In retrospect, there were a lot of thing that I did right with my first marathon and my training. I was able to follow the training plan pretty much to the letter. This was no small feat. It required a lot of running in the early hours (5 AM!) before work or early Sunday mornings. It required forcing myself to run when I didn’t really want to. It required forcing myself to run some hard speedwork (once to the point where I felt that I was going to throw up). Another thing that I did right, I made a race plan and I followed it.
What could I have done better? Well, in retrospect I probably should have waited another year and built up a slightly better mileage base. Cardio-wise I felt fine, and I never felt like I hit the wall. But I think my body parts started failing me. I think that could have been avoided with a little more mileage in my legs and also supplementing with more flexibility and strength work during the marathon training. Since I was running 5-6 days a week I let the cross-training fall by the wayside.
I am still trying to get the heel issues under control. I don’t think I would have done anything differently with dealing with the injury and there was no way I was going to stop running or not run the marathon. Yeah, typical runner! I may have to pay for that in the coming months as I rest and rehab to build a stronger base before I begin my next training cycle.
What is on my plate going forward? Well, I have this crazy goal to run a sub 2 hour half marathon! My current half marathon PR is 2:04:56. This was at the Madison Mini in August, it is a fairly hilly course and it was humid. With the right conditions I think I can be fairly close. So that is my big goal for 2015. I would also like to eventually run a sub 25 minute 5K.
Will I run another marathon? I think so. Maybe not for a couple more years. It will definitely be a smaller race than the Chicago Marathon! Edit: I ran my second marathon the following fall, the Grand Rapids Marathon. Signed up for the next one already! 🙂
I highly encourage everyone to train for and run a full marathon. Or at least make it a goal to someday run one. There is nothing compared to the feeling that you will have when you finish it. You feel that anything is possible! That feeling is truly priceless.