boils down to diet for me.
All Cardio And No Strength Makes A Sorry Runner
I love running. I’d run every day if I could. But my legs would get sore and my arms would get small and I’d look like an orc extra from a Harry Potter movie. Not only does having extra muscles make you look better, it gives your legs a break and keeps your body overall fit. It doesn’t even matter what you do so long as you do something; I’ve done the gym-machines-thing, the Shred, and now I pretty much stick to yoga. The only time my results change is when I start slacking. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that I’ve been getting faster since I’ve started.
Right now I don’t have any more marathons planned. But I know as long as I keep these things in mind I’ll be in my best shape and the next marathoner can only be better.