Lessons Learned from Marathon Training

Hey there!

While my training for this marathon has been less than ideal because of my EHL strain, my mom has been powering through the plan (an intermediate level Hal Higdon plan for any curious runners out there), and doing fantastic! In today’s post, she is sharing some of the lessons she has learned since stepping up the mileage for the marathon.

Lessons Learned While Training For a Marathon - Adventures of a Mother-Daughter Running Duo

  1. Walk

We did a little more research to prepare for this marathon than we had done when training for our first half, and so after a runner friend of Nora’s dad recommended a couple of  books, we were on our way. We settled on Jeff Galloway’s running /walking method. (Galloway says the mix of running and walking is what prevents injury – despite all the added miles – and that appealed to me!)

I decided to try running a one mile followed by walking a minute – and this interval seems to work for me. It’s gotten me through a 17, an 18, and a 20 mile run (a little more about this one later). Even after running further than I ever have before, I ended the runs feeling great, and more importantly, I was able to walk just fine the next day.

Don't be afraid to incorporate walk breaks into your marathon training

(I also decided to keep taking my walk breaks during the shorter runs during the week, reasoning that since the goal was to keep my legs fresh for the long run on the weekend, it couldn’t hurt to take it easier during these hot, humid mornings. Which brings me to the second thing I learned: WATER.

Hydrating properly is key.

  1. Water

Drink it! One of the other books we looked at encouraged runners to walk through the water stops as they hydrate. (I like this because it’s hard for me to drink and run at the same time. Without choking at least.) So in addition to carrying a bottle on the longer runs, I started carrying a small bottle on short runs, and sipping as I took my one minute walking break. What I discovered was that, between the walk breaks, and sipping some water, I could run between 4-8 miles on a hot, humid summer morning and still feel really good, whereas in the past, I would have been drained and cranky.  I was also surprised to discover  that when I looked at my watch, I was only off my normal pace by 20 to 30 seconds, so despite the walk break, my times were pretty similar.

Make sure you're eating nutritious meals with plenty of carbohydrates.

  3. Food

Eat it! Training for the half marathon three summers ago, Nora and I just did some carbo-loading the night before and that was about it. But for this race, we had purchased Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners, and began paying close attention to what we ate – and how much –  and making sure we had good snacks, especially some carbs, frequently during the day.

Nancy Clark's Food Guide For Marathoners

But as it happened, on the two consecutive days before my scheduled 20 mile run, I had “special outings.” I ended up eating late lunches (in one case just pizza, so not balanced) and then just having ice cream for dinner!! (this is occasionally something that happens in our household). Now these are not things you have to avoid when training for a marathon, but these meals were not complete and so I learned the hard way that my muscles hadn’t been fueled properly. At about mile 12 of my 20 mile run, I felt my legs tiring, and even a few cramps. This was surprising to me since I had run the 17 and 18 mile runs without any discomfort!  I kept fueling during the run, and managed to keep a positive attitude all the way to the finish. But later that day, as I realized I had messed up my diet during the two previous days, I realized just how important it is to  maintain  a good diet. This Sunday, I will make sure I eat balanced and nutritious meals in the days leading up to my last 20 miler before the race.  And lastly: Ice.

Ice your feet during marathon training.

  1. Ice

Though I haven’t been able to have a full-on ice bath yet, I have enjoyed filling a basin with water, some ice, and a couple of my frozen Dassani water bottles (I also use these alone sometimes, rolling them  under my feet as I watch TV). This modest ice bath feels really great after a hard run, and though it can’t help with the blackened toenails  (that’s what dark red nail polish is for), it cools your toes and feet,  and gives you an excuse to sit back and relax and think about how amazing it is that you’ve just run so far!!

18 Miles during marathon training

20 miles during marathon training

So there you go! Have a wonderful long weekend (and maybe go for some long runs if you can!) 🙂

Tips for Gear Check

Good morning! 🙂

Recently, I volunteered doing bag check at a pretty big race, the Dirty Girl Mud Run. There were waves of runners heading out every 15 minutes from 8 AM through 2 PM. That equals a whole lot of runners, most of whom, needed to check bags so that they would be able to change into clean clothes after the race. While I was volunteering and doing my best to make sure everyone had a positive experience, I realized there were some do’s and don’ts for choosing and packing a bag to check.

Just to clarify, as a volunteer I was responsible for taking people’s bags and putting them in the proper location by bib number, and when people came back later to collect their bag, they had to enter the tent, find their own bag, then show security their bib and the tag on their bag with matching bib number. This meant people had to find their own bags, which was an easier process for some and a little more stressful for others. So, without further ado…

How to Pack a Bag to Check at a Race

  1. DO – Choose a brightly colored bag. Wanna know how many people own a black backpack? A BILLION. And then some. Try finding your black backpack among a sea of other black backpacks and see how calm you manage to stay! Some runners even used their kid’s Dora the Explorer backpacks. While you might feel silly, those cartoons really stand out later on when you’re hunting down your bag.Trying to find a bag at bag check at a race
  2. DON’T – Select a bag with an open top. You’re much better off with a backpack or a duffel bag with a zipper, anything that you can easily shut. That way if your bag accidentally tips over, your cell phone and personal belongings won’t all spill out for everyone to see. There’s no more sure-fire way to ruin a race day than losing your phone/wallet/keys.It's not a good idea to select a bag with an open top for gear check
  1. DO – Wait a second and try to watch the general area where the volunteer puts your bag. It might be tempting to run off to get to the starting area, but just taking thirty seconds to get a sense of where your bag is (towards the front/back/middle, far left/right) will make it precisely 1,000.3% easier for you to find your bag later. And that’s a fact. (Sidenote: 92.7% of statistics are made up on the spot. This one wasn’t.) dude ready
  2. DON’T – Freak out if you can’t find your bag right away. With thousands of runners, putting a bag or two in the wrong spot can happen. Politely ask a volunteer for a little help, and you’ll have your bag in no time (even less if you followed Tip #1 and your bag is very distinct!).
  3. DO – Collect your own bag after, don’t send yourhusband/boyfriend/sister/wife/cousin to get it for you! This is just for security, even if that person says they’re related to you and are just trying to help out, the race officials don’t know that and don’t want anything to end up getting stolen, so they probably won’t give them the bag anyway! Just bring your bib and come on over to grab your bag yourself.
  4. And finally, DO – thank your volunteers. (I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating! :))Always thank the volunteers at a race

Tips for Running with a Buddy

Happy Monday, hope everyone had a fantastic weekend!

Saturday was a fun day for us, as my mom did her first muddy obstacle-course 5K, the Dirty Girl Mud Run! I volunteered at the race, so we were both busy, but it was a lot of fun (and yes, my mom got very muddy!). I promise, a full recap is coming! 🙂

Today, I wanted to post about something different though.


As you may have gathered by now, my mom and I run together on a pretty regular basis. We have run countless races together, as well as a whole lot of training runs. I love the accountability of running with someone. When we make a plan to get up at 6:30 to go for an early morning run, it’s a lot easier to crawl out of bed, knowing that my mom will be doing the same. It can be so easy to just hit that snooze button when you’re alone.

But running with a partner also has its challenges. Let’s face it, we all haveTHOSE days. The ones where you’re just a little bit grumpier than normal, where you just want to walk every two seconds it seems like. Or maybe it’s just the opposite – your legs feel great and you just wanna tear it up on your run… but maybe the person you’re running with isn’t really feelin’ up to that crazy pace.

Tips for Running with a friend. 2 Generations Running

After running together for so long, I feel like my mom and I have developed a pretty darn good system, so I thought I would share some of our tips for running with another person, friend or family!

Be Honest. How to Run with a buddy. 2 Generations Running.Tip #1 – Be completely honest with each other. I tell my mom when I’m hoping to PR in a race, so it’s no surprise! We usually start together, and then when I’m ready to push the pace a bit, we say our goodbyes and I tell her that I’ll meet her at the finish line. Same goes for training runs. When you need to walk, tell the other person – don’t just struggle on, silently becoming more and more frustrated with your running buddy!

  • Tip #1B – Discuss pace with your running partner BEFORE you start running. If you’ve never run a 7:30/mile before, and your partner wants to run that pace for 5 miles, it’s a recipe for disaster. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, but be honest if you think the pace might be a little fast and that you might have to slow down after a while.

Tip 2 - be ok with silence. How to run with a buddy. 2 Generations RunningTip #2 – Be ok with a comfortable silence. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to talk! My mom and I have talked about a whole lot of stuff while running. But as we tack on more miles, we’ll frequently fall into silence. That quiet often enhances the meditative aspects of running, so don’t feel like you have to force conversation.

Tip 3 - Agree on the route. How to run with a buddy. 2 Generations RunningTip #3 – Agree on the route. My mom and I each have a route that we consider “our” route. 🙂 While I run my mom’s favorite route a lot of the time, I sometimes get bored and need to switch things up. On those days, I’ll run my route. Sometimes, my mom will come with me and sometimes she sticks with her route. If you and your running buddy ALWAYS run the same route and you’re starting to feel like you’re going to lose your mind if you have to run down that dirt road/past that blue house/through that totally shade-lacking cul de sac, then BE HONEST (See Tip #1)! Maybe your running partner feels the same way, and is only running the route because he/she thinks that’s what you want!

And when I asked my mom to think of a few tips, here’s what she came up with-

How to run with a buddy. 2 Generations Running.When running with a partner or buddy, always be gracious, which means:

Tip #4 – When your buddy asks to “borrow” your tissue, hand it over with a smile, even though your buddy has stated definitively that she won’t need one.

Tip #5 – Share your water bottle, even though your running buddy says it’s just a short run and he/she won’t get thirsty

Tip #6 – Try to get your running buddy to wear sunscreen, even when he/she tells you there isn’t any sun. (It’s never too early to worry about sun damage and those pesky wrinkles.)

Tip #7 – Buy your running buddy cool running paraphernalia to make up for all the times you make her late by grabbing tissues, filling water bottles, or putting on sunscreen.


So there you go! 🙂 Go grab your sneakers and a bud and get running!

Volunteering and Running at the Dirty Girl Mud Run

DISCLAIMER: Dirty Girl Mud Run comped our registration fee in exchange for reviewing their race. All opinions are our own.

Happy Friday Everyone!

As I mentioned in my last post, this past weekend, my mom and I participated in an awesome new race for us- a mud run! I wish I could say I ran it, it looks like it would have been AMAZING. I joked to my mom that I feel like this race was designed for me, because as a little kid, we used to go on family hikes and I always thought they were boring, unless there was, as I liked to call it “an adventure crossing”. By that I meant, having to cross a little flooded area on a fallen tree or other similar obstacles. I thought they were exciting.

So I will have to do a Dirty Girl Mud Run at some point, because last weekend, I opted to get a different taste of the race experience by volunteering at bag check for the race. At a race like this, checking a bag is pretty much a must, because you get super muddy out on the course, and it’s not all that fun to drive home like that. This race did have shower and changing stations set up to help solve that problem too.

I didn’t really know what to expect as a volunteer. I was a little nervous about it honestly! While it was a bit of a long day, it actually ended up being pretty fun (and I learned a few tips for the bag check process that I’m putting together in another post!). My job was to help out runners who came to check their bags, making sure they had filled out and attached the bag check tags to their bags with a safety pin, and then putting it in the proper area by bib number. After that, I got a new “job”, where I was responsible for directing the runners who had completed the race over to the side entrance of the tent where they would enter to collect their bags. That was kinda fun! I just had to keep an eye out for anyone who was extremely muddy and point them in the right direction. 🙂 I also helped out when runners had difficulties finding their bags.

Volunteering at a race (instead of running in it) was definitely a new experience for me! There are so many small details that go into putting on a great race (water stops, bag checks, and parking just to name a few…) and so many of these aspects are taken care of by volunteers. Running a race can be such a wonderful and empowering experience – if it’s well-done. And that quality can come right down to the volunteers. So next time you race, shoot a smile at your volunteers and thank them. It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way. 🙂

It's always a good idea to smile and thank the volunteers at a race.

And what my mom had to say about actually RUNNING the Dirty Girl Mud Run~

Tips for Your First Mud Run. 2 Generations Running

So the Dirty Girl run in Amesbury, Mass was my first experience with an obstacle course event.   Originally, I thought this race was kind of expensive, but after seeing  what the “course” entails, I realize all the work that goes into setting up an obstacle course event, compared to a regular “5 or 10k,” so in hindsight, it actually is pretty reasonable (if you’re looking for an obstacle-course type race!).

My mom posing after the Dirty Girl Mud Run

Also, this is a really great race to do with a group of friends (or even bridesmaids!), or an activity to do during a family reunion weekend. Then you have tons of stories and pictures to look at and laugh over later on.  (Because Nora had already signed up as a volunteer, I was tackling this new adventure on my own, and thinking, as I reached each new obstacle, “Nora would love this!!”  (Ok, at some of the obstacles – like the really tall rope net – the thought process was more like, “I’m too old for this…why am I here when Nora would love this…” but those are just details.

Conquering the ropes net at the Dirty Girl Mud Run!

Conquering the ropes obstacle at the Dirty Girl Mud Run

So that being said, here are a few tips just in case you – being either young or old, daring or squeamish,  ever want to become a Dirty Girl:

IT'S best to arrive early to a dirty girl mud run

Because Nora was scheduled for an 8 AM shift, I set off with the 8:15 wave of ladies. A new wave sets off every 15 minutes, and this went on until 2 PM.  My wave was small compared to some of the waves that set out later, and those waves were all pretty full, until the last few, so that means lots and lots of participants. This is a popular event, so try to aim for an earlier wave!

Even at the early hour, there were enough ladies for great camaraderie, but not so many of us as to make things too crazy on the obstacles themselves, some of which you really need to have a bit of space between you and the next person.

Also, things really backed up at the “shower” station – the portion of the parking lot set up to help you rinse off the worst of the mud.  Things moved along pretty quickly when I was there about 9:30, but by 11:30, there was a huge line and I heard someone say they had waited an hour before getting to the hoses! By this time, I imagine things in the changing tent must have been pretty crowded, too. Still, they didn’t run out of water, which would have been the real disaster! (Trust me, you do not want to get into your car until you have had a chance to clean up!)

What to wear to a Dirty Girl Mud Run

There were a lot of tutus and costumes of all sorts, which made it fun to see, but I noticed some interesting accessories and afterwards I understood why.

Some of the ladies had duck-taped there sneakers on – and eventually I realized this was to make sure they didn’t get “sucked off” in the mud.  (If you were to lose a shoe in some of those mud and water filled basins, finding it again could prove difficult.)

Climbing through Mud at the Dirty Girl Mud Run

Also, some of the ladies were wearing gloves. Some of the course involves crawling on your hands and knees in mud that is full of small stones, as well as doing rope-net obstacles, so I realized pretty early on that those gloves were a really good idea.  And if it’s not too hot, wear long, or capri length pants, to protect your knees and your bottom as you slide down that 20 foot inflatable slide into a basin of water and mud. (I was wearing shorts and when I saw one of the staff photographers under the rope net, I really REALLY wished I had worn long pants, but luckily none of the pictures were too embarrassing.)

So overall, it was a fun and challenging event – one I know that Nora would love as well as all the other adventurous runners out there! So, have we piqued your interest enough?! If you’re excited and ready to give this fun race a try, I’ve got a special offer just for you guys! 🙂 When you go to register, use the codeBLOGFRIEND at checkout for $10 off your registration.


Have a great weekend! 🙂