Building upon Get Ready to Run Part 1, you've now signed up and begun training. Whether you are in it full tilt or just getting your feet wet, this is a great time to start dialing everything in: you have about three months to go! Here are some tips to get you motivated or maybe help you stay on track.
How is the running going? By now you should be well into your training plan whether that is making your way through a four to five month marathon or half marathon training plan or finalizing a plan but building base miles.The weather is nicer and starting to get warm and if you have not already this is the time to be building upon your base fitness. You have three months of weekends left to go and that means the long run! One of the key foundations for any marathon plan is the long run. Depending on your experience that might put you at 5-6 miles or maybe 13 at this time of the year. The safest way to see gains and not get injured is to slowly increase those weekly long runs, maybe tack on an extra 10 minutes a week or increase by one or two miles. You want to be hitting your longest runs two weeks out from the race on June 7.
Is your training motivation waning a bit after the excitement of signing up in January? One of the best things you can do is to join a running group. Call your local running store and see if they have any organized runs. Often these are designed to accommodate many different levels of runners. Trust me: do not be intimidated. This may be the push you need and I bet you’ll make some new friends in the process. If you live in Steamboat or are visiting, check out Twisted Trails Running Company's marathon training runs on Saturdays and Steamboat Mountain Runners Wednesday night trails runs that will start later in the spring. If you can’t find any group runs then make your own group, even if it's just two of you. Nothing motivates us to get out the door more than meeting a friend and this is often a great time to chat about life and catch up. The power of running friends should never be underestimated, and besides, who better to understand your crazy running obsession!
3. Race Day Food
This is the time to start dialing in your diet and trying your race day fuel. The Steamboat Marathon has wonderful local Honey Stinger products on course, so I would suggest trying them out beforehand and seeing what works best for you. At any race with aid stations it’s wise to find out what types of energy foods will be offered and try them out. If something does not work for you then make sure to have your own gels, chews, bars, or hydration drink mix. Every energy product uses a different mixture of sugars and not all will work for you and your tummy. Your training runs are the time to start experimenting, not on race day. What will you eat the morning of the race? Have this dialed in by experimenting on the mornings of your training runs now. Look for the next blog post to be all about food!
Have you come up with a plan for hydration? Will you carry a handheld water bottle or run with a hydration pack? If you plan to carry nothing and rely on the aid stations alone than I would suggest studying the course and aid station layout, these are all things that can make or break your race. The Steamboat Marathon is a higher elevation race so hydration will be important.
5. Course Specific Prep
The Steamboat Marathon has some hills for a road marathon so I would suggest mimicking some of what you will find on course during your training runs. Do not let the course profile fool you, this is not a downhill only marathon. There are hills in the beginning and towards the end with rolling flat in between. Prep your legs with some pounding down-hills and follow them up with some climbing work if you are running the full marathon. If you are running the half, I would suggest tailoring your training to rolling terrain followed by hill work as well. Being able to handle and respond to the rolling hills that come late in the race will reward you well! This is one of the most beautiful road marathons you will run and you want to be able to enjoy the scenery!
Ok runners, happy training! Look for some sports nutrition tips in my next post.