Now that more than a week has past since the Philadelphia Marathon (my first full marathon!), I’m looking back at race day through rose-colored glasses. Running a second marathon currently seems like a good idea!
My legs no longer feel sore. I managed an enjoyable two mile jog on the treadmill on Sunday, and I cycled a few miles on the stationary bike on Monday. I’ll be taking it slow – focusing on marathon recovery – for a few weeks.
But without another race on my schedule, my training moving forward is up in the air. I’m tempted to sign up for another race to give myself something to work towards. I like the structure of marathon training – training without a plan is usually a disaster for me. I skip out on workouts or cut them short. I need a goal race to motivate me.
Matt has his sights set on the 2017 New Jersey Marathon. The race is on Sunday, April 30th so training would start around New Year. I’m seriously thinking about running it with him, meaning one month between now and the next round of marathon training.
Though I met most of my goals for my first marathon, there are a few things I would do differently for marathon #2.
- More strength training – though I went into marathon training with a goal of incorporating strength workouts, these workouts fizzled out quickly once my weekly mileage started getting higher. I did continue to do a weekly core workout, but next time I’d try to do this routine twice a week instead of just once.
For the Philadelphia Marathon, I ran four days a week, cross trained once a week and had two rest days. I’m considering cutting back to three days of running (or counting strength training as cross training) in order to give myself enough time to strength train regularly. I really think some quality lower body workouts will help tremendously come race day.
- More focus on recovery – I bought a foam roller earlier in the year but to be completely honest, it’s just been gathering dust. Though I tapered leading up to the race, my legs didn’t feel great the day of the race. My quads felt tight before I started (we should have warmed up!) and they didn’t loosen up for the entire race. Maybe some foam rolling prior to the race would have helped that.
If not foam rolling, just more stretching throughout training may have helped. Though I always did at least 5 or 10 minutes of stretching after every run, it was usually halfhearted. More serious stretching or yoga throughout training may be beneficial next time.
- A shorter training program – this year I followed an 18 week marathon training program. But both Mum and I felt like we peaked a few weeks before the race. Is that normal? Our last few long runs felt really difficult and I wonder if we were a little burnt out or over-trained.
With only one training cycle under our belts, it’s hard to know what would work best for our bodies. But I’m tempted to try a shorter training program in hopes of peaking closer to race day.
- A faster corral – who knows if this really would have helped, but Mum and I were weaving around other runners throughout the race. That seems like a big waste of energy. Maybe that’s the nature of a big city race with a lot of runners – there are probably always people in your way! And I’m sure we got in other runners’ way at times too. But it would have been nicer to run with a group of people moving at our pace.
- Different fuel – Carb Boom! energy gel was provided at the Philadelphia Marathon. We tried it during our training and it didn’t upset our stomachs. So we just went with that. But I’m tempted to try different types of food as fuel. I don’t enjoy the gels so maybe trying “real food” would be better for me.
As a very inexperienced marathon runner, I’m sure there are more than five things that I could improve during marathon training and the race. But I’m going to start with these things and hope to improve my time for my next marathon…whenever that may be!
What improvements have you made to your marathon training and racing strategy?