Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Dynamic Lifestyle | Lessons from my last marathon

Published:Monday | October 24, 2016 | 10:00 AM
Patrice White before the marathon.
The day ended with White on crutches.
Ending up in the hospital wasn’t part of her plan but she learnt some valuable lessons.
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I'm baaaaack - back to life and back to reality.

Last weekend, five members of Sonic Steppers Running Club and I braved the cold and rain to conquer the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and trust me, it was a real trek!

It was also extremely eye-opening. It taught me so many lessons that I want to share with you today, so that you not only get the best results on your first or next marathon, but also learn a few things we can adopt in the Jamaican context as well. Least to say, I ended up in the hospital.

So, here goes: These are my top five lessons learnt.

1. Stay hydrated ALWAYS

One of the first questions the doctor asked me as I lay under the IV was, "Did you hydrate before the race?" I blushed and hurriedly said "No". It's something I know I should have never taken for granted as a runner.

The trick about a long-distance run is that it puts your body under severe pressure. It typically takes anywhere between two (for elite runners) to six hours for a runner to complete a marathon. What this means is that the body needs higher than normal levels of hydration - before, during and

post-race.

Electrolytes are lost and the pure pressure on the body requires specific care and attention. Ensure that as you prepare for your first or next marathon, that hydration is a key aspect of your routine.

2. Training schedule

Ensure that you have a comprehensive training schedule. Here's why this is important: the body needs to shift its focus from one of mere running (your typical 5k/10k) to the most challenging run of your life. It's about endurance and pushing past your perceived limitations. This must be done systematically, regularly, and it has to be shifted every so often. The aim is to intertwine cross-fit and muscle-building exercises into your routine, so that your entire body is ready. I suggest

times for meditation and mental strength building capacity listen to motivational tapes, do massages and yoga and ensure that you are fully prepared. The thing I've learnt about marathons is that the better you prepare both your mind and body, the easier it is to follow through and produce your best time.

3. Listen to your body

There is nothing more reckless for a runner than to ignore the tell-tale signs that you may not be ready for the next race. These include, but are not limited to, on and off joint pains in the knees, ankles and lower back, muscle spasms, cramps or severe pain three miles into the race. Often, our adrenaline is running so high, we begin to believe our own feelings of invincibility, and the next thing you know you end up in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.

4. Dress comfortably

I learnt a very interesting lesson in Toronto. There I wore compression clothing, which typically I do not run in, and in the cold it affected the circulation in my legs. Lesson learnt - always run comfortably dressed. If you typically run in compression clothing (which you should not, as it restricts blood flow), then continue running in the same type of clothing that you train in. In my case, I thought using the compression clothing would assist with keeping me warm. Unfortunately, it did not. As you run and the blood flow increases, compression clothing restricts the blood flow and range of movement. I recommend you wear this immediately after a marathon and not during. While the purported benefits include soaking moisture away, it's best to use post-race to relieve pain from muscle stiffness and soreness.

5. Get a road ID

Something I would love for you to consider when preparing for your marathon is getting road identification. It's a simple bracelet that can be engraved with your name, address, and at least two emergency contact numbers. This gives you peace of mind if anything should happen to you while on your way to the finish line. You can visit www.roadid.com to get more information about the bracelet and how you can order one.

That's it for this week! It was a rough time at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon but I'll use these lessons for the next marathon outing. Let's hope you use these tips too. It could mean the difference between recovery and excruciating pain.

Experience the Dynamic Lifestyle Burn 90 Bootcamp Style every Saturday at our Training Studio, 4 Hillcrest Avenue ,Kingston 6, 5:30 a.m. Your body will thank you for it! Only $1,500. Call: 876-GETTFIT (876-438-8348) for more info.

- Patrice J. White is a certified fitness, lifestyle, and transformation coach, founder and president of the Sonic Steppers Running Club. Email: info@patricejwhite.com; Instagram: @dynamiclifestyleja; Twitter @patricejwhite; Facebook @dynamiclifestyleja; Give her a call at 876-GETTFIT (876-438-8348).