Life Lessons Learned from Running my First Marathon – Part 2

Marathon6

Yesterday I posted the first 5 life lessons I learned from running my first marathon.  If you missed it, click here.

Today, I share the remaining 5 lessons.  Enjoy!

6. Be well nourished.  Fuel your body right, and your body will fuel you.  This is a really important one.  Without proper nourishment, you will lack energy.  Without energy, you can’t get anything done.  Period.   Increase your energy levels by eating the right foods, and drinking more than enough water.  Give your body what it needs before you think it needs it.  In other words, drink the water before you are thirsty.  I would not have been able to finish even a quarter of the race had I not put the proper foods and drinks in to my body.

Every day, eat 3 balanced meals with healthy snacks in between and drink a ton of water.

There is a direct correlation between your energy levels and the quality of your life.  More energy means you can do more of the things you enjoy.  Manage your energy and live a kick ass life.

 

On a scale between 1-10, how would you rate your energy levels?

How well do you nourish yourself?

 

7. Train the body, master the mind.  Both need to be in peak condition to be able to reach your goal.

 Body

During my training I had a common injury for runners.  My IT Band was acting up and it caused pain in my knee every time I ran.  The problem started when I was training on my own.  I just ran through the pain, thinking it would just go away.  After joining the running club, my coach suggested some things I didn’t try before.  Stretching before and after my runs, better runner form, new shoes, and rest, to name a few.  After a couple weeks, the pain was totally gone, and I was back on track with my training plan.

If you are out of shape, you are expending extra energy to do things.  Energy that can be better used for other things.

Be more aware of what’s going on with your body.  Awareness is the first step.  Once you are aware, then you can take steps to fix whatever you need to.

 

Listen to your body.  What’s it trying to tell you?

Do you get sick often?

Is your body sore?

Do you get headaches?

Do you feel drained all the time?

 

Mind

The mind will play tricks on you if you let it.  It has the power to paralyze you.   It’s impossible to eliminate the self talk.  The trick is to manage it.  The little voices will always be there, but you have a choice how you respond to those voices.

From my training, I knew that after 30kms, my little voice started to talk more loudly :)

By this time, that little voice became a big voice and it was yelling at me… “your leg hurts, you need to stop” or “you are hungry, why not stop and go eat, you’ve earned it”.  Through my training, I knew to expect this and planned for it.  During my race, I found someone that ran at a similar pace and we ran together.   While we ran, we chatted and chatted.  This distracted me from my self talk.

Don’t be surprised by it.  Be proactive.  Expect it, and execute your plan.

What triggers your self talk? 

What can you do to better manage it?

8. Pace yourself.

Early on in my training, I was always trying to keep up with everyone else.  I could for abit and then I fell back, waaaaaaaay back.  I quickly realized I couldn’t continue on like this.  I had to work towards finding my own pace.

My training leading up to the marathon helped me find my own pace.  How did I do it?  I committed to a regular running schedule.  2 shorter runs on Tuesday and Thursday morning, and a longer run on Saturday morning.  By getting out the same time every week, it helped form a habit.  Over time, it just became automatic.  Since my coaches saw me often, they were able to better monitor my pace.

Another tool that helped me greatly was a GPS watch.  Since my coaches could not be everywhere on my running route, my watch would help keep me on pace. Periodically, I would transfer data from my watch to my computer.  This really helped me plan out my pace for future runs.

I remember on race day, when the starting pistol went off, there was so much energy and excitement.  In the first 2 kilometers, I found myself fueled by this energy and was running much faster than my pace.  I wanted to have enough energy to run the next 40 kilometers, so, from that point forward, I kept a close eye on my watch, and kept within my pace.

If you go too fast or have too much on the go, you will run out of energy and eventually burnout.  Avoid burnout by knowing your pace.

 

What are you using as your personal GPS to ensure you are staying on pace?

 

9. Plan and prepare.  Winston Churchill once said “He who fails to plan, is planning to fail”.  I couldn’t agree more.

I knew I didn’t have to reinvent anything as many had already done what I was planning on doing.  I leveraged my coaches knowledge and we worked together to create a personal training plan.

My training schedule was all mapped out based on my goals.  Week over week, I added distance to my runs.  To help prepare me for the race, I did interval training, hill training, and distance training.  Switching it up helped to make me stronger and better prepared for race day.

Through my training, I knew what to eat and drink the night before a run.  I also knew what food and drink I had to carry on me during my runs.

Prior to race day, I knew the course.  This helped eliminate the unknowns.  No surprises.  The less I had to think about on that day, the better.   I knew where the start and finish lines were.   I knew what time to arrive so I had plenty of time to stretch and get my mind right.  I looked online and found a 3D map which showed me where the hills were.  The map also showed me the location of the watering stations and the bathrooms.

A valuable lesson I learned from walking on hot coals at a Tony Robbins event was to visualize your outcome.  Tony spent the entire day preparing us to walk over the 1000 degree F hot coals.  We worked on changing our state at the snap of our fingers, but we also worked on visualizing our outcome.  I walked across those hot coals many times in my mind before actually physically walking on them.

Similar to the firewalk, I ran my marathon many times in my head before race day.  I would close my eyes and visualize the energy at the start line.  Along my run, I would be giving high fives to my coaches and running group along the course.   A kilometer before the finish line, I would be fueled by the cheers from the crowd.  The last 100 meters, I would see my family holding up signs and my daughters would be racing me in to the finish line.

 

Without this planning and preparation, I would have had a very tough time finishing.

 

In your life, what do you have a tough time finishing?

How much planning and preparation are you doing in advance?

10. Celebrate Your Progress It’s important to celebrate the journey, and not just the destination.

This is an easy one to forget.  Often times we are so focused on what still needs to be done, we forget to appreciate and celebrate the progress we have already made.

Set milestones or what I like to call ‘celebrations points’ along your path towards your goal.  For me, instead of having one big celebration when I ran 42kms, I broke it up in to mini celebrations when I reached 10,20 and 30kms.  My celebrations were not huge.  They didn’t need to be.  Sometimes it was just taking a break and acknowledging how far I had come.

By celebrating along the way to your goal, you are reminding yourself that you are making progress towards your goal.  Celebrations are usually fun, and something you look forward to.

It helps to keep the momentum going strong and the motivation levels high.

 

Small wins add up to big wins.

 

After attaining your goal, take some time to appreciate your journey before setting out on a new one.

 

What celebration have you been postponing?

I hope you enjoyed these lessons, and can somehow integrate some of them in to your life.

I would love to hear from you.

What crazy challenges did you overcome to achieve a big goal?

What life lessons can you share with everyone else?

Enter your comments below.

It’s time to pay it forward.  Who do you know that could get something out of these lessons?

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  1. Life Lessons Learned From Running My First Marathon - Part 1 | Happy, Healthy and WiseHappy, Healthy and Wise - February 25, 2013

    […] To check out the remaining 5 life lessons, click here. […]

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