My marathon training secret weapons …

I’ve completed 7 weeks of marathon training!! Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered three “secret weapons” that have helped me stay motivated and healthy:

1. Strength Training Around the same time that I started marathon training, I began a strength training program. I’ve participated in strength training classes over the last two years but this is the first time I’ve used a consistent program targeting specific muscle groups. My husband helped me select exercises and then I use the app JEFIT to track my workouts. You can read more about my experience with JEFIT here. Adding a strength training component to my marathon training adds variety to my workouts so that I don’t get bored. It also provides me with fun opportunities to socialize – I strength train once a week with some friends from work (girl time!!) and once a week with my husband (gym date!!). As my muscles get stronger, I also protect myself against injuries – definitely important as I train for a marathon.

2. Protein, Protein, Protein I love drinking a protein smoothie after a long run or strength training workout. I’ve found that when I follow a hard workout with a protein smoothie, I recover faster and feel less sore. My favorite protein powder so far is About Time because it does not contain artificial sweeteners or dairy. I love to add spinach, frozen fruit, ground flax seed and a little peanut butter to my smoothies. Trust me, you can’t even taste the spinach. 🙂

3. Ladder Workouts Sometimes a training run is a mental battle for me. When I can tell that it’s going to be tough to get my mind in the game, I do a ladder workout on the treadmill:

Ladder
5.9 mph for 1 min
6.0 mph for 1 min
6.1 mph for 1 min
6.2 mph for 1 min
6.3 mph for 1 min
6.4 mph for 2 min
6.3 mph for 1 min
6.2 mph for 1 min
6.1 mph for 1 min
6.0 mph for 1 min
5.9 mph for 1 min

Once I complete the ladder, I walk for 2 minutes. I like to complete the ladder three times.

Changing my speed every minute gives my mind something to think about. Usually by the time I finish one round through the ladder, I feel better about the run. If you want to give the ladder workout a try, start at whatever speed works best for you. Once I’ve run a ladder for a couple of weeks, I increase my starting speed and continue the ladder from that point. I’ve found that in addition to helping with a running slump, the ladder has helped me get faster!

I’d love to hear about your favorite training secret weapons!

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4 Responses to My marathon training secret weapons …

  1. This is great! I am training for my first Full in February 2015 and I will be sure to incoporate more strength training and protein into my routine!

    • Em says:

      Smitha, thanks for reading! Congratulations on the marathon training. I’d love to hear how it goes!!

  2. Annmarie says:

    Yes to all of these!!! I was strength training prior to running but have found that it has helped me to be a better runner and make sure I keep it part of my routine. I am a huge fan of protein too and add turmeric to my smoothies post run to help recover even faster! Seriously- protein really has worked wonders in easing DOMS!

    Also ladders are awesome but I don’t do them enough- you’ve inspired me to add them to my workout routine for the weekend now 🙂

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