Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Mistakes of a Running Rookie

I made a few rookie mistakes in the past few months as I got ready for Dam to Dam. Luckily, I am surrounded by some pretty novice runners that have been such an amazing resource. I am so thankful for these people!

Here is what I felt were some mistakes I made during training and during the race...
  • Fuel during the race. I've never brought along food or really thought about it! Luckily, I think Emily knew this was going to happen and she had some extra packets of GU for me. She suggested taking them at miles 4 and 8. Well, I forgot, and didn't remember until mile 5. So, as soon as there was a water station I took a walk break and ate GU... it felt like eating hair gel, but I think the GU saved my life. (ok, that was dramatic. It helped a lot!). Then I took the second packet at mile 8ish. Why I did that so early is beyond me. Looking back, I wish I would have waited and maybe I would have finished the race a little stronger.
  • Fuel before the race. I carb loaded just fine, but I ate so much at dinner the night before that I just couldn't choke down food in the morning! When I get really nervous or stressed out, my appetite is non existent. The thought of eating when I'm super nervous or stressed makes me feel sick. I made toast with peanut butter and brought it with me to hopefully eat on the bus, but even then, I just couldn't eat it. I thought I would be sick! Luckily, now that I have been through this once, I don't think I will ever be that nervous about a race again. 
  • Caffeine? Yep, caffeine. I didn't think about the massive caffeine headache I would endure after the race due to no pop or coffee the day of or the day before. I drank coffee the day before, but I didn't coffee the day of. Not for any specific reason, I just didn't have time because it was flippin' 5am. Silly me didn't realize that my headache after the race was due to a caffeine deficiency until about late Sunday afternoon. I thought I was dehydrated and began chugging as much water as I could again. I thought my head was going to pound right off, it hurt so bad. (How sad is this, by the way?! My body is that addicted to caffeine! I suppose there are worse things, but... sheesh.)
  • Good SHOES! We all know about this one. I had a pair of old shoes and just didn't want to shell out the money for new ones. I am so glad I did and I will push just about anyone now to invest in good shoes if they are considering running regularly.
Other than these, I think I did pretty well. I asked a lot of questions of the people around me and felt really ready for this race. 

What rookie mistakes did you make before your big race? Are you training for anything now? 

(PS: ALPITC is not going to turn into a running blog... promise. But, considering I had so much fun, I think you will be hearing more about it in the months to come. Watch for an update on the classes I'm taking this summer later this week - including adolescent lit!)


Kristyn said...

My biggest rookie mistake was to not concentrate on breathing. Maybe that sounds silly, but I had a real issue of getting enough oxygen into my lungs while racing. I would feel like I was starting to hyperventilate, but I would get it back to "ok" before that happened.

I am training for the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on July 4th. It is a 10k during the heat of the summer. There will be about 60,000 other runners, so that should be interesting. And it will be very hot.

I do love racing and you gave some great advice. I am getting motivated to start running longer distances!

Angie said...

I made the same fuel mistake you did. I wasn't thirsty at the first 2 or 3 water stations, and at miles 5 and 6, I didn't want to stop, so I tried drinking and running -- did not work! Finally at mile 7, I stopped long enough to drink and eat my GU packet. I've done RAGBRAI too, so I know better than to wait until you're thirsty to drink!

I read somewhere you should eat no more than 2 hours before a run to give your body time to digest. I made two eggs at 4:30 AM and was totally fine by race time.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I think you did a great job as a newbie and were so good about asking others around you what you should do. When I ran my first half and full marathon, I had no running friends - or a blog - so I was sort of on my own. I had to learn the hard way about chafing and how to fuel! But I learned my lessons... and now I know body glide is a must for me, and that I need gatorade if I am running longer than an hour!

Amber said...

Ditto what Lisa said, you were great at asking around for advice from other runners! I think fueling is SO key and it's something I'm still figuring out especially when it comes to long runs! The good shoes is definitely the most important thing in my opinion!

Anne said...

Love this. I didn't realize there were drinking stations...and where did u buy that gel stuff?

Also, I hear a lot of runners talk about breathing techniques. I think I need some help in that area as well...any suggestions?

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I think all those things you listed are pretty common rookie mistakes! When I ran my first few races, I had no running friends. I didn't even know what a GU was. I had no Garmin, but they used to call out the times at each mile. I don't see that as much anymore. Also, my post recovery drink was beer. Okay, maybe that hasn't changed much! :)

Charlotte's Web of Books said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Taylor @ Pink Heels Pink Truck said...

If you want a good laugh at my half marathon experience, go to my blog and search for it. ;)

Anonymous said...

My biggest rookie mistake was OVER hydrating--I had to stop and pee 3 TIMES during my first Dam to Dam! I can't believe someone would tell you to try GU for the first time during a race, but I'm so glad it wasn't a huge mistake and worked for you--you need that fuel during a long run! Just think how great you'll do on your next race with all that you know now--congrats on first race bling, and I can't wait to see what you accomplish next!