Monday, October 1, 2012

Marathon Training From the Not-So-Extreme Runner

My first marathon is looming. At least it feels like it is. It’s actually three months away, but I feel like this is getting ready to be the shortest three months of my life.

The longest distance I have ever run is 14 miles, which was in preparation for my last half marathon in March. I started my marathon training program in August…I think. I’m running a half in November, so when my daughter put the program together, she started it as a half training schedule and then swapped it over to a full training schedule at some point. I’m not sure when that point was. Anyway, I’ve been adding a mile a week for the last few weeks, and I just checked my schedule and noticed that I’m getting ready to start adding two. Within the next two weeks, I’ll beat my own distance record.

A friend of mine ran the Chicago marathon. He said if I can make 13 miles, I can “trudge through” the rest. I have another friend that regularly does the Iron Man competition, and he says if you can run 26 miles in a week, you can run it in a day.

Right now, I heartily disagree with them both.

Here’s the problem: when I hit 13 miles, I’m having problems thinking of myself as being half done. At this point in my training schedule, it feels like I’m ALL done. So maybe I can trudge through another 1 or 2 or even 3 miles. But 13?  I finished my long run today, and I later tweeted that I haven’t gotten to the point where I could finish 13 miles and be okay with the fact that I was only halfway there.

Am I supposed to be feeling like I’ve got more in me? Only twice have I finished a 13 and felt like I could keep on going. I start flagging, and when I get to the last two miles, I get this little lift because I figure I only have two miles left and I could do two miles in my sleep. I just don’t let myself think about the fact that it’s a little different when that two comes at the end of eleven others. By the time I get to the last half mile, I’m practically counting my steps. And don’t even get me started on the fact that my twenty year old daughter is telling me I need to speed it up some.  

So, at three months before my first marathon, I have to admit to being intimidated. I think I can finish 26.2 miles. I might be crawling, and will undoubtedly be slower than my daughter would like, but I think I can do this. On the other hand, that’s easy to say now that my joints have been iced and I’m showered and rested. Today, by the time I hit mile 12, I wasn’t so sure. One of my twitterers told me not to let the future mileage scare me and take it one week at a time. Good advice. So this week, I’m going for 14 miles. And when I’m done, I’m going to try really hard not to think about all of the miles I’m not running yet.


  1. Congrats on taking on the challenge of your first marathon. Have faith in your training plan and the gradual distance increase in the long run. In another 6 weeks, a 10 or 12 mile run will seem short. Really.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. I sure hope so!!

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