It has been just over 1.5 months since I decided to take the plunge and begin marathon training for my first ever full marathon. To do a full marathon has been on my bucket list since I began running only 2 years ago, but I actually assumed it would be 4 or 5 years down the road, even after completing a few half marathons and the “Around the Bay” 30K road race just this past March in Hamilton, ON. The reason being? Running has become a lifestyle in that I have followed the same routine of running to stay fit 5 days a week, 10K at a time. I have never decreased or increased my mileage — even on the days leading up to my big races! Last year, I saw pictures of the Niagara Falls International Marathon and vowed to do the half marathon. Then I got thinking about it. I love the feeling of crossing the finish line…the rush, the excitement, the sense of accomplishment. There’s no time like the present right? And so began my marathon training. This is my third blog pertaining to my marathon training for the Niagara Falls International Marathon. Here are my first two:
Niagara Falls International Marathon: My Journey to take on 42.4 Kilometres
Niagara Falls Running: 14.5 weeks to go until the big day!
As you may have already read on my previous blogs, I loosely follow marathon training guides. I will say this though — when I ran the “Around the Bay” 30K road race I felt like walking by the 26K mark. When I crossed the finish line my legs cramped right up and I needed help to get up off the ground. It was then that I discovered the importance of staying hydrated to avoid muscle cramping. When you run any kind of great distance it is inevitable that you will be sore, but in long runs you need fluid (whether it be from water or sports energy drinks) to keep in optimal performance. The warning signs of dehydration include muscle soreness, feeling faint or light-headed with standing, rapid heart rate, sunken eyes, dry mouth, feeling very thirsty or a dull headache. Here is a tip that really helped me, that I will share with you in determining how much water you roughly will need to consume during your marathon training:
*Estimate your sweat rate by weighing yourself nude first and then run for 1 hour at your expected race pace. Do not drink during this run, so keep it within 10K or so. At the end of the run, strip down, towel yourself off and reweigh yourself nude. The difference in your weight in ounces is your estimated sweat rate. No more than that amount of water that you lost should be replaced within each hour of your race.* For me, this advice has helped a lot. I am fueled adequately, while not over-fueling either. There is nothing worse than water sloshing around in your stomach during a run.
Since my previous post a couple of weeks ago, I have added a few more tweaks to my marathon training. Firstly, while not completely adjusting my diet as I already eat fairly clean, I added chia seeds into almost everything that I cook. The chia seed is a high quality protein source, and if you are a vegan or eat primarily a diet composed of fruits and vegetables (like myself) they are an excellent addition to your diet. It contains soluable and insoluable fiber, which aids in digestion. It is also highly rich in antioxidants and is one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids. It has been labelled a “superfood” for many reasons, and click here for an article via Huffington Post that breaks down 10 benefits of chia seeds. I get my seeds from the Bulk Barn. 2 scoops cost me $16, but it’s a small price to pay for the benefits of the wonder seed.
I do not use the fact that I have a wild and crazy 2 year-old at home get in the way of my marathon training. Sure you have to make sacrifices such as perhaps shorter runs than you anticipated or more cross-training days than running days that you can do from home, but I do what I can, when I can do it. For me, I have been doing 10K-12K runs 4 days a week in the evening when my husbands gets home from work. I set aside approximately 1 hour to get this done — with most runs averaging between 45-55 minutes long. Sunday mornings at 7:30 am when everyone is still asleep, is when I do my long run of the week. One day of the week I do weight training. I don’t have a gym membership, I simply use free weights at home for approximately 45 minutes.
Again, this is what works for me. The Running Room has an excellent customized training program for every distance you are training for, if you wish to follow a set training guide and can stick to it. I just found that between my work schedule, my husband’s work schedule and juggling a very active toddler, I became my own personal trainer.
I leave this blog with a little inspirational video that was sent to me from a friend that I loved. I hope for anyone thinking of registering for the Niagara Falls International Marathon or any race for that matter — 5K to an Ironman, that it helps put a little mojo in your step too.
If you have enjoyed this blog or feel that it may help to encourage someone to give running a go, share this blog!
Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing my marathon training experiences with you.
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