As I run headfirst into my second cycle of marathon training, I reflected upon the mistakes I made in my first marathon to find areas of improvement. I’m not one to dwell on mistakes, but rather learn from them and move forward. After all, I firmly believe that bad races make me a better runner. I made these mistakes in my marathon, learned from them, and implemented those lessons in my marathon training plans. In this post, I’m sharing the mistakes I made so you can avoid them in your first or next marathon!
3 Mistakes I Made in My First Marathon (And How You Can Avoid Them):
1. Following a cookie cutter plan.
Many runners thrive on the Hansons Marathon Method. For me, as I’ve said numerous times, it was not the best plan. I don’t handle that much intensity or fatigue that well, and I need the time-on-your-feet benefits of long runs. Cookie cutter plans may work, but they do not provide the best training plan for your life, schedule, current fitness, goals, and abilities.
I don’t believe in cookie cutter training plans; each runner is unique in how they train best, what their running-specific areas of strength and weakness are, their schedule, their desire to balance running with other hobbies, and so on. The marathon training group offers three levels of training plans, each of which is customized to YOUR individual needs, goals, and wants.
2. Not focusing enough on fueling and hydration.
Mastering my fueling and hydration became one of my running goals for 2016 because of how mediocre my fueling and hydration was for the Portland Marathon. I ate just a small bowl of dry Chex cereal and a banana before the race!
After improving my fueling and hydration during half marathon training contributed to a 5 minute PR, I know just how important fueling is for successful training and a strong and fast race. I have tirelessly researched and practiced fueling and hydration in my training in order to help you learn how to master your fueling and hydration as well.
You may be able to race a half marathon without a pre-race breakfast or any fuel during, but the marathon is a completely different beast. Since all but the fastest elite runners will deplete the stored glycogen well before the finish line, you need to have a smart fueling and hydration plan in place in order to run the race well and, more importantly, enjoy it. Don’t let poor fueling derail your marathon! Instead, the marathon training group will guide you in developing your own fueling and hydration plan and implementing it from the first week of training through race day.
3. Focusing too much on time goals and pace.
Readers may remember my goal to BQ during my first marathon. While theoretically a 3:35 was not out of reach based on my recent race times, I was a novice at the marathon and needed to focus on completing the distance before setting any ambitious time goals. Since I was following Hansons, which bases all of the workouts off of goal time, I ran by pace, pace, pace – never by effort. The marathon became intertwined with pace, rather than the appropriate effort or enjoying the training or the race.
The marathon training group will guide you through smart goal setting, help you build confidence in your ability to run the marathon, and provide you with mental tools to adapt and adjust for whatever life, training, or the race may throw your way. In short, the goal of the marathon training group is to prepare you for an enjoyable and strong marathon – a marathon of which you will be proud of your finish time and of your overall race experience.
While I made numerous mistakes in my first marathon, I did a few things correctly in training for my first marathon:
Things I Did Right in My First Marathon
1. Finding a supportive community.
I started training for my first marathon just a few short weeks after Ryan and I moved 2000 miles across the country from Indiana to Seattle. We knew no one in the area, but thankfully blogging provided me with a community of other runners, many of whom had completed multiple marathoners before and graciously provided motivation, advice, and support.
No matter where you live, the marathon training group will provide you with support from a community of runners, including a certified running coach. Had a bad run? The whole community will be there to encourage you and help you figure out what may have gone wrong. Proud of your farthest or fastest run yet? Share it so we can cheer you on!
Several obstacles and questions will arise during marathon training, and the community of the marathon training group will provide you with answers, support, and the knowledge that other runners are experiencing the same ups and downs as you are.
2. Learning everything I could about the marathon.
While nothing replaces first-hand experience, the more you know about the marathon, the less unexpected variables you will encounter in training and on race day. Some readers may recall my Marathon Monday series, which delved into various aspects of marathon training as I was learning and experiencing them firsthand.
I’m here to save you all of the hard work and research! The marathon training group offers monthly webinars and weekly in-depth email lessons to cover all aspects of marathon training. By the time your race day rolls around, you will feel both mentally and physically prepared to tackle the challenge of running 26.2 miles. Building confidence for race day is essential for enjoying the marathon and achieving your goals. Whether you are training for your first or 26th marathon, the more you understand your training plan and the race, the more you will trust your training and feel confident about your race.
Are you training for your first or next marathon? Learn more about my coaching services here! If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
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What mistakes did you make in your first marathon or half marathon?
What topics regarding marathon training are you interested in learning about?