Nicole Trombley, owner and operator of Pillar Wellness, knows firsthand how to prepare for a marathon. Besides being a health and fitness expert, Nicole has been running since seventh grade, a career that has included Division I Track and Field in college. And, she ran her first full marathon in 2010.
“Because of my experience as a runner, I thought I would know exactly what to expect when I decided to run my first full 26.2-mile marathon,” she said. “But I was wrong. I had the all-too-common 'How hard can it be?' mentality, and did not due my full diligence during my training. I have since learned from my mistakes, have bettered my running and can now offer firsthand experience to runners who are in training for the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 3.”
Nicole offers the following tips for athletes who are lacing up and hitting the roads in preparation for their long run:
- Remember that training truly is the hardest part. The majority of runners cannot just show up on race day without having had the proper training and expect to finish without injury. Take your training seriously, and follow a program.
- Take care of your feet. Make sure you have room for foot growth so that your toes are not cramming up against the front of your shoes.
- Chaffing is for real! Regardless of your body type, parts and skin rub together when you run. If you’re running 26.2 miles, body parts and skin rub together a lot! Do yourself a favor and buy some anti-chaffing rub and get acquainted before the big day.
- Practice race fueling and hydration. It's amazing how dehydration and lack of adequate calories can affect your race by way of fatigue, cramping or the common “hitting the wall” feeling. Practice your fueling techniques ahead of your race and stay aware of how your body reacts. Adjust as necessary.
- Do not try anything new before the big day, including new shoes or clothes, tech gear, gels or even new food. Additionally, start fueling for your race two to three days prior to the race, and eat plenty of familiar whole foods and carbohydrates.
- Plan lots of recovery and restoration in the post-race week. Most people think that massages are an indulgence, but after a major physical event, they can really aid in your recovery. Plan a massage a few days post-race, but be sure to ask around for a reputable referral, preferably someone who has knowledge of sports massage and lymph drainage.
- Prepare yourself mentally. Anyone who has ever run a marathon knows that most of the race is mental. And it gets tough. If you are like most runners, there will be some part of those miles that you will feel like stopping, question your sanity or even stop, cry and hide in the porta potty. Practice self-affirmations, plant friends and family along the race route, pray and remind yourself of how hard you have worked to get to this point.
- It is okay to stop to use the bathroom. Even the best runner have to stop and go sometimes.
- Marathons are emotional. And it is okay to get emotional. You are asking your body to do a lot of work, perhaps something it has never done before. Just remind yourself that whatever you are feeling is okay.
- Have fun! Enjoy the music, slap hands, see who you know along the route and try your best to relax.
- Use the energy of the crowd to your advantage. It makes a huge difference when people are so friendly, encouraging and truly excited for YOU!
For more information about Nicole Trombley or Pillar Wellness, call 412.414.9438 or visit www.pillarwellness.com.