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photo-12This will be my 9th marathon and each time I run, and train, I feel like I learn something brand new.

In the 3 months I spent training I went through three pairs of shoes, only five gel packets, countless gallons of water, received one massage, and had one big splurge at Lululemon. Along with that little laundry list, I did come away with a few good “running” life lessons.

1. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Especially if you decide to eat dinner late and get up early the next day for a run.

Timing and nutrition are key. Not that I didn’t know this from years past, but I don’t think I had ever tried to digest Thai food as a pre-run meal. Lesson learned. It’s no bueno for my belly. This is what training is all about! Trying different things and seeing what suits your body best. For me, I’ve learned a clean meal with greens, lean meat, and a sweet potato or quinoa work just fine. Keep in mind the time you eat dinner matters, too. Give your body plenty of time to digest last night’s food so you don’t feel like you’re a running take-out box!

2. IF YOU THINK YOU NEED A NEW PAIR OF SHOES….IT’S TOO LATE!

I had a minor bout of shin splints midway through training (ice and a little rest helped), and I realized it was because a pair of shoes I was cycling in and out of my longer training runs. They were DONE-ZO! Not only could this compromise your training, but during your run you will most likely notice that the balls of you feet (or heels if your a prominent heel striker), will feel worn out.

With my newest pair of shoes, I logged my miles and made sure that when I started hitting that 300 mark, I grabbed a new pair. A great way to re-purpose your old ones is by donating them to a foundation called Soles 4 Souls. Most Road Runner sports stores have a collection bin right inside the store.

3. COMMUNICATION IS KEY

Especially when you’re training with your significant other.

For all of my long training runs, I went out as the “pacer” with my fiancé in tow. He is training for his first marathon, so I decided (as the veteran) to make sure we stuck to a good steady time and pace. It started to bug me when he would drag or draft right off my back or shoulder, but I never said anything, thinking that maybe he was just a little bit slower than me (there goes my ego!). I finally brought it up, and learned that he’d tried running side by side, but every time he tried I would speed up! You can imagine this ended up being a much longer conversation, but to summarize…..I apparently really like being the “leader”. The important thing: we talked about it, and have a plan for Marathon Monday!

4. THE BODY ALWAYS NEEDS MORE REST

And you’re not always going to get it!

Working on the morning show at FOX 5 is EXHAUSTING! I love my job, but it is not easy. Most of the time, I’d rather eat a slice of pizza, or grab some chocolate and take a mid day nap! After working 3am to noon you’re mind is full of cob webs, and your body craves sugar to stay awake. Now mix that with marathon training, and it could potentially throw your diet into a tailspin and your body crashing into daily siestas! It takes a lot of discipline, meal planning, and structure to do this job and stay on a consistent training plan. One thing I’ve learned this time around that is contrary to my former theories is that a nap may be just what you need! There were many recovery days this time around where I chose to sleep more as opposed to going to a hot yoga class, or get in that extra Crossfit strength day. I learned I was happier, and my runs later on in the week were faster and better quality.

5. RUNNING ISN’T ALWAYS SELFISH

In the past I’ve run marathons for a PR, or personal best. This time, I will run for Boston, and for the Glen Doherty Memorial Foundation. I’m also choosing to run the Boston Marathon on a year that is significant for all Americans. We saw what happened last year, and we are choosing to not live in fear, but to take back the streets of Boston, and do this as a team of athletes. Watching the coverage of the days leading up to the race, I’m learning this marathon is so much more than just “my” race, this is a race for the people. This is a race to honor and remember the victims of last year’s bombings and to show people who threaten our nation that we won’t stand for it. Crossing the finish line will be one of the most memorable moments of my life and I’m very honored to be a part of this historic event.

 

Read more stories from Heather Ford’s Road To Boston:

Two weeks away & 24-hour bug

It’s raining and pouring and I’m running

From the beach to Boston