The lessons of the marathon

I’m in Dublin at the moment and saw a sign saying it’s the Dublin marathon this weekend. I got really excited seeing it and really wished I was doing it. My brother did it the other year and said the atmosphere was awesome.

I’d say today is the first time since the Chester marathon that I’ve got excited about running. Even watching my husband at the York marathon the other week didn’t make me giddy. But seeing him smash his PB and get an incredible 3:25 did confirm my desire to do it all again …one day. I’ve got my eye on Edinburgh in May.

Since the race I’ve been full of an annoying cold and quite ankle sore. A sign I may well have overdone it all. So I’ve taken up swimming and cycling. I’ve enjoyed them both but neither give me the same buzz. I’ve toyed with the idea of a triathlon but I genuinely don’t know how people do it. Transitioning from one sport to another is mega.

So I’ve tried a couple of runs in the last two weeks and all was good. Then after seeing the Dublin marathon sign and spending an hour in the gym, I can’t wait to do a speed session. I can’t wait to train again. But I will. I’ve still got to take things easy and sort out my weak areas – hips and glutes. Boooooring!

So with me seriously planning my training for Edinburgh I thought it was time to write down what I learned from the last marathon. Just so I don’t make the same mistakes again.

What I’ve learned…
(The most frustrating thing is, I actually knew most of this before the day!)

Go easy on the fluids before the race. I drank a pint of water when I woke up, had a cup of tea and most of a bottle of lucazade sport. All within 3 hours. Way too much. I should’ve had half that and stopped all liquids an hour before the race.

Don’t drink too much during the race. I had a new much bigger running bottle with hi five zero tablets with me. It was unnecessary, I should’ve just taken a small one and sipped or just had the ones on the course. No doubt this and the above are why I needed to wee at mile 5/6!

Gels upset my stomach. Well 8 certainly do. I only took 3 on long runs so why I decided to have so much more on the day I’ll never know. They gave me bad stomach cramps after my 4th one and the wildies at the end. Horrific.

Test out the bum bag before race day. I packed a small one full of gels and jelly beans and it banged into my back from the start and badly bruised it. I started to feel the bruising towards the end of the race and for about a week afterwards! Why I didn’t take my new proper pack I’ve no idea.

Beetroot juice works for me so don’t forget to take it! Even if it’s all in my mind, I wonder if I’d have got an extra minute or so if I’d remembered to drink it.

Don’t have a massage or do deep stretches a few days before the race. I had a trapped nerve in my back or something so I had a deep massage on my glutes and started doing some mega stretches 3 days before. On race day my inner thighs and glutes were very tender and stiff. Not good.

Don’t run a half marathon race two weeks before the marathon. I got a PB without trying and I loved every second of that race. Everything clicked, it was effortless. I clearly peaked for the wrong race and suffered afterwards. I’d leave at least 4 weeks next time.

Relax the week before the marathon. I was ill the week of the marathon. Just a sore throat and run down. Instead of resting I did a speed session at 5am one morning in the rain. And because I had more spare time as I was tapering, I filled my days and nights when I should’ve just relaxed.

Don’t rush an injury, it’ll catch up with you. I’m now paying the price of being pig headed and impatient. I’d be a lot stronger, fitter and faster if I’d have transferred Chester to 2017. I’ll be honest with this though, it takes a lot for me to give up on a goal so I doubt I’ll ever truly learn this lesson.

One magpie is bad luck. I always notice two together on the way to a race, but on race day there was a lone one on the road. It was the only one I saw during the whole journey. Enough said.

I’m sure I’ll mull over the race a lot more, I’ve not quite let it go yet. But I think if I’d got the above right it would have made a big difference. Bring on Edinburgh!!

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