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September 13, 2022

Dog Days of Marathon Training

Written by Alex Monroe

As the temps drop and the leaves turn, that can only mean one thing. Fall road racing is here.Marathon Runner Group

It can be easy to fall into the mindset of "I have to have the perfect build-up to my race." I'm here to tell you no such thing exists. Here are some tips and tricks to help when the inevitable happens!

1. Injuries happen. It is important to stay calm. Remember you can only control so much. Book an appointment with your physical therapist, reach out to your coach for training adjustments, cross train if necessary, and rest (body and mind). Stress won't help the injury, and can only hurt it further. This doesn't necessarily mean your race is over. Missing time now can be a blessing in disguise for the future!

2. Illness happens. All of the hard work and training can sometimes suppress the immune system. It's not uncommon for marathoners to catch a cold during their taper. Also very easy to panic in this situation, but try not to! There is a lot you can do that will help your body come up. Try and focus on hydration, eating foods that nourish (I crave homemade chicken noodle soup), and extra sleep. Taking off training during this time is recommended. This is your body's way of saying, "hey I need a break so I can perform on race day." Fitness doesn't diminish from a few days off. Try and push through it and you could make it worse.

3. The fatigue will set in, and when it does you will doubt yourself. Don't! Training for a marathon is hard work. One day you're smashing a workout, and the next you're barely able to get out of bed. The body takes time to absorb all the training, so there will be times you feel flat and tired. This is normal, but important to listen to. Give yourself rest if you feel like you need it, as pushing too hard during this time can send you into a hole that is hard to get out of. As you do more and more build ups, you will know the difference between tired and too tired.

4. Nerves are normal. As the race creeps closer, nerves will too. You want the right balance of nerves to help you get excited and not overly anxious. I like to start a book during my taper (no not a running book). Sometimes taking your mind elsewhere when you have a big event coming up is the perfect recipe to help calm things down. Get creative, but find something different to occupy your time that you'd normally spend running more miles. You want non running focus in your life so that you get a break from obsessing over the big day!

5. Enjoy the process. We put so much into a single day that it can get overwhelming. Try and remember part of the fun of this is the preparation. Without this piece the race wouldn't be what it is. Smile and know you are doing something special.

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