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Three Things That Transformed My Marathon Training

The Chicago Marathon is only like two-ish months away! Another summer flies by as the weeks of training get marked off my calendar.

This training cycle has been REALLY special to me. It is the first marathon training cycle I've experienced as an "intuitive eater," and it feels really, really good.

Having been a sports dietitian for eleven years, I've realized that the issues I had with following sports nutrition guidelines was never just a "Serena issue." Its a toxic culture where women constantly feel confused, afraid & distraught about having to eat more to fuel marathon training.

As a result, during previous marathons, I intellectually knew that I needed to eat more. I took gels, I ate pre-workout snacks & increased my carbs. But it wasn't enough. The truth was, it was terrifying to eat more because I was so afraid of gaining weight. As a result, marathon training was horrible. I was perpetually tired, perpetually accidentally binge eating cookies & ice cream, perpetually feeling like my legs were tired and heavy.

Flash forward to this training cycle - I am eating enough and, geeze louise, does it make a difference! I cannot tell you how good it feels to feel hungry & honor it!! I cannot tell you how magical it feels to hydrate with sugary-sports drinks & fuel without feeling guilty that I ate "so many" carbs.

So what changed this training cycle? What has made marathon training this time around SO lovely? I'll tell ya!

  1. Get a hydration vest - If you're training in the hot weather, then a hydration vest is a new MUST. I trained with a handheld Nathan water bottle for years - and its def a step in the right direction - but I found I was still finishing my runs with a sour stomach (a sign of dehydration!). I invested in this Quickstart 4 Liter Hydration Race Pack by Nathan & its been a game changer. I am now drinking around 12-15 oz of Skratch per hour & its helped my stomach soo much! And remember ... don't be afraid of sugar - it helps you absorb your sports drink better.

  2. Work on your relationship with your body - All that sports drink I guzzle during a long run? Well, a few years ago, the idea of that would have been PARALYZING. So I've spent the last few years working on my relationship with my body & reframing my thoughts around my body to be less toxic. Now instead of constantly feeding my thoughts with poisoned thoughts against my body, I know how to reframe thoughts to foster body neutrality & body acceptance. I teach my clients how to do this allll the time!

  3. Figure out the right training plan for you- Unfortunately, this takes trial & error... but its an important thing to consider. There's not just ONE way to train for a marathon (or a half marathon, or whatever!). This is my sixth marathon training cycle & the first time I've been really aware of my overall weekly mileage. In the past, my mileage would creep up towards 40 miles a week for weeks on end - and that mileage left me feeling burnt out on running! I love to run, but, I guess I don't love it that much lol!! So this training cycle, I am capping my miles around 30 per week & focusing on peloton cycling and weight training to make strengthen my legs as well as running. Its helped marathon training stay fresh & exciting for me!

Ultimately, training for a race is no easy feat. We've got busy lives, lots of pre-conceived ideas around food/body & training is intense (especially in this heat!!!). If you're a marathon (or ultra/half marathoner) struggling to eat enough fuel, hydrate well, or make peace with feeding your body MORE is necessary during training - then let's set up a call! I'd love to perhaps welcome you to my team!


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