Welcome back, all! It’s Steve. Last week, I shared two hurdles that I’ve overcome while training for my first marathon, the New Jersey Marathon, coming up on May 6. My teammates on Team JDRF and our coach, Josh “Speedy Sasquatch” Maio, have proven to be a great source of knowledge and support throughout this challenge, and have shown that passing on that knowledge is one of the best gifts one could give. We are all motivated by the millions of people who live with type 1 diabetes (T1D), including my daughter, for whom we are raising money through the marathon. But that motivation is kept fueled by sticking together and helping one another.
This week, I’m sharing two more obstacles, and Coach Speedy’s advice—this time regarding navigating new conditions (terrain and weather):
Obstacle: Traveling New Terrain
During my training, I have had to travel to Atlanta several times. While I did not see this as a big problem given the time of year, I didn’t expect to be running in 84 degree weather, nor was I prepared for hilly terrain while trying to follow the plan to run more miles per training session. Let’s just say I covered the hill training for my training plan for the following three weeks. While a treadmill is an alternative, it doesn’t prepare you like the roads do.
Traveling can make training tough on anyone. One of the simplest things to do when you travel is set your run by time and make it a balanced run, out and back or small loops. Keep the course basic and straightforward. If you are doing a longer run and are feeling a bit more adventurous, go onto MapMyRun.com and plug in your address to plot a course before you head out. I always use a Sharpie on my left forearm with street names and simple arrows to indicate my turns. Then, there is always the “dread”-mill, which can be a necessary evil depending on your geographic location and the time of day you get to run. Is the treadmill accurate? It is to an extent, but there is no substitute for the great outdoors. If you are forced onto the treadmill, make sure that you set the grade/incline to 1-1.5 percent, so that you can reasonably replicate the experience of running outdoors. Furthermore, if you do the bulk of your training on the treadmill, you are going to want to throw in a leg strength workout weekly so that you gain the strength that you would generate from pushing off the ground unassisted outdoors.
Obstacle: New Weather
I just returned from a 12-day vacation in south Florida. I was excited, but knew I would need to prepare for the major differences in temperature from New Jersey. Hotter temperatures would impact the amount of fluid I would need to drink during my runs, and I planned to slow my pace so that I wouldn’t push my heart rate to high.
When you are going from cooler temps to warmer temps, that first run should always be nice and easy, just so you can see what the conditions feel like and how they will affect you. Throw in one mile or a timed interval at a faster pace just to gauge how it feels. With warmer temps, be sure to hydrate and replenish your electrolytes (coconut water, Gatorade, etc.), as you will definitely be sweating more. Most of us only carry water on our long runs, so it is worth it to look into salt tabs or electrolyte capsules to supplement you on your runs, which will help prevent muscle cramps. This is one that is not often thought of, but is something to keep in the back of your mind as conditions heat up.
Thanks again, Coach, and thank you all out there for reading and for supporting Team JDRF in our efforts to raise money toward preventing, better treating, and curing T1D. Wish us luck as we head into the final weeks of training, and stay tuned for more!
*Coach Josh “Speedy Sasquatch” Maio, 34, is a certified member of the Road Runners Club of America. He has been training groups in New York for three years, including a group for the New York City Marathon, and has run at least 17 marathons himself.