Guest Post: How Not to Train for a Marathon

Good news, y'all.  I survived the solo toddler flight.  We have arrived in Arizona and are currently being pampered to the max by my loving parents and grandmother!  It's blazing hot, but we're enjoying lots of pool time and cool drinks.  Oh yes, there will be an amazing post for this week's Healthy Living Thirsty Thursday!  Anywho, I am so excited to introduce you to one of my favorite new blends (blogger + friend) Calee, whom I met at the Blend Retreat.  She is beautiful, energetic, spunky, passionate, fun-loving, and a graphic design and blogging rockstar!  She has written a couple of really poignant posts lately, which deserve a read if you haven't followed my recommendations thus far: 1) Stop Making Negative Body Judgements - about yourself AND others, 2)  Inhale, Exhale, Live, Love, Just Breathe, and 3) Why I'm Not a Mom at the Ripe Old Age of 27.  I mean, some seriously GOOD posts!!! And here's another one...

How Not to Train for a Marathon:

(or anything else for that matter).

Hi! I’m Calee (not Cay-lee), known by many as simply chimes, or the chimes. Kelly and I met at Blend in May and we’ve been hanging out together in blog-land quite frequently. I jumped at the opportunity to guest post because Kelly is just getting into running, and I’m a seasoned runner who’s been through many ups and downs. In fact, it’s kind of a theme of my blog, life + running.

One major up: Running my first marathon in 2008.
Major down: Being injured before, during, and after said marathon.

That being said, I present you with a list of things NOT to do while training for anything — whether it’s a marathon, a 5K, a lifting competition, or hell, an eating competition (because you know Kelly would approve of that, right … ?)  (Kelly here, maybe if it was a competition to see how much kale you could eat/drink in an hour!)

1.    Don’t decide to start your training 6 weeks before the event. 
I had an epic 15-mile run a few weeks before the Des Moines Marathon in 2008. So I figured, what the hell? What’s 11.2 more miles? Can’t be that hard.

Yeah. Don’t do that. Upping mileage, weight or general stress on your body that quickly will likely lead to injury. Pick a training program and an event that works with your training program’s schedule. Usually training programs are 9-12 weeks. I was hell-bent on running a marathon before I was 25, and this was my chance, and I took it, but have been paying the price for nearly 4 years with a recurring injury.

2.    Don’t think stretching is for amateurs — or don’t just plain forget to stretch.
Biggest mistake leading up to my injury? Sitting on my butt for 4-5 hours after my long Saturday runs (and after the marathon). I had a social life (notice I say *had *) and that required me to appear at our local watering hole only a few hours after my long runs. Sitting and drinking a beer or two wasn’t great recovery.

Find out what stretches to do to avoid common injuries in whatever sport/feat for which you are training. Learn them, and do them often.

3.    Don’t fuel your body with crap.
See aforementioned statement about sitting at a bar while marathon training. While certain things are fine in moderation, my training diet of eating whatever the hell I wanted because I had all these extra calories I was burning … not recommended. Though, Ben and Jerry highly profited from my marathon.

Your body needs fuel — likely protein and complex carbs. I recommend finding a nutrition plan if you’re attempting something extremely challenging on your body (lifting competition, half-marathon, marathon).

4.    Don’t forget to cross train.
I ran day in and day out. I didn’t do anything else. I only used my running muscles, and therefore, the supporting muscles needed for me to perform in all other daily tasks, not to mention the same muscles needed to support my running muscles, diminished, leading to my injury.

Cross train! The good news is that cross training will likely be written into most training programs.

5.    Don’t forget to listen to your body!
Your body will tell you if you’re putting too much stress on it. I took ice baths, popped ibuprofen, went through bottles of biofreeze and ignored the fact that my leg barely functioned, even as I struggled to complete 14-minute miles towards the end of my marathon while even the slowest of walkers passed me by.

That being said, know the difference between a stitch in your side or a blister on your toe and a real injury. If it hurts the second you start doing whatever activity you are training to do, and only gets worse as you do it then you probably have an injury (or a really annoying blister).

Have you trained for anything before? Do you run? Have you had a sports injury?