You only get to run your first marathon once. But if I could do it all again, there are definitely some things I'd do differently.
What I did right:
• I was ambitious. Deciding to run a marathon and find out what you're made of is a good thing, in my book.
• I decided to write about my mission. By making a public commitment, my motivation level was cranked up several notches.
• I fueled my training with complex carbohydrates, including lots of whole grains, as advised by sports nutrition consultant Nancy Clark.
• I listened to medical experts when I got hurt. Despite my eagerness to train, I rested my ankle and followed the prescribed rehabilitation program to reduce the risk of further injury.
What I did wrong:
• I was too ambitious. Had I trained at a 9-minute-per-mile pace, it's quite likely I would have avoided injury and still had a fair chance at finishing in under four hours.
• I failed to seek even basic advice. The mistakes I made were common first-timer errors that were eminently preventable.
• I let my ego rule. Aching thighs were an early warning that I was going too fast, but I paid no heed. Now I'll be attempting a marathon having never gone further than 16 miles in one outing.