Marine Corps Marathon is happening!

This week I was lucky enough to obtain a code that allowed me to register for the Marine Corps Marathon without trying my luck in the lottery.  The MCM organization has a 17.75K race in March, and anyone who runs that gets an automatic entry to MCM.  I didn’t run it, but a local person did.  She wasn’t going to use the code so she passed it on to me.  I am IN.

Now I need to think about how the heck I’m going to train for it.  Last year, a few days after the Richmond Marathon, I wrote down a bullet point list of what I needed to do differently and what I thought I did well.  Looking at it four plus months later, I still think I was right about most of it.  I suppose we’ll see.

What I need to do differently next time I take on the marathon

  • Different fueling strategy.  While I was training for the marathon, our coach told us not to use any gels or blocks until we got over 14 miles.  That might be a good technique for some, but it got me out of the habit of fueling regularly, and when I tried to pick it back up with the longer distances I had trouble.  I also think all the sugar was what made me nauseated during the race.  So this cycle I need more fueling practice and less sugar, and possibly more salt.  I would also like to explore using “real” foods as opposed to gels and blocks.
  • More, slower miles.  On a lot of my training runs I wore myself out chasing faster people. Follow the intermediate schedule so I get three 20 milers in. I think the time on my feet, the confidence and the fueling practice would have helped me.
  • Speed work. I did none for Richmond.
  • Run-specific strength-training. Again, I did none while training for Richmond and my legs were completely crapped out by the end of the race.
  • Run more based on feel, less based on trying to hit a certain time. Even though I started slow for me, it didn’t feel GOOD, and I probably could have gone even slower in the very beginning.
  • RELAX. I was so tense, especially in the beginning, that I think I wore myself out. I know I can get through the distance now if I train consistently, so I’m hopeful this will be easier when I do it again.
  • Fewer races during training. One tune-up half (that’s only a half, no extra miles) and that’s it.

What I did really well

  • Stuck to the plan. I never skipped a long run. I did a few of my weekly runs in the pool when I was hurting/sick (also a good choice!) but I got them done every single time.
  • Found a way to get my long runs in even when I was traveling.
  • Didn’t put on weight. Lost at the very beginning and then stayed steady.
  • Didn’t go out too fast.
  • Picked Richmond as my first one. The crowd support was amazing and sleeping (well!) in my own bed really helped, as well as not having to stress too much about logistics.
  • Running with MTT/Pink. Those coaches were so supportive and I got lots of good advice along the way.
  • Went to physical therapy at the first sign of a problem.
  • Foam rolled every single day.
  • Found running buddies to train with during the week who had to run the same mileage at the same times.
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