On June 23rd, I laced up my running shoes and completed the first 6 miles of my 16 week, 510 week journey. Training for the fall marathon season was before me and I couldn’t be more excited. On October 12th I would be heading to Chicago, the windy city to complete my second marathon. I learned a lot during my journey to my second marathon and I wanted to debunk and verify a few different myths that go along with training for a distance race.
Myth: Training with a group makes you faster
True! I began running with Nike+ NYC in January of this year. Since then, I have cut five minutes off my best half marathon time and an astounding 25 minutes off my best marathon. Being part of a group not only helps your achieve your personal records, it also gives you motivation you cannot always find within yourself. One of my favorite runs this summer was a destination run out to the Rockaways, complete with a beach party and plenty of seafood to refuel. Most metropolitan areas have an abundance of running groups. It’s a great way to meet likeminded people, and have the miles fly by with ease.
Myth: Sticking to your entire training plan is the key to success
False! Listening to your body is the true key to success. Don’t get hung up on the mileage set in the plan. Use it as more of a guideline than bible. If you’re feeling particularly tired one day, sleep in and give yourself some rest. Adding junk miles during the week can leave you tired before your weekly long run. Training for a distance race will take a toll on your body and depriving yourself of rest can hurt more than help. If something twinges or feels injured, take a rest day. Your body will thank you the next time you get out and about on fresh legs.
Myth: If you are still in a relationship after training, you weren’t training hard enough
False! People gather that since marathon training is so intense and at times selfish, it deteriorates your relationships. Because of the rigor of training, it is an important time to have supportive friends and family. You will find yourself passing on Friday night happy hour is favor of more rest before your long run. Make sure to set aside some time for your family and friends to say thank you and how much you appreciate their support. All are welcome at a post-run brunch!
Myth: Never wear anything new on race day
True! It may be alluring to buy a new outfit to debut on race day, but resist! You never know what is going to chafe, run, and cause blisters until you’re 10+ miles in. If you want to treat yourself before a big race make sure to do at least one long run in your new gear to test it out on the streets. There is nothing worse than chaffing at mile 20!
Myth: Be prepared to lose your toe nails
True/False! Through training for 10 half marathons and two fulls I have lost a total of zero toenails. Others aren’t so lucky. Much of this has to do with the way you hit the pavement and the types of shoes you wear. About halfway through your training you will have a sense of whether or not this will happen. If you think the culprit may be your shoes over your stride try doing a run analysis at a local running store. My go-to is the Nike+ Run Analysis which paired my perfectly with the LunarGlide 6.
Keep these myths in mind while preparing for your next distance race. Most of us are out there running for fun and fitness so don’t lose sight of that. Make sure to trust in your training. Kara Goucher said best “Racing is the fun part, it’s the reward for all the hard work.” You put in the work, now take the streets and celebrate.