9 Things I’ve (Re) Learned While Training for a Fall Marathon in the Summer

9 Things I’ve (Re) Learned While Training for a Fall Marathon in the Summer

I am alive.

I know it’s been quite a while since I posted, but trust me I have written at least a dozen witty posts in my head. My athlete, Alex, gave me a friendly reminder the other day. She said she was patiently waiting. I have been getting a lot of creative outlet time at work so the blog fell to the wayside. As it does. BUT! I’ve also been running and coaching and livin.’ (Side note: I interviewed a young man for a job and when asked what he had been doing lately his response was, “I’m livin.” Cracked me up!)

Instead of a recap of what I’ve been doing lately, I will just give you all a list of things I have re-learned during this marathon training cycle. Way back in 2017 I ran my ninth marathon, and while that doesn’t seem quite so long ago, I haven’t trained for a fall marathon since 2010! And back in 2010, I swore I’d never run a fall marathon again! Summer in Florida is BRUTAL. It’s humid and hot as hell! In order to train for a fall marathon this means slogging an ass-ton of miles in the smack dab hottest months of the year.

All that changed, of course, when I was selected to run the Chicago Marathon via lottery entry. Again, training for a fall marathon in Florida is like running on the sun, but add in the humidity of 10,000 swampy swamp swamps. With the exception of one glorious 20 miler in Iceland, I’ve been slogging my way through marathon training. Unfortunately, I have made some rookie summer running mistakes along the way. But I have learned my lessons (again) and want to share these tips with you. On the plus side, I only have five weeks to go until race day!

Here we go….

  1. Everything chafes extra when you are super sweating for a prolonged time. So after about three longs runs of some of the worst chafing ever, I realized that even if I start a summer long run with copious amounts of Body Glide – it’s not gonna last! And trying to reapply Body Glide onto a sweaty body doesn’t work! The only thing that does work is a big old glob of petroleum jelly. But you have to reapply mid run or else be prepared to scream in the shower.

2. You are going to have to slow down. No matter how much you want to hit all your amazing spring running times, it just ain’t gonna happen. And that’s OK! I’ve made my peace with slowing down while it’s as hot as an oven outside. I take myself inside on a treadmill when I want to really nail those paces on longer runs.

3. You need to both HYDRATE and FUEL more. I read here and here that you burn more calories when it’s hot and this makes total sense! Typically I can run for about an hour and feel fine on an empty stomach. However, the more humid and hot it is outside the more quickly I feel depleted. I’ve started eating small meals before even hour longs runs and I feel much better! This also includes eating and drinking enough while on your runs.

4. The earlier you run, the earlier you’re done. (And not running under full blown sun fire.) At the beginning of this training cycle I was trying to start my long runs at the late, late hour of 6 AM and I realized quickly this would not do. I suffer a lot in the heat and even though 4:30 AM is basically still night time, it is awesome to finish a run by 8 AM!

5. Socks matter! The right running socks can make or break your long run. On one long run, that wound up being cut two miles short, I had a blister on the ball of my foot that was killing me! I realized I was running in my everyday running socks. What I needed were some heavy duty wicking socks that would work harder to keep my feet dry. I have yet to find socks that are capable of this – but I think Swiftwick does a pretty good job. (I plan to change socks half way for this weekend’s 20 miler.)

6. Always carry hydration on the long runs. Ugh, I hate carrying things while running! I’ve never been a fan of having to carry my own hydration so I avoid it whenever I can. I try to run routes with plenty of water fountains, but in this heat – plain water at random intervals ain’t gonna cut it. In order to have hydration at the ready, I found this tiny handheld that is perfect for me. It’s not too heavy and I do typically have enough fountains on a route to re-fill after I’ve gone through my Infinit. And of course, I replenish my Infinit when I swing back by my vehicle.

7. Don’t plan a day full of activities after your long run if you can help it. After one particularly grueling run, I had planned a bunch activities for the day and let’s just say that did not go well. Normally, on long run days, I can mow down some caffeine and enjoy my Saturday. However, these long runs in the summer are straight kicking my ass. I have thus re-learned not to plan anything until after I get a solid nap in!

8. Take a trip north for at least one long run. While not everyone is going to pack up and head to Iceland like I did, it is recommended you get somewhere cooler for at least one long run. I swear that 20 mile run in Iceland was such a HUGE relief. I felt good and not only enjoyed running in cooler temps (54!!) but I also loved exploring by foot. Next summer, plan a trip and get your cool run on!

9. Be kind to yourself. Ok, so this goes without saying, but running in the summer is hard! When paces that normally feel easy, feel extremely difficult there’s a tendency to get down on yourself. Don’t do it! You just have to understand that everyone is suffering and your hard work will pay off as soon as the temps decrease. After all, it IS running. If it were easy, everyone would do it! Give yourself a gold star for getting out there – no matter the pace.

Thankful Thursday – The Marine Corps. Marathon Edition

Hello Blog-land. It’s Coach EK with a special Thankful Thursday edition of Discom-Bob-ulated Running. And why am I thankful? Because I was able to fly up to Washington D.C. and join the B.R.A. as they conquered the Marine Corps. Marathon. Here is my weekend recap report:

While the rest of the B.R.A. flew up North on Thursday or Friday, I went up on Saturday morning. I flew into Baltimore, then immediately drove down to D.C. to meet up with the group. They were just finishing lunch (after hitting the expo). However, Fist Deep (who was there as a supporter also) decided to stick around and join me as I ate. O.K., maybe it was an excuse for her to have another beer. Who knows?

After lunch, we went to the expo to say Hi to the ladies at Womens Running Magazine, D and BR. Both seemed relaxed and ready – well, as relaxed as possible. After a quick spin around the expo, we hit the road to Baltimore. The vast majority of the peeps were staying in the Baltimore area.

An early dinner at a quaint Italian restaurant followed. No shenanigans went on, as I think the race was creeping into everyones’ mind. After dinner, we drove back to the respective sleeping places and bedded down early for the next day.

Sunday started at around 3:00 am or so for most, as they went through race preparations. Once everyone assembled, we caravanned down to DC, arriving at the Shuttle buses around 5:45 am. A quick trip to the Pentagon parking lot, and then the wait began. Start time was 8:00 am. Most of the time was spent trying to stay warm (it was around 48 degrees with a 9 mph wind – tough on us Floridians). I saw several huddles, and even a couple of sandwiches (Caribbean Steve surrounded by a group of women, and Coach T in a similar but separate situation). Apart from the runners, there were 4 supporters out there – Fist Deep, HT (local DC runner and friend of Coach T and Coach V), Maryland V, and myself. We all had various plans on supporting the runners.

Time finally came for the runners to head over to the start. Hugs and good wishes abounded. Then, the 4 supporters walked from the parking lot over a bridge to the Lincoln Memorial (mile 10). I have to say it was a beautiful walk. The sun was coming up, the fall colors were out, and there were several excellent views of the various historical memorials. I have never been to D.C. before. If you can go – GO!

We had time before our runners would arrive at Mile 10, so we checked out the Lincoln Memorial (including some warm bathrooms), and settled down to wait. The wheelchairs were first, and as they were going by, we moved closer to mile 10.25 so we could have a good view of the course. The volunteer plan were for myself to pace several BRA members, HT was going to pace Strawberry E from Mile 11 to the end, Maryland V was pacing Coach V from 20 to the end, and Fist Deep was the official cowbell ringer /sign holder.

First up was Quick T, who had planned to try to crack the top 3 women. When she came by, she was 12th woman overall, and appeared to be struggling. Next up was Coach T, running solidly in the 3:10 pace group pack. After a bit, Caribbean Steve came up. I was planning on pacing him as far as I could (he had a possible BQ going). So, I took off with him. Right after I left, Strawberry E, Speedy Jess, and Seth the Brother came by. Strawberry E was going for a BQ, and Speedy Jess and HT were along to help. Unbeknownst to us, Speedy Jess ran into a stopped wheelchair at mile 5 and fell. She picked herself up and continued to run, with a couple of bruises and a nasty head bump.

I ended up pacing Caribbean Steve for about 13 miles. Unfortunately, it was not his day, and the BQ and PR plans fell thorough. But, he never quit. At mile 23, he turned me loose, so I could go pace others.

Next up was Strawberry E and HT. They were 2 minutes ahead of BQ schedule. I ran with them for a bit, while HT made a quick (beer) stop. Once he got back, I let them go and waited for the next runner. Speedy Jess went by, and I missed her (she dropped off their pace about 17). Next up was H. She was trying for a BQ, and was on pace for most of the race. But, by the time she got to me, she had hit Mr. Wall, and was struggling. So I jumped in and helped her along as best I could. For the next 2 miles, it was just trying to get her as close the finish line as possible. She seemed to be o.k. so once we got to mile 25, I turned her loose and went back. Next up was Becs and Jesus John. They were probably separated by 2 minutes, so I ran with them each for a half mile, just to give them a friendly face.

Last up (for me) was P-Funk. I was around the mile 25 sign waiting when I saw her coming. She was struggling, no doubt. So, I decided I was taking her to the finish. We stepped off, and ran as best as possible toward the end. It’s mostly downhill to mile 26, then uphill to the end. I felt sorry for all the runners, even though I understand the symbolism of the uphill to the Iwo Jima Memorial. Anyway, P-Funk never quit and gave it her all as she went up the hill. I dropped off so I would not cross the line. I then ended up taking the not-so-long way around to get to the groups meeting place (Thanks to a friendly marine for a favor).

After a great while, all the runners assembled at the meeting point. While the weather was beautiful, it was a very tough course, and most people ended up short of their time goals. But, I am happy to report that Thanks to HT and Speedy Jess, Strawberry E qualified for Boston with 2 minutes to spare. Congratulations!!

After we were all assembled, we got on shuttles back to the cars, then back to our respective lodging. At our place, pizza and beer (soda for me) were the order of the evening. Then, it was lights out as one tired group of athletes headed for bed.

There a dozens more stories from this group, which would take a week of blogs to tell. But I do want to say this – I am proud of EACH and EVERY ONE of the B.R.A. who ran this race. I never saw quit or surrender in anyone, regardless of how bad they were hurting. It’s one of the best (in my opinion, THE BEST) running groups out there.

Special Thanks to Maryland V for putting the majority of us up in her house, and to all the people who were watching and cheering on-line. The runners definitely appreciated the support.

An actual post about my running

An actual post about my running

I’ve got two weeks before the Halloween Half Marathon and I felt compelled to share with you all where my running stands today.
I had been running a bit more since before I left for Chicago and am finally starting to get my confidence back.* While I did have the one good nine miler, I also had two pretty craptastic runs before I left and I will attribute them to stress.
I ran a four and a half miler on the Tuesday before my trip and felt short of breath and tired. It was supposed to be a five miler and I just felt too pooped to go on. Lame. I followed up that hot mess with another four and a halfer that felt like I had never run in my life.
Lame – 2, B.o.B. – 0.
It’s amazing what stress will do to your running. Especially if you are the type of person who lives in their head. To say that I am an over-thinker would be an understatement. It would be akin to saying “runners kind of like to talk about running.”
Enter Chicago.
The Redhead and I ran a little two miler on Saturday** and then I hopped in with her for that amazing four miler.
Upon my return I felt rejuvenated and refreshed and am so happy to report that I had a great five mile run on Tuesday and a nice six mile, albeit hot, run Wednesday night.

My eight mile “long run” (yeah, I am back to 8 miles being long) didn’t go so great last night, but it’s my own doing. I decided to drastically cut back the carbs after Eat Fest 2009 and felt really sick after my run. Serves me right. I need more carbs than I allowed. I am chalking this run up to stupidity.
My hopes for the half are that I have a good time and don’t feel any pain. I really don’t expect a PR. I just want to build up that endurance again so that when Gasparilla arrives I am ready to kill it.
I am off to Detroit today for the Detroit Marathon. I’ll be back on Sunday and hope you all have great weekends.
*Thanks again for all the support during my injury. You have NO idea how much it meant to me.
**I leave you with this photo of my FIRST run through a corn field. Not as fun as it looks on TV kids.

We’re In the Minutes

Hello Bloggy-land. This is Coach EK, once again filling in for our friend B.o.B. Word on the street is that she is up to her eyeballs in magic markers (for making motivational signs) and Chicago hot dogs (for consumption. Diagnosis – delicious!!). And since Lloyd is still mad he was not able to post yesterday, I get to fill in once again. Here we go…..

I had a friend in Chicago (I was born and raised in the South Suburbs), who used to state the phrase “We’re in the minutes”. He would say that when there was under an hour to go at his work. Kind of a “we are in the home stretch” deal.

I use that today specifically for the Chicago Marathoners. Today they are figuratively “in the minutes” until race time tomorrow. There is nothing left to do but relax, hydrate, consume pasta, and get some sleep. All the months of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication are about to pay off. The dreams and hopes and desires are literally around the corner.

And I have to admit something to you all……

I wish I was there. I admit to being envious of them.

I am, by nature and heart, a 5K guy. I have done 9 marathons, including 3 Bostons. So, I know the thoughts going through their heads. And I am glad not to have trained through the Florida summer. And have been able to do my beloved 5K’s.

But, while my body will be parked at this computer watching on-line, my heart and soul will be with my friends (and all the others) who toe the line tomorrow.

So to Gatorate, Speedy Jess, and The Redhead, and the other 39,000 plus competitiors, I wish you all the best of luck tomorrow. Know that I will be with you in spirit as you traverse the city.

Readers – please do me a favor and send good wishes, karma, prayers, whatever, to all the Chicago folks for a great race. I know I will.

Have a Super Saturday.

Pin It on Pinterest