Here some of my personal ‘lessons learnt’ in this marathon and the training cycle:
Divide the race
@alydixon recently posted regarding dividing the race into three sections: the first 8 miles you run with your brain, the second with your legs and the last with your heart. I remembered the post just before the start and so I tried to stay cool headed and find my rhythm around a 4:40/km pace in the first third. It wasn’t easy as many runners overtook me and I was tempted a lot to speed up. The second 8miles I tried to run steady and strong and focussed a lot on my running form (engaging my glutes, ignoring my hip flexors which really hurt by that time). The last 8 I really ran with all my heart. I knew, that if nothing major happened I could do it. I just let go, smiled, enjoyed and let my heart take over.
In addition to the above, I remembered that my coach @pmgcoaching said, that a marathon is basically a 20 miles warm-up followed by 10k race. So after mile 20 I said out loud ‘that’s the warm-up done’ (I might have annoyed some fellow runners with that 🤦🏽♀️) and allowed myself to speed up. This took some guts as I was really scared of burning out too quickly. But it turned out that I had much more in the tank than I thought. #negativesplits baby
I forced myself to take water at every water station. I also had Andy handing my my sports drink at 3 occasions.
Gels - find your way
I thought long and hard about this. I had practiced with taking on gels every 4 miles. But that meant carrying 6 gels which just seemed like a lot. I also felt a bit intimidated by runners who only take 2 or 3 with them. But then I thought ‘fuck it, I do it my way’. So I shoved 4 gels down my bra and had two in my little back pocket of my shorts. And what can I say... the fuelling was spot on. I never lacked energy and taking the gels regularly gave me something to look forward to. Would do it again exactly the same way. I alternated between High5 Aqua and Maurten.
I tried to channel my inner @kipchogeeliud and smiled throughout the race. Not only are the race pictures much better - it also helped to relax and gave me confidence!
I just had a fantastic playlist. I asked my friends for songs to add to the list so I could think of them while running to their song. It worked so well and made me smile even more. I finished the race to the Final Countdown by Europe
the fact that @pmgcoaching added consistent strength training and physio exercise from @quinnphysio to my training plan made a HUGE difference. Having a strong core and upper body helped me massively once the legs got tired. I’ve never felt as strong in a race as I did yesterday.
Train slow, race fast
My @pmgcoaching training plan had many slow runs and in the beginning I was tempted to run them faster as I thought that it would make me stronger. But I decided to sit back and trust the process. The slow runs are there for a reason and I will cherish them even more from now on. Give it your all in the speed sessions but take the slow ones real slow. It DOES make a difference.
Rest and sleep
Rest day really meant rest day for me. Not once did I do any workout or stressed my body. I also tried to sleep as much as I could which meant that I was really boring and often in bed by 9:30. Also I learnt to listen to my body and take an additional rest day when I felt exhausted.
Eat and drink healthy
I worked with @andiscottshaw regarding nutrition. And I learnt: I never ate enough carbs before, I didn’t drink enough and I should listen to my body and ALWAYS eat when I feel hungry.
Hills are friends
I believe the fact that I incorporated hills into most of my slow runs, especially my longruns, made me stronger.