I turned 30 and completed the Austin Marathon – my first, and potentially last, marathon. Getting to 26.2 was a months long experience full of hundreds of miles and hours of training all culminating in one morning of putting it all to the test.
It was an incredible experience full of tears, smiles, amazing people and of course for me, knee pain. Here are the details on everything I did wrong during training and after the race so hopefully at least one person out there doesn’t make the same mistakes.
How not to fuck it up: Where I went wrong:
- For the love of all that is good, CROSS-TRAIN. I know. I know. This is a no-brainer and I knew from the Dallas Half Marathon in 2016 how important it is and how much it helped. But I hated cross training this go around. I loved to just run and decided 1, MAYBE 2, days of XT each week was enough.
Big surprise: it wasn’t. The last 2 months of training my right knee was constantly touch and go and then my hip joined the party a week before the race. Nights were spent with an ice pack and Ace bandage wrapped around it and I had to forego a few too many days of training. You know what would have helped avoid this? Cross training more often from the beginning. Live and learn.
- Train with a partner if possible. I did the whole thing solo. My husband made killer meals for me so I didn’t wither away and my dad and sweet friend, both marathoners themselves, were amazing – almost daily – emotional support. I could not have done it without them. But what would have helped make those early mornings and long weekend runs easier would have been a true blue accountability partner. Podcasts filled that void on long runs for me but if I did it again, would definitely look into local running groups.
- If you want to continue running long after your first marathon, don’t take too much time off. With the exception of a 2 mile run here and there in the weeks after, I essentially stopped running for nearly 5 months (gasp!). And y’all, I’m back at square one. It’s like the marathon never happened for me.
- Don’t forget why you started. Never stop enjoying it. If you find you’re getting to a point where it’s just not fun, take a break or lower your mileage.
At the end of the day, this was one of the best life experiences (check out that “it’s over!” smile) that proved to me I can do anything I set my mind too. And you can too.