After Action Review-Marathon

March 31, 2008

Way back when I was in the army, after field exercises and training, we used to have an AAR, After Action Review. This was a time to review what went right and what went wrong and basically, how can we learn from our mistakes. Back then, I didn’t appreciate them too much, I think mainly because at my rank, I was very unaware of the bigger picture.

ING Marathon finisher medal and shirt

Happily now, I can do an after action review on my own stuff and since I know the whole picture, I can pretend to be objective about it and critique myself. Normally, this is an internal dialog where I tell myself how great I am and never do anything wrong. However, in this case, I thought I’d continue talking about my marathon and share with you what I thought went right and wrong.

– I don’t think I’ll do a road race again with racing flats. I think the lighter shoes made a huge difference both in this race and the 17 road miles I did on Feb 29th. I’d recommend running a couple miles in them to get used to ’em before your race, because they do feel different. (If you’re a severe pronator, you’ll have to think about how to do this since these don’t generally have a lot of medial support.) Look for them on sale, since they’ll probably only last for a 100 miles.

– Dress for the weather. I thought about wearing a light sweater I have (made of suitably breathable material and all), but decided against it because I didn’t want to overheat. Given that I was expecting to get wet, I should have worn it and either tossed it or wrapped around my waist if I got too hot. My shoulders are about as sore as my legs today, I think mainly because I spent the entire race hunched up against the cold.

– Stretching and strength training. I used to think just running is enough to train for running. But over the last couple months I’ve realized other types of training, be it weights, cross training, stretching or whatever, it makes a big difference. Likewise, I’ll probable start adding in more standard running drills, such as fartleks and speed drills or sorts.

– Long runs. As I may have mentioned before, my training this time was completely different than a standard regiment. The longest run I did was around 13.5 miles. However, I was doing back-to-back runs. This meant I’d go do 10 miles one day and 8 the next. Or in the case of my longest one, I did 8.5+8.5 in the same day with a few hours in between and 13 the next. I like this routine. Time wise it’s easier to fit in and its a lot easier on the body. However, next time I’ll do longer ones (like 13+13, or 18+10). This should prepare me for the last 8 miles better than I was prepared this time.

– Take paper and a pen. I thought about it this time, but didn’t do it. Sometimes I want to jot down names or bib numbers so when I do a recap later I can remember who I talked to. Or even just to look up someone else’s finish time…there’s probably a better way to do this, or I should just stop being so social, but it’s part of what I enjoy.

– Try to hydrate better. I need to figure out how to do gels without getting that ball of sugar in my stomach. The pretzels helped, so maybe I need to carry a small bag of them with me to eat.

– One thing I am absolutely thrilled with is ending up with no chafing and blisters! Even after soaking my feet in a puddle before the race started, I had no problems. Yup, and to me, that makes for a successful race. One thing I did was carry a tiny container of vaseline and some paper towels, just in case. I actually stopped at mile 16 to put a dab on the the ball of one foot as preventative measures, but I don’t think I would have actually gotten a blister. When lubing up in the morning, I went all out. No skimping anywhere, and I think that’s the key.

That’s about it…

Oh, if anyone is interested, I was bib 2747. (If you want to go look at pictures or anything. They’re not posted yet, so I don’t have a link.) Feel free to say hi if you recognize me. 🙂