0 to Marathon

My journey of completing my first marathon has been a struggle. I encountered an injury that delayed my training. I've tried many ways of disciplining myself to help with focusing on my training. Training Apps to people I've met or online information I've come across.

Before the end of this year, I plan to complete my first solo trail half-marathon, rain or shine. I will complete a solo marathon next year on a trail race. I have come across like-minded humans that have shared their tips on completion of a successful race. The importance of recovery is just as or even more important than training. Here are some tips that have worked for me on my race training journey.

Race Training Tips

Rest: Do your best to let your body rest or fatigue may derail your training. Fatigue can cause injury/stress on your body. Listen to your body. If you are fatigued you can become injured and this will delay your training.

Recovery: This varies with the activity that you train for. If I plan to run 6-9 miles, I make sure to get a nice warm up. This can vary from 10-30 minutes. This can include yoga before (15 min.) and yoga after my run (30 min). If time does not allow this, I will be sure to warm up my core, glutes and legs (5-10 min). When using a foam roller/ manual massager or a massage gun. I've noticed my recovery time is less. The soreness/stiffness during the day or following day is less.

Cross-training: Building muscle will help train your body by working different muscles. This will help you adapt to your needs on race day. On a trail run, you're consistently adapting to your route. Whether it be the weather to trail conditions (mud, rocks, incline etc. Warm up and down are essential - do not skip this step. Flexibility tremendously helps for running. I incorporate Yoga & Pilates, before/after a run and core work, on my off run days as well.

Shoes/socks: You must be comfortable in your shoes and socks. I find that merino wool blend socks work best to keeping my feet dry and temperature regulated. Run specific socks shift around less during a run. Even though you might want a hiking specific sock for trail, choose a running sock (mid-length). I prefer zero drop shoes. Zero drop shoes can offer natural runs/hikes and can help strengthen your feet.

Hydration: I find that I need less water intake on short runs because I prep the day before. I try to drink 2- 3 liters the day before short/long runs. There is lots of information online regarding hydration. Trial and error is your best bet to finding your hydration needs. You will have to try what works best with your body. Same goes for snacks. Hydration is even more important the day before a long run. When I run 6+ miles, I take a hydration pack which can be 1.5- 2.5 liters with no additives. I only use hydration additives that are as natural as possible in a 20 oz. collapsible bottle, apart from the bladder.

Snacks: A variety of snacks will help your taste buds stay interested. I try to choose snacks that are natural and organic to absorb as many good nutrients during runs. You can try making your own energy bar by checking out online recipes.

Tip: Make sure your snacks are not upsetting your stomach or making your runs uneasy.

Gear (pack/bag): I use as little gear as possible. During a longer run (7+ miles), I carry more weight (no more than 5 lbs). This includes more water and snacks as well as a trekking pole for harder to navigate routes.

Tip: During short runs, I take a small bag with the following; a snack, tp, keys/essentials and my hydration bottle. Try not to wear too much clothing. You will want to be as comfortable as possible and not carry the extra weight during a run.

Clothing: Layering is your best friend. I like to use a base layer that is light to mid weight depending on the weather. My layering consists of a base layer (short/long sleeve), t-shirt and long sleeve shirt, long leggings. During winter/colder months I include a merino wool neck gaiter. My summer attire is a light base layer with a t-shirt and leggings. Morning runs fuel me more throughout the day. Make sure to wear a hat for shade and any sudden rain in the winter months. During winter months take a packable breathable rain jacket/ shell, in case the need arises on longer runs. *You may need to invest in a rain jacket, for any unexpected race conditions. If you are working up to a race make sure you purchase a rain jacket if rain's expected.

Tip: Make sure you have important information in case of emergency. Ranger info and let someone know you’re on a run and where. Map out your run/hike. You have to plan. On hot days avoid the heat by going earlier. Check weather for the best time. Rain or shine but if the weather is severe, train inside.

Long run essentials (6 miles – half marathon)

  • 1-3 snacks (trail mix, protein bar & energy gummies)
  • Hydration pack (1-3 liters) salt tabs on hot/ long runs
  • Trekking pole (single or double)
  • Hat (cap or preferred head gear)
  • Phone (power bank if very long run) make sure you turn off unnecessary apps.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Whistle or personal emergency siren etc.
  • TP & light weight poop shovel (you never know)
  • Moisture wicking neck gaiter
  • Purse essentials (keys, ID etc.)

Short run essentials (5 – 7 miles)

  • A snack (maybe energy gummies)
  • 20 oz. collapsible bottle with hydration additive
  • TP & light weight poop shovel
  • Phone (don't forget to save park emergency numbers)
  • Purse essentials (keys, ID etc.)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Whistle or personal emergency siren
  • Hat (cap)
  • Moisture wicking neck gaiter

More Helpful Information

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