Running has been a part of my life for years. Growing up, I watched my Mom compete in 10K races and while in college, I made running a regular part of my exercise routine. I have completed 11 half marathons and ran my first marathon in October 2012. I chose the Marine Corp Marathon, after hearing many reviews about a great course with excellent support from the Marines.
A few tips that I followed during my training to help keep it manageable and enjoyable:
- Have a support system. Mine consisted of 2 friends that were also training for their first marathon and my family. My training partners understood what each other was going through and knowing that you have running buddies waiting on you to run at 5:30AM is a huge help! My family was supportive of early morning runs, long training runs, and much needed afternoon naps.
- Have a plan. Find a training schedule online, talk to a running coach, and stick to your plan. Put it in your calendar, print it out for a visual reminder, and track your miles for motivation. I followed Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 and I use dailymile.com a free website to track my mileage.
- Know that nutrition is an equally important part of training. I found that smaller and more frequent meals worked best to keep me properly fueled. After long runs, I would find that while hungry, the idea of eating a large meal was not appealing, but I knew I needed calories, carbs, and protein. Low-fat chocolate milk was often my go-to after long runs, providing the nutrients that I had depleted. It tastes great, and I felt good knowing that it provided my body what it needed, leaving me satisfied until I was ready to eat a more substantial meal.
After training for nearly five months, running more than 500 miles, I finished my first marathon in the time of 5:04. I love that my daughters ask me if I won the race and are just as excited about the shiny medal, even if it didn’t come with a first-place finish. It makes me proud to show them how to have a healthy lifestyle, just like my Mom showed me.
Guest blog by Susan Z. Davis.
Susan Davis is a marketing professional living in Greensboro, NC. Her experience includes marketing, project management, and public relations for a variety of clients including those in healthcare, higher education, retail, and the publishing industry. She is married with twin daughters, enjoys writing, running, and writing about running on her blog. To read more about her training experience, please visit www.loveandlabs.wordpress.com.