Training for a marathon is a grueling task and there are a lot of them across the country. It takes a lot of poise, determination, and diligence. Take it from Desi Linden who was the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985. Take a look at the struggles she had to go through on and off the course to claim that victory. Remember these things the next time you are thinking of running a marathon.
She was prepared for everything (even horrible weather)
During the 2018 Boston Marathon, competitors were pushed to the absolute brink of human endurance with the insane weather they had to deal with. There were high force winds, cold temperatures and a steady flow of constant rain. That only made things more difficult on an already very difficult New England course.
Despite those harsh conditions, Desi Linden was able to persevere. How she did it is very impressive.
Next: See what she had to do to succeed in one of the hardest marathons out there.
She maintained a strong core
According to Linden, the thing you need to work on the most is your core strength. She told Sports Illustrated “I’m always working on my core.” adding that she likes to do planks the most. “You have to get the core strong. If you’re a runner and have some sort of problem, it could be weak hips,” she said. Anytime you have a problem running, a physical therapist will tell you the same thing.
Next: You have to build up your ability to run a marathon. Here’s how she does it.
She built up her mileage over time
As with most everything, you can’t just jump in and expect to dominate it. The same goes for running. Start small with a few dozen miles a week. The slowly work your way up to hundred miles a week. But don’t maintain that. It’s important to come back down and give your body a break. She told SI that you should do “two or three weeks of mileage and then sprinkle in lighter workouts.”
Next: If a marathon is what you want to do, don’t get distracted with other training regiments.
She doesn’t cross-train unless she has to
If you are training for a marathon, the only thing you need to concentrate on is training for a marathon. Linden says that she doesn’t cross-train unless she has too and that is usually only when she’s hurt. Unless instructed by a doctor, it’s not important to incorporate other training regiments. Her regiment includes long distance running and core workouts.
Next: Here’s what kind of diet she had for her marathon victory.
She eats healthy, but not crazy healthy
Linden was lucky enough to spend some of her time training with Kenyan runners. They are considered to be some of the best distance runners in the world. Kenyan runners enjoy a diet primarily of Ugali which is a sort of cornmeal porage. Occasionally they would have some lamb or chicken to add some protein to their diet. Linden carries that tradition home but adds some vegetables to the mix.
Next: You may want to stay away from the fibrous foods the day before for this one disgusting reason.
The ‘Runner’s Trots’ aren’t a myth
Believe it or not, pooping yourself during a race isn’t all that uncommon. It’s not fully understood why it happens, but it does. The Mayo Clinic says it could be caused by “physical jostling of the organs, decreased blood flow to the intestines, changes in intestinal hormone secretion, increased amount or introduction of a new food, and pre-race anxiety and stress.”
Most of the time it happens after the race, but it can happen during. We don’t know if Linden has ever done it but this Olympian did it on the world stage.
Next: Not doing this one thing could very well kill you in a marathon.
She stayed properly hydrated
Marathon running is extremely taxing on the body. Add to that, there are times when it is intensely hot out. Hydration is the key to not only winning the race but surviving it.
Linden keeps her intake very regimented during a race. She consumes about 10 ounces every five kilometers with a PowerBar electrolyte for the first 20 kilometers. Then she switches to more power packed gels mixed with water for the latter part of the race.
It’s important to note that staying hydrated doesn’t mean strictly drinking water. You need your electrolytes too. Some of the deaths associated with marathon running have been caused by hyponatremia which is low sodium levels in the blood.
Next: There’s no sense in not enjoying yourself after the race, even if you just made history.
Post race, she grabs a burger and a beer
Everything leading up to a race is purely for function. Linden says her diet primarily consists of a lot of carbs and some protein. “Pre-race is food for function. Post-race is food for fun,” says Linden to SI. After the race, she likes to get burgers and beers and wants them to keep coming.
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