Another Year, Another Marathon Fail
I’m not happy that I’m writing this post right now but hey, that’s how things go sometimes. For the third time in four years (here’s last year) I didn’t end up running the San Francisco Marathon I was training for (so much for this post). To be honest I’m not sure if I’m ever going to run a marathon. My body seems to be telling me that it’s not the best idea and if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a runner, it’s that I should be listening to what my body’s saying.
So why did I miss it? I was getting towards the end of my training and ramping up my mileage but an ankle sprain took me out of my groove a few weeks ago. I’m just now getting back to running in the mornings, which is awesome, but it’s slow going (and I’m ok with that for now).
Failing and not following through with something sucks but it’s also when I learn the most about myself. Looking back at my failed marathon training here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.
Don’t Rush Training
From the beginning I was pushing it to ramp up my distance for the marathon. I ended up cutting a full training schedule in half to accommodate the time I had before the race, which wasn’t very smart. Pushing my mileage to the level needed for a marathon takes a level of time and attention that I wasn’t giving it. This isn’t what knocked me out but it played a part.
Don’t Change A Running Gait Halfway Through Training
I’m not sure what I was thinking with this one. Sometimes I do the dumbest things. For some reason I decided to change my heel strike to a mid-foot strike right in the middle of my training and the first time I made the change was on a 10 mile run.
My calves were so sore I couldn’t walk right for the next week and I’m sure I did more damage to my body than I’ll ever realize. After talking to a doctor who knows much more than I do about running he would have made a more gradual change to get me to where I needed to be.
Warm Up Before Running
My buddy Smitty is a triathlon maniac and one big thing he taught me was that warming up before going for runs is really important. I’m not talking about doing a few stretches, this is a focused 15-20 minutes of stretching and warmup exercises before the real running begins. I’m almost always in a rush to get out the door in the mornings so this is a hard one to make happen but it’s something I need to do every time. It’s better to take more time warming up and running a shorter distance than running farther and potentially getting hurt. I want to be able to run for a long time so I need to do the things that will keep me healthy.
I’m sure I learned even more but these are the three main things that came to mind. Running, especially as I get older, requires more time and attention than I’m used to giving it. I need to make sure to stay on top of these things if my 33 year-old body is going to keep moving into my old(er) age. It’s not going to get any easier.