Monday, March 12, 2012

23kms with a pro

My buddy Martin and I ran 23kms last Sunday. This was the first time I've exceeded the 21.1km distance in my life and it felt really empowering to reach a new threshold. It also hurt a little bit at the end!

Martin is an incredible inspiration to me. He ran 250 marathons in one year to raise more than $250,000.00 for Right To Play. He is 57 years young and lives life to the fullest. He told me that if a challenge doesn't have a 50% chance of failure, then he won't take it on! I love that approach.

He gave me some really intelligent advice about how to approach my first marathon.

1. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. 

I'm bad when it comes to hydration. I don't really drink that much when I run. I don't get thirsty until after a long run is done...and then my lips get dry and I can guzzle glass after glass after glass.

Every chance you get, take a sip. You might not think you need it, but do it anyways. I told Martin that I can run a half without an ounce of liquid and he told me that I would die if I tried to do that in a full. Your body starts to break down at a rapid rate when you hit 32km's, so a good amount of hydration in the lead up can help you survive.

I currently have a dinky little handheld water bottle (as pictured above). I definitely need to up my hardcore factor, so I've decided I am going to invest in either a camel back or a 4 bottle system. I'm thinking camel back as I have always envied those runners on the pathway who have them. They just look like they are game for anything, anytime, anyplace. Bring it.

2. Start out slow and aim for a faster second half. 

Marathons are not fun when you feel like you might combust or fall apart during the last 18km's. When you start out slow, it gives your body a chance to warm up and it can add a tremendous amount of motivation when you notice your split times are getting shorter and shorter. There's a lot of people who get excited and go out too fast, only to fade away in the last parts of a race and crawl across the finish line in a heap of cramping pain. I don't want to be one of these people…

3. Walk for at least 30 seconds at every water station. 

I always had this misconception that in order to be a true marathoner, you had to run full out from beginning to end. If you took a break to walk, then you had failed and you were weak.

My way of thinking has changed.

42.2km's is a long distance (especially in your first journey towards it). Your body only has the capacity for so much.

When you walk, you use different muscles than when you run. If you walk for thirty seconds to one minute every water station, you can actually finish the race faster. It gives you time to swallow your drink, reset your body/mind and psych yourself up for the next round.  Knowing that you get a small break from the running motion can play a significant role in keeping you sane during the long, arduous and agonizing race.  

It's awesome how much you can learn in 2.5 hours on the trails with a seasoned veteran. Thanks for a great run Martin. I look forward to our next adventure!


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