Now that the New York City Marathon is only eight weeks it's time to really get serious about training. I have been working hard to establish a solid base since from here on it all of my long runs will be PDR's and just about every week will be a new weekly high for me. I have spent the past month and a half learning what does and doesn't work for my body so I can move forward with training.
At the beginning of each training cycle I like to set some goals for myself that are related only to my training. That way I can race as prepared and confident as possible.
1. Do the little things right
So often in training we only pay attention to the obvious, like our runs. But training for a marathon is so much more than just running. I was taught from a young age to make decisions whether or not they will help me become a better athlete. Of course there are times to kick back and break some rules, but know that if you go out to the club until 3 am Friday night that your long run Saturday morning will be a sufferfest. Sometimes all it takes is planning ahead for everything to work out. Either way, it is the little things that can make or break training sometimes.
2. Stretch & foam roll consistently
I have had some minor tastes of injury in the last couple of weeks that have reminded me not to skimp on really taking care of my body. Lately I have been starting runs with a dynamic warm up, and following runs up by stretching, foam rolling, and icing if necessary. I have been one of those people who didn't ever stretch but I am learning the hard way that stretching after every single run is absolutely necessary.
3. Get serious about nutrition
Besides stretching, nutrition is the thing that I often forget about. I love food and sometimes I forget how much I have already eaten. Marathon training is not an excuse to eat everything in sight and there is no need to carb load every night of the week. I want to pay attention to what I am eating so that my body is fueled in the best way possible to have a successful training cycle. As a vegetarian I need to pay extra attention to how much protein I am getting especially. I also require a higher amount of sodium.
4. Pay attention to energy levels
Sometimes it is easy to stay up until 2 in the morning watching tv or studying for a test. And this is only a problem when I have to be up in a few hours to go for a run before a full day of classes. When I am tired the first thing to suffer is my training. I need 8-10 hours of sleep a night on average or I am pretty much useless. I have some really long days this semester and getting enough sleep really makes a difference in how productive I am each day.
5. Enjoy training as much as possible
The reason I fell in love with the sport of triathlon before ever having completed my first triathlon was because of how much I enjoyed the training. I looked forward to training instead of dreading it. So far I am loving marathon training as well but I want to make sure it stays that way. Of course there will be days when I don't want to go for a run but when it becomes multiple days that I am avoiding running that we have a problem. Should that happen I will reassess my training and figure out what changes I can make so that training is fun and enjoyable.