T-minus three days until 26.2.
This Sunday, I’ll be running my first marathon. And I want to put it out there first—I’m NOT a runner. For most of my life, I’ve been a swimmer and am extremely comfortable hopping into a body of water at a moment’s notice. I only began running three years ago as a way to exercise on a budget when I was new to the city and the work force. Accessing a pool / weights / yoga studio cost money; running was free.
A few half-marathons later, I decided to train for the full SF marathon. It’s considered one of the more difficult races due to the city’s iconic hills, and of course, I never make things easy for myself. For the last five months, I’ve transformed my endurance, mental strength, and physiological being. It’s been challenging and eye-opening, and this Sunday, it’ll be put to the test.
Training for a marathon requires focus and dedication. Running 26.2 miles is not a normal amount for the human body, even if you are an expert runner. I had to put aside my fomo and make lifestyle changes, which is sometimes frustrating, but it’s allowed me to push barriers and be injury free.
There have been many moving parts to my training which I want to share with y’all today. Some are obvious — sleeping and eating a ton — but some are tips I picked up along the way. And on Sunday, I’ll by no means be the fastest runner, but I’ll be a sweaty and prepared one.
** For those of you who want to track me in real time, download the SF Marathon race app and type in my name! My wave begins around 6am. **
Marathon Tips, Tricks, & OMG Thank-Yous
- Have a plan. I put all my runs into my calendar as blocked off time to make sure that I wouldn’t plan over them. Like I mentioned, it’s a lifestyle change.
- Cross train. Training does not mean running non-stop. I only ran 3-4 days a week MAX, and used my other days to do yoga, interval training, and swimming. It helps activate short-distance muscle fibers which you’ll use to push through the final 6 miles. It’s crazy, but those last few miles are basically the “sprint” of the race, so no matter how tired you are, you want to be able to do them.
- Physical therapy. Most people go to PT when they have an injury. I began going to help prevent one. It’s been a godsend having a professional teach me about my running stance and do stretches that I need. If you’re in the SF area, I highly recommend Keri!
- Massages. Another trick that I used to prevent injury. In the last two months, I’ve been getting massages every two weeks. I’ve used Backspace, which is an amazing company that comes to my house for personal care (use my promo code STARTER10 to book your first appointment for 10% off!). All these massages sounds like a lot, but it’s the only way to break up deep tissue in your legs that you can’t get from foam rolling. Speaking of which…
- Buy a foam roller. There is no excuse for not stretching. I bought this roller and use it nearly every day when I have ten minutes to spare. I even shamelessly brought it with me to Coachella. It’s been a great way to warm up before my long runs to prevent muscle tightness—are you sensing my pattern/obsession about not getting injured?
- Compression sleeves. This is totally a personal preference, but I find wearing them has helped prevent shin splints.
- Brooks running shoes. I’m a diehard Nike fan, but their shoes are NOT meant for long-distance running. Brooks has the padding and support needed to put hundreds of miles on them.
- Sunscreen. I have legit become two shades of foundation darker since I started training. But I’m not sunburned, which matters more. I love Clinique’s sunscreen lotion before going on my runs.
- Kinesio tape. Again, a personal preference. My right knee bows in when I run, so I tape it to keep my gait aligned.
- A killer playlist. I have a 6-hour playlist of my favorite songs. It’s everything from Drake to Motion City Soundtrack to Justin Bieber to Calvin Harris to Destiny’s Child. I love music with lyrics so I can sing along in my head while I run. So yes, I’ll be that crazy looking runner mouthing words to herself on Sunday.
- SLEEP. I have had to remind myself hundreds of times to stop overdoing it and go the f*** to sleep. It’s the ultimate form of recovery, and when you start running 15 miles every Sunday, you’ll be ptfo’d before you know it. I put all electronics on the other side of my room so that I can be lights off by 9:30pm.
- Kind bars. I’m obsessed with these. I eat one before every run.
- Friends! While I prefer training on my own, it means the world to me to have my friends be there on race day, especially since I’ve been so anti-social with training. I’m excited to see them all on Sunday!