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 has been learning the lesson of not fueling properly for the marathon distance.
I have paid 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 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 is a very long way to race for some. So, you want to ensure you hydrating well during the race. The marathon is far worse.
A 5K 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.
Drink, Don't Sip
The biggest concern for me was always worrying if I would get a cramp by drinking too much during the race.
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. In addition, taking in enough calories and paying close attention to how thirsty you feel. Are you feeling 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.
The best runners have had to deal with the same issues as you and I. So, they are no different.
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 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. 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. Furthermore, it will take you over the threshold of not finishing a marathon. The result? You will drastically improve and master the distance.