Hi ya’ll! I’m Tess from Cross Country Cajun . I’ve been running regularly for about 6 years and have run 3 marathons thus far. I’m currently in the last few weeks of training for my fourth marathon in December. Ashley’s posts are some of my favorites, so I was super excited to contribute to her series.
My best marathon advice can be summed up in the acronym – RUN 26.2
Run for you – Run because you love running – let that feeling guide you. There will be plenty of solo miles over training and times during the race where the motivation must come from within. When those times happen, always go back to why you run – because you love it.
Unsuccessful runs will happen – Not all of your training runs will be pretty or spectacular. You might not hit all the perfect distances or paces. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember that it’s just one run and move on. In the end, the bad runs help your mental muscle.
Nudge outside your comfort zone – This training season, I tried some new things outside my comfort zone. I signed up for two different track groups, joined some running groups around town, and helped mentor/coach some others. These helped me become a stronger and smarter runner and connected me to the running community in Nashville in ways I didn’t know possible.
Take rest days – You’ll spend plenty of time on your feet during training. Make sure you take advantage of rest days. A smart coach once told me that to be a successful runner long-term – you need to push it hard on the days when you need to test your limits and rest really well on the days you need to rest.
6 (point) people for marathon sherpas – While you need some motivation within, having some sherpas along the way to support and encourage you is crucial as well. Some of my best sherpas are my husband, family, friends, blog friends (blends), running buddies and members of my training programs. Not all of your sherpas need to be expert runners. My husband isn’t a distance runner, but he is my biggest cheerleader. He has been at every one of my marathons, holding up funny signs, giving encouraging words and making sure I had all the right fuel. My parents are non-runners but they always ask how my training is going and let me know how proud they are of me. It’s amazing how far little bits of encouragement go.
Trust in your training – On race day, you might have doubts, and you might let those little negative voices dance around in your brain. If you forget all the tips above, just remember to trust in your training. It’s amazing what your body can do and will do. Put in the work to your training and it will pay off!
Lastly, have fun with it! Running should be fun – finish that marathon with a smile on your face!