As of this Saturday afternoon, I will have run 415 miles from January 13th through April 24th, which is roughly 100 miles per month. I know of some people who run 100 miles per week, which is crazy. I averaged about 27-30 miles per week, and that was perfect for me. I felt strong on all of my long runs (2 16 milers, 2 18 milers, 1 22 miler) and I tried to really make my shorter runs during the week count - I tried to incorporate speed work and hill work. Overall, I feel prepared. This week I have been trying to rest well, eat well, and think well! My mind is going crazy - but I keep telling myself 3 things:
- This is not a big deal. Millions of people run marathons each weekend. Just go out and run with them.
- You trained for this for 4 months - you are ready! All the miles and all the hours have brought you to this point.
- This is going to be FUN! I will get to meet new people, explore a new city, and hopefully set a new marathon PR. Many people would love to have this opportunity - have fun and keep things in perspective.
Back to training, one thing that has greatly improved my training this spring has been my diet. I have really, really tried to be much more careful about what I eat. After listening to several Zen and the Art of Triathlon podcasts where Brett spoke about how much his raw diet was affecting his energy levels, I decided to dip my toes in the water. Now I don't think I can or would ever go to a full raw (or even vegan) diet, but being more mindful of what I am eating has made a huge difference! I have tried to incorporate way more fruits, veggies, and nuts into my diet. I always try to keep dried fruits and nuts, raw almonds, apples, and Larabars on hand in my desk drawer for a quick and easy snack.
I've also been keeping a comprehensive food log since March 15th. I've found that its best if I eat breakfast around 7:00am, have a snack at 10:00am, have lunch at 12:30pm, another snack at 3:00pm, and then dinner around 6:30pm. I've also found from my food log that my definite weakness and craving is SUGAR. When it comes to candy, cookies, cake, ice cream, etc - count me in. I think these things are OK in moderation and I am usually satisfied with one serving, but having the fresh fruit and Larabars on hand really help to curb my sweet tooth. I also like having something sweet after dinner, so I've been curbing my dessert craving with greek yogurt, low-fat Pop Tarts (still not the best, I know) or Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal. This has made a huge difference in my energy levels! One more thing - I try to drink a "green smoothie" with fruits and veggies at least 4 times a week. I usually blend up spinach, baby carrots and 8 oz. 1% milk (or Odwalla Superfood) with two fruits - like apples, strawberries, pears or bananas. I sip on this for a couple of hours each morning for sustained, all-natural energy!
I still have a long way to go with my eating, but I think I am on the right track! I have noticed an incredible difference in how I feel before, during and after a run. I used to crave double cheeseburgers after a long run, but now all I want is an apple and some chocolate milk. I also used to crave Taco Bell, McDonald's, Wendy's etc. all the time, but now I don't even really think about it. I guess my marathon time will show if the proof is in the pudding with my nutrition changes....non-fat pudding that is!
The third thing that has been super motivating during my training has been being a part of Team LIVESTRONG. Thank you all for helping me reach my fund-raising goal to secure my spot on the team. Running for something that is so much greater than myself has been awesome, and I am thankful for the opportunity.
Next post...meet the people who are going to help get me across the finish line! Stay tuned.