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Hi guys! My friend Alex from The Wonder List is doing a guest post today. We met over 2 years ago at work in Atlanta and became instant friends. Besides her wit and sweet personality, Alex is a dreamer and is always an inspiration to others and myself. You can read more about her and her blog co-partner Emily at The Wonder List.

Besides being wonderful, Alex and I trained together for our races last year. I was running the Savannah Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon and she was running the Atlanta Marathon. She has a wealth of knowledge and I thought it may help some of you runners out there.

Alex from The Wonder List

It happens in an instant – you see the 26.2 sticker on someone’s car and think ‘I could do that.’ Before you can pull off on the nearest side street, you’ve written a marathon on your bucket list and started googling race locales and training plans. We all want to be in the runner club, especially the one with the super cool Nike sneakers and finisher medals. Last year, I was determined to cross a marathon off my bucket list and, let’s be honest, to be able to purchase a 26.2 sticker and have the chops to back it up. I wanted to be a part of the club.

Sure, these clubs are so inviting with their sleek gear and potential for killer toned legs. However, what they don’t tell you prior to joining is that initiation usually involves some sort of injury and dues are paid in blood, sweat and, on occasion, tears. Though I will never regret running a marathon and would recommend it highly, I do wish someone would have told me the following tips before I had to learn them the hard way.

1/ You need training accountability. Even if you’re the Terminator reincarnated, you will roll over and put that twenty miler on hold after your alarm goes off at 5 in the morning… unless you know someone is meeting you at the track or will ask you if you completed your mileage that day. Search for a local running group or buddy up with friends for different lengths.

2/ Make IT Band stretches your best friend. Stretching in general is important but this muscle is key, especially with high mileage. I’m a notorious non-stretcher and dealt with a strain for a solid month during training, of which IT Band stretches saved me from. There are a few different types so I recommend googling and trying different ones to find your favorite.

3/ Avoid a high fiber dinner the night before a long run. We don’t need to get graphic but trust me on this one. A bowl of whole wheat pasta with grilled chicken is the way to go.

4/ You are going to lose some toenails. The good news here is they usually look worse than they feel and you can get an extreme pedicure once you finish the race. Buying running shoes one to two sizes bigger than your normal size will help to decrease the chance of this.

5/ Invest in some anti-chafe balm. Before you laugh and insist that you won’t need it, like I did, consider mile fourteen of an eighteen mile training run… with chafing. Not fun. I used BODYGLIDE and it was a lifesaver.

 

Photo Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5

I hope these tips were useful and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the next club meeting, with the sticker on your car of course.