Normally, I am a stickler for schedules. I don't like to be late, I eat at specific times each day and I like things to be planned.
When it comes to my marathon training, following a routine is important for me. I have a daily schedule that I follow. Some days focus on hills, other days on speed and long runs simply focus on logging the miles. Saturdays are particularly regimented. As my mileage starts to get into the high teens for these long runs, it is essential to be habitual to prepare for the actual marathon. Some things work, others don't and hopefully after six months of training, I'll have a pretty good sense of how to prepare for marathon day. It doesn't always work like that, i.e. Marine Corps Marathon 2009, but for the most part, preparation and routine are keys for success.
Essential components of training for me include eating relatively the same thing the day before a long training run, wearing the same type of clothing and carrying the right fuel with me during my runs. Most runners will say that once they find what works, they rarely stray from that routine. Ask a runner who has experienced chaffing between his or her legs and you'll understand why a run without Body Glide is a recipe for disaster.
I'm not sure why, but lately, I have dismissed my very purposeful Friday meal preparations and have paid little or no attention to the potential disastrous effects of this lax behavior. In the past, Friday meals are smoothie for breakfast, turkey sandwich at lunch and pasta for dinner. In fact, I have even made sure to visit local grocery stores when traveling to make sure I don't stray from this regimen.
It is no wonder that eating a salad with steamed broccoli and chicken last night for dinner was a set up for a most uncomfortable run today. If only hindsight would have directed me to take the time to boil my pasta! At about mile six, I started to feel some discomfort in my stomach which became very noticeable by mile eight. It became extremely uncomfortable on the slightest declines and my thoughts became consumed with finding an escape route.
The decision to use a port a potty on a private residential property under construction was a HUGE REMINDER that I will NEVER stray from my routine again. I basically had to have an out of body experience to get through the horror of placing myself inside that hell box. Ironically, when I exited, I noticed a cleaning schedule, with the last occurring two days ago. (It's amazing what happens in a 48-hour time frame.) The box served its purpose, but the punishment was enough for me to start behaving again with my regimented diet.
I finished my 15-mile run, exhausted and humbled. So I got the bad poop story out of me for this training season. I seem to have one each season! Let's just hope this one is an omen for great race day!