How to Listen to Your Body When Training for a Marathon

Happy Friday! So glad you stopped by today for my second Fit Friday post and an update on my half marathon training. If you missed my first post on the 10 Things You Need to Know to Start Training for a Half Marathon, be sure to check it out! Today’s post is all about learning to listen to your body. I am constantly learning and researching how to do this and want to let you all join in on my journey.

4 tips to listening to your body that will change the way you run and how quickly you recover!

My family always teases me that I am more in tune with my body than anyone they know. While I do think listening to my body comes easy for me, it’s knowing what to do about those aches and pains that’s put me on a learning curve. Last week was my first official week of training and y’all, it did not go well. I stopped multiple times throughout my first 3 runs due to rib pain. I felt discouraged and embarrassed as I struggled only to hear my husband was decreasing his pace with each run.

After a bit of brainstorming and trying to figure out what was going on, I reached a conclusion. I had been running with a new sports bra to keep my ladies secure and while it did just that, it also kept me from taking deep breaths. This minor thing had become a road block for me both physically and mentally. So, I made a slight change and wore a different bra this week. And how has running been this week? Night and day. It’s kind of amazing how something so small as how tight your bra is can truly impact your runs.

The other thing that’s been a struggle has been my IT band. This is a struggle every time I train for a half, it’s just rearing it’s ugly head a bit early this time. My first two runs I was good about doing stretches, but I didn’t after my long run and it was a big mistake. I was in pain for the next 24 hours or so. It reminded me how important it is that we stretch and take care of our bodies during recover. My last two runs I’ve made sure to stretch and diligently roll out my IT band afterward. It’s made the biggest difference.

So, what I’ve learned so far during these two weeks of training is that listening to your body is key. Sometimes even the smallest adjustments can make the biggest impacts during training. Things like drinking your water, not drinking wine during the week, or wearing the right bra can all impact your runs. So, I wanted to share some tips I’ve been using with you guys below. As always, be sure to let me know if you have any good ones, too!

Listen to Your Body & Adjust:

  • MAKE SMALL SHIFTS – this is hard, especially if you’re type A like me and already have a perfect little training plan planned out. This week I’ve learned that these small little shifts make a world of a difference. For example, changing my bra decreased my rib pain and increased by breath support. Running in the mornings rather than the evenings allowed for more shade and cooler Dallas temps and in turn a better run. Even switching where I was running (lake v. neighborhood) has made my runs easier. So, don’t be afraid to make changes!
  • STRETCH – y’all, I can’t stress this one enough. When running long distances, you’re putting strain on your muscles and working them harder than normal. Be sure you’re stretching before and most definitely after. Here are 10 great exercises to use with the roller. These exercises make a world of a difference for me.
  • WATER – it’s crazy that this can impact your run, but it can and does. Last week I didn’t pay attention to this tip very closely and had wine a couple of the nights, too. Y’all know how that worked out for me last week… This week though, I’ve eliminated alcohol during the week and kept up with my water intake. It’s made for some great runs!
  • SLEEP – this may seem obvious, but this can be hard to follow through on. As I run longer and longer distances I’ve found I feel exhausted on my running days. Rather than powering through, I’ve been trying to listen to my body and go to bed early on my running days. It’s helped a lot!