13.1: Lessons Learned

Jan 16, 2013

As I prepare for the 2013 race season, I stumbled upon my original notes penned once I signed up for my first half marathon (race experience here and hereand jumped on the running bandwagon.

Note: I am NOT a professional, and I only play a doctor in my imagination. Below are things that worked for me and my body. All my "experience" is from my own personal running journey - and thru pestering other runners, local running stores, and - scouring Google.  In addition, this race was in a city I've never been to, so some of these "lessons" may not apply to you/your race.

Used the Couch to 13.1 Training Plan via Fitness Magazine. Began the week on Sunday (took as a rest day to prep for the week and long run recovery), did long runs on Saturday, and just picked mileage for the day based on daily miles during that week and my schedule. 

Gear: Wear the proper attire. Example: if you have a wedgie before you leave home, you will be digging in your hind parts the entire run - and people will stare. See my go-to run gear here. Bottom line, it should wick away your sweat (to prevent swamp ass), not ride up (wedgie anyone?), and be comfortable (skin tight + run = awkward jelly rolls). Want proof? I have an embarrassing story for every one of those examples - let me be your PSA mmkay?  

Update your iPod often, your sanity will thank you. 

Long runs: Saturday morning bright and early. Save for maybe one run these were done outside. I'll tell you now long runs on the treadmill make me want to commit suicide. No amount of trashy reality TV distracts from the hamster wheel - 6 or 7 miles is my max inside if I can help it. 

Cross training: Considered easy in activity to aid recovery (Yoga, light weights, etc). I cross trained - twice. So clearly I'm not the spokesperson. 

Nutrition:  Of the whole grain, non crap food variety -

Eat high carb snacks or meals an hour before run - Pretzels, Granola Bar, Nuts, Banana, or anything with peanut butter. Not a "must", but it helps in the energy department big time. Trust me.

Long run? Load up on complex carbs - pasta, rice, bagel, energy bar, cereal. Hence "carb loading" the night before a race.

If you are running longer than an hour you need to gel. Period. My favorites - Clif Shot Bloks and Honey Stinger Energy Chews.

Post Run: Refuel w/n 30-60 mins - Chocolate Milk, Smoothie. Pretty much any healthy combo of protein and fat.

Race Prep:

Gear - don't buy a new outfit for a race that you've never worn before. That's an invitation to drive you bat shit and chaffe your ass cheeks. Obviously a new shirt from the same label (along those lines) is fine. Also, triple check the weather and pack options, St. Jude's was December 1st and 50 degrees...

Fuel - figure out what foods work best for you pre race, gels, and post race. The night before race time is not the time to play adventurous. Unless you want explosive diarrhea while you run, like this guy:

My stomach is super sensitive so I tested out dozens of gels (post coming soon) and foods before I found what works for me. 

Map - plot your escape route from the race back to your hotel WITHOUT crossing the race route. Believe me, even with the windows rolled down we smelled like goats and were trapped in gridlock for over an hour.

Pack pre race breakfast - Bringing along you breakfast will save you stress (if you are traveling out of state) at 5 am in the dark at a hotel.

Pre Race Dinner - Again, no new foods. If traveling out of town plot out your dinner spot before it turns dark on a Friday night in a city you don't know, everywhere is packed, which causes your bed time to be midnight instead of 10 pm.

Post Race:

Even if you don't want to, swing by the psot race area and grab a snack. I had MASSIVE cramps after I finished, and the fruit, sports drinks and such saved me from agony.

For the love of Peete, NAP! Don't shower and head out to Beale Street and start drinking. You'll end up passed out by 10, trust me.

Nutrition - I ate EVERYTHING in sight for a week post race. I was worse than the plant in Little Shop of Horrors. Tip: Hit up a buffet for breakfast the next morning and wear sweat pants. Just saying.

Compress Yo' Self - if you are waddling like a penguin after a long run,  and/or have major pain/aches, invest in compression tights of some form to wear for a few days post race (some wear during the race, but I haven't tried it yet). Lactic Acid build up is a beeyotch.  See my post here for more info.

Well, there you have it, the lessons I learned training for/completing my first half marathon. My advice - remember to have fun; smile, enjoy every moment, and just breathe. Regardless what your brain says, "You CAN do this".

And, because it perfectly sums up the post race waddle, a video - you're welcome :)

If you have any questions, want an accountability partner, running buddy, or to pick my brain, ask away - I'm always here to help. 

Or, if you are a running pro and can help me run an 8 min mile without my lungs exploding and making me question my faith, call me ;)

What lessons have you learned from running? 

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