Guest Post: Lessons Learned From a Huge PR

5 Feb

Hi! It’s a busy night for this lady, so it worked out perfectly that my friend Alan wrote a guest post about the lessons he learned form his MAJOR PR at the Miami Marathon on Sunday!

Alan is the speediest guy I know and was actually the first person to call me out on not running as fast as I could. Something about how I was talking so easily that I clearly wasn’t pushing myself that hard……I heart him.

Here we are with my dad in NYC

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They were both supposed to run the NYC Marathon in 2012, but since it was cancelled because of hurricane Sandy, the 3 of us ran a 6 mile replacement run instead

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After I heard Alan ran the Miami Marathon in 2:54:55 this past Sunday, it was clear he needed to share his experience with the world (or my mom, dad and the 6 other people that read this blog), so let’s get to it!

(clearly I have a hard time letting a post go by without talking about or mentioning myself)

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Lessons Learned From Running A Huge PR:

(I have only run three full marathons, so I am NOT an expert and do not claim to be!)

Final time: 2:54:55

PR of 15:24 

-10 BQ

Running is a team sport.

You need support. I am fortunate to have an understanding and supportive fiancé when it is 9:30 on a Friday night and I make him leave the bar because I have to get up early for a training run or when I leave on a Sunday afternoon and say, “See you in three and a half hours!” I am also grateful for two great running partners who keep me accountable by going to weekly track workouts, meet me for the second half of long weekend runs, and even help pace at mile 17 of a marathon! Friends and training partners keep you motivated to get out the door, help maintain the pace when your feet feel like lead, and encourage you to do it all again the next day.

Long runs and time on your feet is essential.

I hate long runs, but they are necessary if you want to PR. Long runs are boring, painful, and take up a lot of time. There is no way to get around them though. Long runs prepare the legs and the mind for race day. I couldn’t have done my race without some great people who caught up with me during my runs and coordinated their schedules so we could run together. Also, I have no scientific basis for this, but mentally, it was important for me to have at least one long run that lasted as long as my goal time for the race. This gave me a boost of confidence going into the race as I was certain my body could endure the time and distance of the race.

Some days you just “have it.”

Running is confusing. We all have the days when it takes everything out of you to wog (walk/jog) two miles, but then the next day, twelve miles is an absolute breeze. This happens to me all the time throughout the training process. Some days you just have it. Your feet are light and nothing can hold you back. Fortunately, I had one of these days during a race. The miles were passing by more quickly than anticipated and the movement felt effortless. At mile 15, I was amazed with what I saw on the clock and started to get excited. I knew that I had to keep the mental game in check and couldn’t lose focus. (My mental game is terrible. If I am feeling tired, I slow down to a trot or walk. I am not good at pushing through the pain.) I kept waiting to hit “the wall” that I ran straight into during my first two marathons. Fortunately, “the wall” never came and it was just one of those days where everything clicked.

Listen to your body.

We all know that your body really is not meant to run marathons. There is a reason the distance is iconic. Getting to the start line healthy is over half the battle. Pounding the pavement is excruciating on the body, and putting in 50+ miles on regular basis is just asking for your body to rebel. You need to know the difference between being tired and being injured. It is normal to feel tired. If you run a 20 mile training run and aren’t tired, well, I don’t know what to tell you. It can be easy to force yourself to get out and run because that is what the training plan tells you to do. If you are injured, stay home.

Taper.

Tapering is hard. It is counterintuitive to run so few miles in the weeks before a long race. You don’t want to lose any of the fitness you have worked so hard for. I have to remind myself that even if I am feeling good and want to go out for a long run, the body is repairing and needs the rest. Tapering allows you to feel rested on race day, store up energy and excitement, and heal any lingering aches and pains.

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Alan, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom!

I hope you all got as much out of his advice as I did :)

What is one piece of running advice you would give to someone looking for a PR?

4 Responses to “Guest Post: Lessons Learned From a Huge PR”

  1. run100run February 5, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

    If you would like to follow my running journey run100run.wordpress.com

  2. afastpacedlife February 5, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    I read this blog too. :) Congrats to Alan on his PR. It was a hot and humid race.

  3. Alex @ therunwithin February 6, 2014 at 5:32 am #

    ah what a freaking amazing post and inspiration

  4. jmlol February 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    I’ve got no advice, due to not really having a PR. I’m ok with my turtle-tude.

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