Now that I have five marathons under my belt, I have a little experience on how to complete the distance. But I’ve also learned that there’s more to being a good runner than just running…
When I first started running (I was 14), all I did was run. And I loved it for the simplicity of it. I continued to run through college and into my 20s and 30s. After my fifth baby was born and I decided I needed to do a marathon before I turned 40, I went back to running more and more. I still enjoyed running, but I wasn’t improving. I also ended up getting hurt as I pounded out more and more miles.
So I realized that running a good marathon requires more than running. I realized that weakness in my core and upper body were causing me to fatigue over the long distances. So I started weight lifting. I got stronger and my running improved.
Then, I realized that I needed to get faster, so I integrated interval training, tabatas and plyometrics into my cardio training.
Finally, i realized that I needed to maintain flexibility if I was going to run injury-free. I initially thought yoga was not intense enough, but now I enjoy a yoga practice once or twice a week.
I’ve cut my running down to 3-4 times/week, depending on my goals at the time. I still love it, but making sure that I also integrate strength, power/speed, and flexibility along with my endurance has made me a better runner and more balanced person.
Looking forward to my 6th marathon-NYC 2015!