10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Marathon

  

1. Have an 8 mile base before you start.

Arguably, you should have trained for a half marathon by this point. Marathons happen to be something that you can’t just jump into without some type of prior training or running experience. The thing about a marathon and it’s training is that it’s completely unpredictable. You could have an awesome training, and then a shitty race. Or your training could be one of the hardest things that you’ve ever done in your life, and you just stop. It takes a lot to run a marathon. 

Having that comfortable 8 miles as a base is great because you’re almost halfway done with your distance right there. Plus, that the distance of your first long run!

2. You need a fuel belt or hydration pack. 

Running any distance carrying a water bottle can suck. Problems arise, like the extra weight hurting your arms or maybe being a jerk-bag litter-er.

You can look on Amazon, at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, any running store, or even Dick’s Sporting Goods. There’s all types of varieties. The main difference is usually bottle size. For me, I have a hydration Pack that holds normal size water bottles. For some people, that’s too heavy. There’s a lot of options in size. It just comes down to how much weight you’re comfortable carrying, and how much water you believe that you need.


3. Invest in Gu or Jelly Beans
 

Believe me, on a long run you will feel fatigued and tired. Those little jellybeans or nasty gu can give you the energy to push you through to the very end. Sometimes, water and a pre-run meal don’t finish the job!

The cool part about these electrolyte carrying goodies, is that a lot of them come in sizes that you can carry in your field. It doesn’t really add any extra weight. And, so that actually do taste good. I choose the jellybeans for that option. However, salted caramelGu, is, from what I’ve been told, the Mecca of runner run foods. 


4. It costs more than an entry fee, but the pay off is worth it. 

Shoes, clothing, the sudden increase in pasta, Olive Garden, pizza, essentially all items that require food prices going up, having to take time off from work for recovery days, and, last but not least, all of the stuff that you didn’t realize you needed that you find at the expo add up.   Running is an expensive ass hobby. Much like dietary changes, it is a lifestyle change in itself. Something that you definitely have to budget for. I would say the most important thing you don’t budget for is how much you von love with running. That “you-time” is priceless.

5. You may need multiple pairs of shoes.

 As I said before, you definitely have to keep shoes and mine. It’s not good to just train in one pair. Having a variety will also help your knees get used to different feelings of shoes. They say you’re never supposed to run a race and new shoes, but by trading off shoes, that happened to not be of the same type, you’re really helping yourself become a stronger runner and saving mileage.

6. You NEED to follow a training plan.

Experienced runners, or people that I’ve had training in running may not need this. But, having a training plan requires accountability, and helps you set goals for yourself. Knowing that you’re going to have a 10 mile run at the end of the week definitely helps you reconsider a couple of choices. Maybe you won’t stay up late binging on Netflix, or you think those hot wings might be a bad choice before 20 mile run. Knowing what you have coming and seeing what types of runs that you can do for yourself helps the marathon become easier. Not too many people can just go out and run a marathon. 

I’m only a month removed from mine, but in that month I rested, was sick, and have just started getting quick again. It takes time, and I probably could run a marathon right now. It just wouldn’t be at the time I wanted it to be. Your body needs to get used to what you’re putting it through, and training plans are safe route to do it.
 
7. You need to ignore the scale.

You’re going to gain some weight marathon training. I have been lucky in the fact that in the weight I’ve gained, it’s really bad muscle mass. So I’ve actually been looking like I’ve lost weight. However some people pack on the pounds.  Don’t worry- your body needs that fuel. That energy is not fat. It is something that your body will feed off of. And you’ll find that once your marathon training is over, and you’re resting it’ll fall right off because your body is just so fatigued. The scale is not your best friend. Your goal time is. 

8. You’ll develop a race ritual.

This may sound weird, but many runners already have one. It’s something that you don’t really notice until you think about. I have to fit in active waffles with butter and syrup, I sit with my dog and share them with him, and then I go drive myself to a race, parka ballpark Village, and then jog to soldiers memorial and go to the starting line. That, so far, has been my pre-race ritual for my two marathons.

my dog being judgemental before a long run

My long run ritual, includes the same shirt and shorts, waffles, and, most likely, Forest Park.  You’ll find what helps you groove. Whether it’s music playlist, a favorite pair of socks, or just an area where you feel at home. It all becomes a part of the ritual.

9. Carb load 2 days before a long run.  

Don’t ask, just do it. It kind of goes along with the whole “don’t listen to your scale” thing.  Before it 18 or 22 mile run, you’re going to eat about 4000 cal the day before, and even the day before then don’t be afraid to eat some carbs. Your body needs it. It is your only excuse to ever just pack on the food.

10. Post Marathon resting is just as important as cross training and resting.

Me and the rest day don’t get along. I run at least 3 miles a day. Currently I’ve been on the 3 to 6 mile street for the last week and a half. This coming week I’m pre-training for my next marathon so I can begin to get the fee of what I’m in for. 

 
However,  after winter where I  was essentially side mind for a month and a half, I have learned to take pure pleasure in a rest day. I may only run a mile, but I’m still doing something. However, I run a lot so my body reacts differently. For new runners,  this day is one of the most important because it allows your muscles to grow. 

Embrace the rest day. It is your friend, just like running.

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The Supplement/Wrap/Diet Free Way To Lose Over 100 Pounds: Starter Edition

   My name is Sam. I’m 22 (pushing 23) and over the past year and a half I have lost a considerable amount of weight. 

In August of 2013, I was over 275 pounds. I was interning at the little place in Orlando called Walt Disney World.  That was where I began my journey. However, I’ll give you some  background information in myself so you can see how exactly I got to that point in my life.

   
Here I am at the end of my freshman year.

  

Here I am sophomore year

 

Finally, me on my 21st birthday when I first got to Disney World.
Within my first three years of school, I both literally and metaphorically did a lot of growing. For me, Disney was a roller coaster but, in all of my years of college, I had never learned about what I really wanted to do with myself. I was comfortable. Comfort brought on settling and I dug myself into a whole where I felt settled rather than happy. I was having a rough time adapting to being so far away from home, so, during a phone conversation after a visit home my mom said that I needed to fill my excess time up by doing something for me. In here mind that was going for a walk.
My mom is a marathoner.

She a bad B

My walk was her half marathon at the time because I was so out of shape. I was drinking, smoking, and eating in an attempt to fill a void in my life. I don’t know about many of you, but free time is my downfall because I get bored. Boredom leads to me getting bummed out from over-thinking, which then is closely followed by a bad mood. It’s a viscous circle. After years of her telling me to get healthy, I finally agreed. 

I got my ass on an elliptical and started my journey.

  
It took me 1 month to move from elliptical, to treadmill, followed by running 2-3 miles outside. From October, when I started, to December I went from being unable to jog 1 mile to consistently running 6 (at a 12-13 minute pace).

So, when beginning your journey there are some things to keep in mind.

1. Don’t starve yourself because you aren’t dieting. 

Eating right for a healthier you is a lifestyle change. Not something you’re going to give up once your body is how you want it to be.

Food is your friend. 

Think of your body as a vehicle. Your car is going to weigh lighter without gas, but it doesn’t have anything in the tank to get you anywhere.

Indulge when you feel like it, and enjoy your food.

2.Progress takes time, and is a roller coaster. 

It is SO easy to get discouraged.  One of the main roles that I follow is that I don’t live by my scale. A scale just tells you how much mass you have on this earth. It does not tell you that you can run a half marathon. Those numbers are merely there to help you realize where you are. A scale is not you as a person. 

People call themselves that all the time. Here’s the thing, you aren’t fat. You have fat. If you so choose to work out, you can do something about that. Or, for some people they may choose to have more fat on her body. Who are we to judge others for their own life decisions. When it comes down to it, no two bodies are the same. Men and women are two very different entities. And when you look at each sex, you’ll find that there’s variation between everyone uses those identities. 

There’s an adjustment period, or moment of realization where you realize that you aren’t happy. But does it mean that somebody else your size is wrong and being happy. Everyone has their own individual goals to strive for. I like to think of weight is running a marathon.

You put ours, hundreds of miles, and blood sweat and tears into training. You train for one day. You have no idea what could happen. There could be an unexpected injury, a bad storm, or could be the most perfect conditions and you just don’t feel right. Just because you don’t feel good or you’re upset doesn’t mean that you can’t change it.strive to be the best version of you. It takes time, but you’ll get there.

3. Be mindful of what you eat.

Grilled chicken, salmon, good cards, pasta (when measured accurately), fruits are all awesome. If God didn’t make it, avoid it. 

I could never, ever, fathom giving up my believed diet coke, but I monitored my intake. I never once starved myself in the beginning because it’s hard for your body to shift its habits. 

You will be gassy, having to go to the bathroom because your tummy is upset, even go through being bloated but that is apart of the process. Just like you, your body will need a reset and time to adjust all of the changes you’re going through.

 
Even where I’m at now, I’m unhappy- or unsatisfied. A couple months ago I was more than this. Health problems caused me to gain weight. I’m doing everything that I possibly can to fix that. It’s a lot of effort at first, counting calories, being sore, finding motivation, and most importantly getting enough sleep. Once you get into the habit of it though, it just becomes natural. 

If you have any questions, or just want to know what else I’ve done when starting out, please feel free to post in the comments section. I’m glad to make any edits or updates. In the future, I’m planning on making a post about maintaining weight loss, how to make healthy food good, and what to do when you get sidetracked! 

For some additional information, check out my piece How Running Changed Me on Runners World!

10 Things Running Taught Me


  1. Appreciate the small things.

Out of all my early morning summer runs, my favorites were always the long trail runs in the dark. Yes, I may have thought there was a murderer and/or ghost following me, but 90% of the time it was a mama opossum and her nursing young hissing at me. 

You feel vulnerable in a sense, and you have to build trust with your surroundings. When the daylight finally begins, everything looks so different. The trust begins to diminish and suddenly you’re just at peace with what is around you. That’s appreciating the little things. 1 thing changes and a whole world opens up. 
2. Wind is either your best friend or eternal enemy.

Headwind is an asshole. I’ll say it. I’ll say it A THOUSAND TIMES OVER! However, on a long hot run, that slight breeze can make you feel as though you’re unstoppable and that the world is at your fingertips. 

I will always appreciate the wind, however, when the wind causes a PR to collapse there is usually some bitterness.

3. Running in the rain isn’t always therapy, fun, and a shower.

Actually, some days it soaks your iPhone, the wind picks up, and you get trapped under a tiny cement bridge with a homeless man during a monsoon. 

(Not speaking from personal experience or anything)

Much like the marathon, rain can be hit or miss. At times it is refreshing, especially whenever it’s hot outside and it feels as though the humidity is even high at 4 o’clock in the morning when it’s pitch black. Rain, much like wind, as both a burden and a blessing.

4. Dialectal running can make a 4 hour run feel like a minute.

You can feel the sweat drip down your face, feel the cool breeze brush against your skin as you control your breathing one step at a time. Feeling these sensations can allow you to feel comfortable, at home even. As your feet carry you further with each step, the adrenaline builds and your body may begin to feel fatigued.. But you pursue your goal.

That is appreciating the small things. Having all of those sensations and embracing each one individually helps you practice mindfulness while also better connecting yourself to your body and your surroundings. Those feelings, and paying close attention to how they make you feel can cause you to get lost in yourself and the moment. Sometimes, that’s all you need to clear your mind and build your body. 

5. Running buddies often turn into great friends.

Simple as that. I can honestly say that running his brought my mom and I so much closer. Even if she is way far ahead of me because she’s quick as hell. We have our times but we will talk, or even start an argument. Actually I can name at least five occasions where we gotten into a fight and resolved it all within an hour time span. Thank you, endorphins.

6. There is purpose in every mile.

This kind of goes along with dialectal running. I have recently been dedicating a mile to somebody I care about, or even just something I’m passionate about. Within that Milo like to think about it and why it makes me happy or why would want to dedicate my energy to it. 

It’s kind of amazing. Sometimes, I think about things and I don’t feel investing myself to it. The body is amazing in the way it can physically manifest what you may actually feel about a person or a subject. I kind of take that as a sign to myself

7. Don’t be a douchebag driver.

RUNNERS GET THE FUGGIN RIGHT AWAY. I WILL FLIP YOU OFG AND YELL IF YOU ALMOST HIT ME.

Bullets don’t just stop once they leave the chamber. Cutting off a runner (who has the right away) is rude and that sudden stop can really throw them off. Be the nice driver, please.

8. Self discovery is going to happen, whether you expect it to or not.

Reflection is weird. I believe that regret is the most useless emotion. There’s no point of it because the past in the past. However, when I reflect about things I guess I look at it more as a learning experience. Through running I have learned so much about myself. What I like, what I don’t like, and even what kind of food I think I should eat that night. Even though it’s normally Chinese food, I still like to think about those things. It makes me feel like I get to know myself and what my quirks are.

9. It’s easy to get too caught up in your own thoughts. 

I like to learn about myself, but sometimes I have really unhelpful thoughts. I guess that’s why I try and practice dialectal running so much. I like to think about things and reflect, but I don’t like to get mad or upset about them. When you were physically putting so much effort into yourself, it’s easy to get a little emotionalism that can throw you off physically and mentally.

10. Running is a gift.

You don’t have to run. You get to run. Running a something but not very many people are mentally capable of handling. It’s a lot. Thinking about all the times that I’ve wanted to quit, the times that I was pissed that I couldn’t run, or even thinking about how much I hated it because of others and their actions I have learned to love the art of running and I fall in love with it every time I lace up. 

Running is a relationship. It’s a relationship between your mind and your body, your body and your surroundings, and even your mind and your surroundings. You’re going to have good days, you’re going to fight, but out of all the bad there’s going to be good that outshines it