I've completed week one of marathon training with little problems other than sore shins and quads (nothing new). Though week one is over, I've really been running 20-30 miles a week for the past year...as I ran with my Saturday running buddy (Kristin) last Saturday, we talked about making a list of things we learn while we run. So...here's my attempt at that:
1. Always carry Kleenex while running. A mile into our run last week, blood began gushing out of my nose. Fortunately, my running partner is a planner (unlike me) and we were near a gas station.
2. Just because you are a runner, doesn't mean you can eat anything you want. A few weeks ago I ate a cookie, a piece of peanut brittle, and a few pieces of candy 45 minutes before my run. About a mile in, the side aches nearly doubled me over forcing me to kick my pace back to what seemed like a turtle's shuffle. I'm learning to be smarter about what I eat. My goals: no soda, cut back on the candy (during thesis writing sessions or grading sessions, I tend to pound down the sugar), and eliminate processed foods.
3. Long runs are more bearable with a buddy. From June to October I ran with our XC kids, so I've grown accustomed to running with people. It was a bit disheartening to head out for a run on my own after XC season. About a month ago, Kristin and I began running together on Saturday mornings. She is my motivation to get my you-know-what out of bed on a Saturday morning and out in the cold. It helps that she's a great conversationalist. She's a mellow person while I'm rather high strung, so our personalities balance each other out well. I feel blessed to have her as a running partner especially because she's not training for anything right now. She's just running with me out of the goodness of her heart :)
4. Nice running gear makes it easier to run. I realize this seems shallow. But, Nate and I decided to splurge and purchase a few staples to make our road to 26.2 even a little less painful. I HATE treadmills with a fiery passion and have decided I'll do all of my training in God's great outdoors. So I invested in a nice running coat built for 30 degrees or colder, a pair of windblocking compression tights, a nice pair of running mittens that actually keep my fingers warm (wearing two pair of gloves was getting annoying), blister prevention wool socks made for running (it's gross, but I get nasty blisters on my toes when training hard), a few cold weather running hats, a nice thermal running shirt, and another pair of shoes to swap out during training (primarily to wear on my long runs and the day of the marathon). And though I still feel self-conscious walking out the door in my butt hugging running tights, this gear sure does make running long more comfortable.
5. I still love running. Nate got back from a run this week and found me stretching with a goofy smile on my face. He looked pissed. I asked him how his run went, and he replied: "You really love running that much? I'm sick of it." Running is my distraction. It gives me time to digest the day's or week's events and get away from grading, researching, cleaning, etc. It allows me to push myself, and it physically makes me feel great. Hopefully I'll still love running after running 26.2 miles!
This is just the tip of the iceberg; I'm sure to learn more as I start adding the miles. Week one of training is completed---17 more to go! In five weeks we'll be running a half-marathon in Arvada, Colorado. Pray for good weather--Colorado in February can be nasty!