Not finishing a marathon
Below I have attached 5 things I learned that vitally helped me in the long run by not finishing a marathon.
The toughest experiences of my sporting career, thus far, has been learning the hard lesson of not fueling properly for the marathon distance. I have payed the heavy price of not taking this as seriously as I could in the past.
Have you been there? Does thing ring true in your own experiences?
Failing to hydrate and fuel properly is the absolute worst thing you can do, especially at the marathon distance.
It is one thing to pass up fluid stations in a 5K. You can get away with that. 3.1 miles, for some, is a very long way to race, but if the individual decides on grabbing one cup the entire race the negative effects from it aren't as easily noticeable.
The race will be over before you know it, not finishing a marathon can be prevented.
The marathon, on the other hand, is a whole different animal. I don't know about you but the biggest concern for me was always worrying if I would get a cramp by drinking too much during the race.
Well, from some very hard lessons I learned at the 2007 Grandmas and Chicago Marathons, worrying about a cramp has not been an issue since. That being said, I have still battled with getting in enough fluid and gels in my system during the classic 26.2 mile distance.
Running well in the marathon demands that you take drinking enough water, taking in enough calories and paying close attention to how thirsty you feel. If you feel thirsty during your race, you are already in the hole.
I want to briefly discuss 5 things that I learned from the three DNF's I have had to deal with. I am sure the great's of the sport such as Bill Rodgers, Haile Gebressalassie and Paula Radcliffe (to name only a few), who have also had to pull out of world-class marathons have had similar feelings.
A Few Pointers About Not Finishing A Marathon
1. Keep a DNF in check. It isn't the end of the world.
Sure, not finishing a marathon sucks. It feels awful, especially if you worked extremely hard to prepare for it.
Learn from your mistakes and move on. It is just running, a race, and there are plenty of races to replace an off day.
2. You are working at far less of your capability by neglecting hydration.
This should be a no-brainer for runners, but unfortunately, far too many of us still do not take this as seriously as we should. Water stations are there for a reason. Don't grab just one cup as you run by, take two.
The majority of the time half the cup spills over as soon as you hand goes to grab it from one of the volunteers. My best advice to you on this, grab two, even three cups as you run by the water stations.
Do not wait until mile 13 to grab a cup of water. Take gels! It is 100-120 calories in your bloodstream almost instantly. In comparison, it takes drinking down an entire bottle of gatorade to equal the same amount of calories.
Grab water, if you can, while ingesting a gel, as this will assist in your body getting it to your muscles faster and will take you over the threshold of not finishing a marathon to drastically improving and mastering the distance.