Monday, March 19, 2012

Lessons Learned from Half Marathon #2

Like all races, the Rock N' Roll USA Half Marathon on Saturday was a learning experience. I wrote a post about the things I learned from running the Baltimore Half Marathon in October and I often referenced it while training for my second half marathon. I love being able to look back on what did and did not work during training. Even though Saturday's race was not my first, I think it was the most informative. So in no specific order:

1. I NEED to figure out how to fuel during long runs. I have done minimal experimenting with hydration during longer runs and no experimenting with eating or gels during long runs. During Saturday's race I drank a bottle of nuun but I could tell during the race that I needed something more. The idea of taking a gel kind of freaks me out but I am heading to the store anyway this week to buy different brands and flavors of gels and chews to try so that during my next race I will have a successful nutrition plan.

2. I need to work on my nutrition in general. It is pretty difficult to be a college student and always eat a healthy and balanced diet but I know I can do better. When I first became a vegetarian I always made sure I was getting enough protein, iron, and calcium. Lately, though, most of my meals consist of solely carbs. As much as I love carbs, I know that eating more balanced meals will help fuel my body through training.

3. Hydration is key. "Hydration is key" is a phrase that my swim coach used to always say. Regardless, I do not drink as much as I should be. Many runs have been ruined because I have been dehydrated and I do not want to continue that trend into further training. I have been doing a better job of hydrating lately and I can tell a big difference from days when I don't drink enough. 

4. Stretching and foam rolling consistently really do make a big difference. I bought a foam roller with a gift card I got for Christmas and I am so glad I did. Like most people, I could be better about foam rolling and stretching. But I did try to regularly do both after long or hard runs and I always felt so much better afterwards. Sometimes it is hard to find time to do these things but it is so worth it.

5. Pre-race anxiety is my drug of choice. Some people hate pre-race anxiety but I revel in it. I love the feeling I get in the week leading up to a big race. This feeling is my happy place and my comfort zone. It is a feeling that I grew up with and that I am familiar with. This feeling is one of the main reasons why I race, honestly. 

6. I am stronger mentally than I thought. When I was a swimmer I frequently struggled with panic attacks and was the victim of my own mental games. It got to the point that when faced with a challenge I would give up without even trying. During Saturday's race I fought mentally harder than I ever have before and in the end I didn't give up. I love that running has taught me how to be strong again. Thank you, running.

7. No matter how slow your time, running a half marathon is a great accomplishment. Compared to many of my favorite running bloggers I am beyond slow. But that doesn't matter. I did my best and pushed myself to my limits regardless of what my time is and that is what is most important. Running a half marathon is never an easy task for anyone.

1 comment :

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