I have never been so excited to run a race before. I have spent this past winter training my ass off. Lucky for me it wasn’t that cold. I started logging more miles than ever before. I have managed to get my over all pace from 9:30min/miles to 9:00min/miles in 3 months. What I learned is the faster I run the faster I get. It really is that simple.
Each week during my training I started pushing myself harder and faster. The only way to make change is to leave your comfort zone. So back in January, Chad set me up a spreadsheet to record and tracks all my runs. It has really helped keep me accountable and on pace with my training. The spreadsheet records each run’s distance, time and pace. It then allows me to have a breakdown of my monthly mileage and pace as well as my total for the year. From reviewing the spreadsheet I can see that I have averaged about 20-25 miles a week and have gradually pushed to go faster on my shorter mid week runs. My method for increasing my speed is I start with a light jog warm up mile (9:20 min/mile) then gradually increase the pace per mile and finish at 5km race pace (8:00 min/mile). I am by no means a running expert but felt this was working best for me.
It definitely helped that my friend Carol started training for her first full marathon and lives a couple of streets away. We were able to get all our long runs in together; I had 6 weeks of 12+ mile runs. I would not have logged so many miles alone. Sometimes you meet a person and you know you were supposed to friends. Carol has motivated, inspired and pushed me through all those runs.
Along with working on increasing my speed, I have used my training time to fine tune what fuel my body needs. Anyone that has ran a long distance race will tell you that it can do funny things to your tummy. The first half I trained for I had a lot of learning to do in terms of what I should and shouldn’t eat before and during a run. This time around I have narrowed done exactly how to fuel properly. For me it’s really important to eat right and drink lots of water the day before my long run. Which includes pizza/movie night with the boys every Friday night J. I also found out quiet quickly that I need fluid on my runs. My first 12 mile run I crashed hard around 11 miles and barely made it home. The following week I drank small sips of water throughout my 12 mile run and was able to sprint the last quarter mile home. I’ve also experimented with gels and started taking one every 5 miles. Never underestimate poor nutrition and how it will affect your training.
What is the best advice you would give someone running their first race? I would love to hear some other ideas.