Anyone training for a marathon knows that when the days start to get shorter, your runs start to get longer… and longer (and longer). Whether you are a brand new runner, somewhat new to running, or a pro, these tips will help you through this challenging time!
Wear the right shoe. Well, wear both the right and the left shoes, but make sure they are the right type of shoe for you. If you picked out your current shoes because of their colors or marked down price, you may be experiencing back pain, shin splits, plantar fasciitis, or other aches and pains as a result. Everyone’s feet are a little different, and getting properly fitted at a specialty shoe store can help prevent and eliminate injury. Most people’s ankles tend to roll in, and it’s important to have a shoe with stability to correct this problem. If you have flat feet, you may want to also consider an insole to put in your shoes. Once you have been properly fitted, you should be investing in a new pair of running shoes every 300-500 miles.
Wear running socks. Speaking of good investments… let’s talk running socks. Just like cotton shirts trap the moisture and smell from sweat, cotton socks do the exact same thing (yuck!). Get at least one pair (about $12) to wear for your long runs. You can wear them a couple times before washing them, but when you do wash them, turn them inside out and take out of the dryer damp.
Streettttccchhh. Yes, YOU! Before and after your workout! Do a quick dynamic warmup and slowly ease into your pace as you start your run. Before you make a beeline for the couch after your long run, make sure you are at least stretching your IT bands, glutes, and calves. I would also recommend taking an ice bath after long runs to recover quicker. Just fill your tub with cold water, add a bag of ice, and sit in the tub for 10-15 minutes after your run. Brutal? Yes. Worth it? 100% YES.
Post-run recovery. So you ran 15 miles yesterday and today you feel like you got hit by a bus. I’ve been there, it’s normal. Don’t give up! Use a foam roller to massage your muscles and ice any spots that are especially painful.
Hydrate. You should be drinking water all day long, especially on hot days. Set a goal to drink 8 glasses every day and either carry a water bottle or stop at drinking fountains during your run.
Nutrition (on your run). You are losing a lot of calories while running and nutrition can help fuel your body. There are a lot of options, but the key to any type of Gu, Shot Blocks, Powerbars, jellybeans, etc. is to take it before you feel like you need it. Another big mistake to avoid is not using any during your training, but taking the free ones during your race. You want to test out how your body reacts to fuel before race day.
Nutrition (before and after your runs). What you eat during the rest of the day is important as well. Avoid eating empty calories and focus on eating foods that give you the most nutrients per calorie (“nutrient dense foods”). These include good sources of whole grains and starches (oats, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes), lean proteins (fish, turkey, chicken, lean beef, eggs, beans, Greek yogurt), healthy fats (avocados, nuts, extra virgin olive oil) and lots of colorful fruits and veggies.
- Lunch and Dinner: incorporate nutrient dense foods in your meals, such as a Greek salad with grilled chicken, turkey burgers, stir fry, or stuffed peppers.
- 1-2 hours before a run: eat a light, energizing snack. A granola bar, banana/apple with nut butter, greek yogurt, or whole grain toast with nut butter are all great options.
- Post-run: fruit (watermelon is my favorite post-run snack!), smoothies, protein shake/bar, or chocolate milk
Rest days. You’ve earned this day! It’s important to understand, however, that rest days do not mean “do nothing days.” Stretch, hydrate and ice. It is also a great idea to take a 30-60 minute walk or go on a relaxing bike ride to loosen up your muscles.
Once you have all of that taken care of, keep pushing through the pain, tear down those mental walls and be confident in what your body is capable of!
Where are my half/full marathoners at??! What race are you training for?