It has been over two weeks since I ran the NYC Marathon. I am very glad that I did not have to drive home yesterday, as most of NY State was being dumped with snow. Winter driving is not fun in these parts!
So what did I learn from my marathon experience?
1. Weather, Smeather
I was thinking the other day that during the 2014 race season, I had the worst luck in terms of weather. For four years, I have been very lucky to almost always run on nice, sunny days. 2014? Not a chance. My first race featured temperatures below -30C. Ottawa Race Weekend was really warm and humid which resulted in overheated runners. Army Run included a downpour of epic proportions. NYC had cold, super windy conditions. But, I found that despite all of that, I still ran fairly well. Here is hoping that 2015 = partly cloudy with temps at 18C.
2. Bagels matter
I will never, ever attempt to run a long distance race while taking GU Gels without eating a bagel first ever again!
3. I can run without music
I ran most of my training runs without the use of my iPod – including that super long 20 miler. I used to always run with my headphones in. But, I have become used to running without no distractions at all. I can not imagine running NYC with headphones on as one would miss so much of the music and noise from the crowds. I had my iPod in my pocket, but didn’t feel the need to have it on at all.
4. Training works!
No way, you don’t say? Previously, my half marathon training plans were all written out, but never followed. So what happened? I crashed and burned. After following the first 10 weeks of my marathon plan and actually sticking to it, I ran the Army Run. Funny, I ran a PB race, with negative splits and even PB’d the 10K during the second half of the race. The Yorkville Run was very close to my PB (just a few seconds off). However, while running the race, it felt easy. When I ran my PB (in the banana suit), I felt like I was going to lose my bagel during the last KM. Funny what a little training does?
5. I run slower, and that is ok!
I am not a fast runner when it comes to distances longer than 10K. I am perfectly ok with that. I focused more on running negative splits, staying injury free and having a good time. The method seemed to work and I never hit the wall. The next time is all about pushing myself a bit further – half marathon, I’m looking at you!
6. Strength/Cross training is a must
The last couple of weeks of marathon training were a bit intense because of my IT band issues. Because of timing issues, I rarely cross trained and relaxed on strength workouts. For next year, I need to focus more on these two important parts of a successful training plan so that I can get faster, and not be in pain. Most of my issues are a direct result of weak hips and glutes. A very common problem for many runners. So – this needs to become a priority!
7. I kind of like it….
I like marathons? Who would have thought?!