Five Things I Did Differently for Marathons #15 & #16

donna10k.pngAbout a month ago, I wrote this post about the “excuses” I made while training for my first postpartum marathon, Celebration. Not only did I complete that race strong, but I achieved my A+ goal when I ran a 3:40 (a 3-minute PR), which I am still so happy and proud about, but I had to keep the momentum going for another 26.2 (plus 10K + 5K) just two weeks later.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons in the years since I first laced up my running shoes, but I have to say, it was not until this training cycle that a few clear themes presented themselves, so I thought I’d share! So, here’s what I did…

  1. Took the Pressure Off 
    • Not to be confused with “taking it easy” or “not having a goal,” for me, “taking the pressure off” meant affirming to myself that I COULD reach the goal I set for myself, but that goal did not DEFINE me. Race morning(s), I reminded myself of the training I had completed, and the potential I KNEW I had within – forget disappointing others, or feeling “not good enough” – those kinds of thoughts are just a waste of time.
  2. Focused on My Core
    • I’ll admit it, in previous marathon training cycles, I slacked on the “strength training” components. I’d do a few planks here and there, or attend some yoga classes, and call it a day. I mean..I was running 40-50 miles a week back then, wasn’t that enough? Well…maybe not. This time, I averaged closer to half that mileage (20-30 miles a week) but took advantage of my Beachbody on Demand subscription and worked out 5-6 days a week, and balanced out the workouts. My favorites were 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, and Core De Force – and before I knew it, I felt the improvement in my running. My posture was better, and not only did that help my training runs, but I truly believe that stronger feeling within is what got me past those harder marathon miles.
  3. Balanced Preparation with Adaptation
    • From the training (switching days around, choosing sleep over easy workouts when I felt too wiped out), to race days, I kept my mind and plans flexible. One example? As it turned out, I ended up not running a single run in the rain during my training, but race day was an all-morning downpour. What to do? Well, roll with the punches! I wore plastic bags on my feet, a garbage bag, and a smile on my face. Stressing would not have helped me at all!
  4. Went Minimal on Race Day
    • In my 16 marathons, I’ve gone back and forth on what I carry…phone? iPod? Fuel? Race belt? I’ve done it all…and for me, I’ve found the best has been the least. For Celebration, I carried a small bag of Glukos tabs and my iPod shuffle, and for DONNA, I went totally ‘naked’ – the only thing other than my clothes I had was my GARMIN. Having less to worry about, was just that…less to worry about!
  5. Fueled Smart
    • In race prep and race day, I tried all sorts of things to see what worked best for my body. Some of the observations were healthy ones (I made a habit of drinking Shakeology daily – perfect for my busy days where I could inadvertently neglect certain food groups) and some not so much (my perfect pre-race fuel is still a donut!). I watch my portions (which has been made so much easier with 21 Day Fix containers) but also don’t deprive myself of cravings – because let’s be real, my sweet tooth ain’t going anywhere!

Now that my two big races are behind me, I have a smattering of fun runs and events before the short Florida racing season is over. I plan to take each one as its own challenge, and truly enjoy every mile. Running is an ever-evolving element in my life, and as I advance through more “stages” of our special relationship, I am thankful for it all.

What lessons have you learned in training and race preparation?


  1. It’s always so fun to look back and reflect on what went RIGHT when training for a race! We can always find something that went wrong so easily it seems. You rocked training with a baby and I’m seriously impressed with the PR!

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