Marathon Training: School of Hardknocks

Confession: I am stubborn.

Because I am stubborn, I learn things the hard way.

My last long run was an obvious example of that.

The good thing about learning the hard way is the lesson tends to stick with me.

What happened? (Find the full story on my weekly vlog)

I ate a bigger than normal lunch knowing that I was going to be running through my usual afternoon snack through until dinner. I burned off all the sugar in body and didn’t replace it quickly enough through my Sharkies. This caused me to sweat. The sweating exacerbated the fact that I was not drinking water and I became dehydrated. So at that point, I was hypoglycemic, dehydrated and drenched in sweat (not that I could feel that). When I finally stopped at mile 12, I was hypoglycemic, dehydrated, and hypothermic (thanks to the sweat).

What did I learn?

  1. I cannot run for two hours without water. (I don’t go two hours without water when I’m just hanging out. Why did I think I could go two hours without water when running?)
  2. I need to pay attention to fuel.
  3. I have to listen to both my mind and my body.

How have I changed?


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I bought a hydration belt.

I’m a minimalist when running so I completely rejected the idea of a hydration belt. I subsequently convinced myself that I didn’t need to hydrate when running (and therefore didn’t need a hydration belt). Wrong.

I can learn to run with a hydration belt. I learned to run, didn’t I? I just have to put my mind to it. It’s not an option.

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I went to REI and loaded up on fuel. I basically bought one of everything since I have no idea what I’m going to like. I put them in my running bag so that way I am prepared whenever I want to run.

Would taking in more calories have made a difference during my LR disaster? I don’t know. I can’t afford to find out the hard way again, though.

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I like to completely shut off during a run, especially a long run. I run with a Garmin now but I hardly look at it because I want to allow my body to set the tone.

Sometimes though my body doesn’t realize what my goal is. When my goal is to run 14 miles maintaining my 10K pace is not realistic. I need to allow myself to listen to my body, but I also need to learn when my mind has to step in.

There is no easy way to learn where the line is. It’s all trial and error. I am going to force myself to experiment.

While my LR was definitely disastrous, I am thankful for it. I got a huge kick in the ass to wake up and treat my body better without too much serious damage.

Have you had any eye-opening experiences?

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About Katie

I'm a college student who is trying to find her feet in the world of cooking healthy and incorporating food healthfully into my world!
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6 Responses to Marathon Training: School of Hardknocks

  1. This is a great post! I’m just now starting my marathon training, so I’ll be coming back to you for more advice for sure 🙂

  2. Wow Katie! You sure did learn the hard way. I’m so glad you’re OK. I am a lot like you in that I don’t like to carry a bunch of stuff while I run (like fuel, water, etc.) I’m now going to reconsider the hydration belt. My husband runs with one and when he’s not running with me I could just “borrow” his. Since I don’t even need to go purchase one I have no excuse not to try it out. Thanks for posting your vlog.

  3. runsuerun says:

    Glad you are ok! My long runs teach me a lot also!

    Regarding hydration, you might also want to consider a handheld water bottle like this:
    http://www.runningwarehouse.com/descpage-AHHB.html

    I couldn’t find a belt that I was truly comfortable with. I have a convenience store (@10mi)and a starbucks (@8mi)along my long run were I can buy water to refill the bottle. During races, I take the top off as I approach the aid station, and a volunteer or I refill the bottle. It is pretty quick and is easier than trying to drink from cups. Also, a 20 oz bottle can last me 10 miles in cool weather, so during a marathon, I only stop at aid station 2x. I wear shorts and tank with pockets to hold my gels. I am a minimalist too.

    But hydration and gear is a personal/individual thing, and you definitely have to figure out what works for you.

    I am currently training for a marathon in Florida in February. Great blog, thanks for sharing!

    • Katie says:

      I hate drinking from the cups during any race. The water stations always get so clogged up! I’ll definitely have to try out the water bottle approach! Thank you for sharing your tips with me!

      What marathon are you running in? I am so jealous of the fact that it’s in Florida. The marathon in DC will either be freezing with snow or perfect.

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