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15 Mistakes I’m Not Making for My Second Marathon

by Nellie

Running my first marathon was tough, hard and probably the best thing I ever did. I am sharing 15 mistakes that I won't make for my second marathon!

15 Mistakes I’m Not Making for My Second Marathon

When I ran NYC last year, I was scared. Like terrified out of my mind. The actual experience was bittersweet, I had a good time and at parts I had a really horrible time. I’ve signed up again this year not only to beat my time from last year but really put my best foot forward with training. There were a couple of mistakes that I made and a few things that I would like to change.

  1. Get a training plan that works for me: I trained with the NYRR Virtual Trainer last year, and even though I have the plan from last year I won’t be using it this year because it was simply too intense for me. With my work schedule and such, there was NO way I could complete 8 miles on a Tuesday. I’ve picked a bit more of a flexible plan (still tough) but manageable.
  2. Get a new job in the middle of training: When I decided to get a new job last August, I didn’t take into consideration that my new job wouldn’t be nearly as flexible as my old job. I found myself barely getting in 3 miles on some weeks. I always got my long runs on the weekends but the adjustment period was much longer than expected.
  3. No more 4:30 am training runs: It was AMAZING to get the runs out of the way and on with my day. Except I was completely exhausted throughout the workday. I couldn’t function properly and really all I wanted to do was nap. Lunchtime and after work will have to suffice.
  4. Training alone: Last year 99% of my training was done alone. I likely didn’t push myself as hard as I could because I knew no one was around to see it. I plan on joining running groups as often as possible this year to get my miles (and get a little social too).
  5. Really watch my diet: Looking back I realized that I ate a LOT of crap when I could have been making much better/healthier choices. I didn’t realize that i’d be so friggin hungry all the time! I will be better prepared for my growing appetite.
  6. WATCH the scale: I thought I was home free because of my increased mileage and calorie burn. Meanwhile, the number on the scale was creeping up with reckless abandon—I conveniently ignored the obvious changes in my body with laser focus on simply crossing the finish line. Now that I know I CAN DO IT, I will be more than attentive to what is going on with my body and make proper adjustments.
  7. Strength Train: Last year because of my new work schedule and a ton of other things I was ONLY able to do training runs. So much so that I was plain sick of the treadmill and began to dread my long runs after a while. I throughly enjoy lifting weights and I will make sure to get at least ONE day in—even if that means one less running training day.
  8. Dress Properly: Buy a proper race day shirt, way ahead of time. Like now. (lol!) I liked my outfit last year (The Ronald McDonald Jersey, and my skinz) but I didn’t love it. My name was taped on, my jersey wasn’t quite long enough and the outfit really wasn’t …me. I have plans to be really cute this year since all the pressure is off!
  9. Not eat all the things that strangers hand me: At one point in the Bronx during mile 18 (?) I was so delirious that I started taking leftover halloween candy from really nice spectators. Except my tummy was NOT happy to receive candy at that stage of the game.
  10. Get New shoes: Not particularly for the race but at least a month before. The shoes I wore had been used way past the expiration date. It may or may not have had something to do with the immense foot pain.
  11. Enjoy the race, even the bad parts: Right when I finished I was pretty sure I would never run another race again. Taking the uber home with my family was the longest ride, ever. I cried climbing the stairs to the second floor, my husband showered me and I went to bed. No food, little glory.
  12. Enlist support: I was stunned by the friends and family that witnessed me crawling to the very end. I was extremely humbled to know that so many people were “with” me during one of the hardest moments of my life. I will need each and everyone of them again this year.
  13. Pose for pictures: I don’t care how much pain i’m in, I will pose for ALL THE PICTURES! I didn’t buy not one picture from last year because in every single photo I had the only struggle face on! I literally had pain etched into my face! It was so sad. I will fake it till I make it!
  14. Stick to the plan as much as possible: There were some points of the training plan that I didn’t hold on to like my first week of work—or when I went to Israel—or when I went to Blogalicious—it’s not like my life has gotten any less hectic I just plan to work a bit harder to get those miles in.
  15. Control the Adrenaline: Running through Brooklyn was really the happiest I have ever been in a race, my heart was happy—so many kids—so many smiling cheering faces, in my borough!! My adrenaline was so high I swear I didn’t feel my feet at one point. When I reached the bridge to get into queens I felt deflated. There is no doubt I’ll be super excited to be in Brooklyn but I think it is a matter of controlling the mental part of the race and realizing what I have ahead of me.

Becoming a marathoner changed me to my core. I did something that I never thought was possible. Heck, I even got a tattoo! I ran endless miles solo, I ran when I really didn’t want to. I ran through all the doubt, through all the pain and I did it! I can’t wait to do it all again.

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12 comments

Allie June 24, 2016 - 5:35 am

This is so great for so many reasons but I love how much you have already learned about the marathon! All of these make so much sense and I will control my finger wag on some of them (your shoes? really?) because I know you won’t make the same mistakes 🙂 Remember this golden rule as you run your way toward another 26.2 – nothing new on race day!!!
Have a great weekend mama! xo

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Janine Huldie June 24, 2016 - 6:50 am

Aw, I think you are awesome no matter what and seriously am just so proud of you that you are going to do this again. Nellie, you rock and are an inspiration for all! You got this and go them, my friend!!!!! 🙂

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Kimberly G June 24, 2016 - 7:40 am

I loved this blog post! I can’t express how terrified I am for this race. I hired a run coach (Abby – @Backatsquarezero). I feel confident that she will give me a good training plan that works around my schedule and I am excited that she is also running the race as well! Now I just have to not freak out when I see a 20 mile training run on the schedule. LOL

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Nellie June 24, 2016 - 6:29 pm

You are super smart for hiring her (LOVE her blog and SM) you got this! Remember I’d only been running ONE YEAR before tackling that beast, you have got a lot more miles under your belt than I!

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Marty December 20, 2017 - 6:19 pm

Well there are other pitfalls to encounter during a marathon. When it rains or you are wet. Chaffing can occur. That gave me bleeding nipples one year. The wrong shoes? Lost toenails! Long runs will help you to see trouble brewing with clothes,diet ect. Adrenaline at mile fourteen will fly away at mile19

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Shawna June 24, 2016 - 9:03 am

really dig this post — life is all about learning from our experiences and reflecting upon them and changing what we can in the next go-round, and i love that you applied that mentality to marathon training. i’ve run two full marathons thus far (third coming up this fall!) and while i enjoyed both, i felt better and stronger and much more prepared and confident the second time, and shaved 13 minutes off my time, which made me really happy (esp bc it was the same course!). diet is so important for me during marathon training as well. best of luck!

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Tamara June 24, 2016 - 3:36 pm

haha, you totally took candy from strangers! It’s a nice gesture, but I can see why it wouldn’t be the best.
It sounds like you learned a LOT!

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Lashawn June 27, 2016 - 1:04 pm

You can do it! You learned from your mistakes last year and you can’t help but do better!

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Leslie June 27, 2016 - 11:46 pm

I’m still impressed that you ran the marathon in the first place! It’s so hard to get proper training runs in when you have a full-time job, side work, and a family. I can’t wait to hear more about how you adjusted your training plan…and to see those smiling pictures at the end of it all!

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Janelle June 28, 2016 - 1:25 pm

It looks like you learned a lot from your first marathon experience! Great to hear you’re going back for round 2! I’ll be doing my first marathon in Philly, I’m so excited!

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DNN June 29, 2016 - 3:16 pm

I used to slowly jog the bridge on Tillary street by the main U.S. post office sometimes in my teenage years on Saturday mornings nonstop to City Hall. Wasn’t dieting or trying to build my body back then; just jogging slow and not knowing what the heck I was doing. And never knew anything about marathons either. Later on in life, ended up by the grace of GOD completing a 26.2 mile marathon.

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Lisa M December 11, 2017 - 2:48 pm

These are great tips! I ran my first marathon this past year, and it was really REALLLLLY hard. But honestly, the hardest part was all that freaking training! I love your tips. Maybe, just maybe, someday, perhaps I’ll consider trying it again 😉

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