I finally did it.
I signed up for my first marathon.
On November 20, I’ll tackle the 15th Annual Gobbler Grind in Overland Park, Kan. Learn more about the marathon at http://www.gobblergrindmarathon.com/.
I ran the Gobbler Grind Half Marathon last year. It was my second 13.1-mile race.
I’ve since run a third half marathon and several shorter races. I enjoyed and made steady improvements in each, but none challenged my fitness and schedule like preparation for the full marathon.
I’m using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I Marathon Training Program (http://www.halhigdon.com/marathon/MaraIntermediate1.html) to prepare for the 26.2-mile race. Because my last half marathon was an improvement over the prior two — and because I used Higdon’s Intermediate Half Marathon Training Program (http://www.halhigdon.com/halfmarathon/inter.htm) to prepare for it — I’m following Higdon all the way to the starting gun of my first full marathon.
My problem’s not the training plan. It’s time and energy.
Training for a full marathon requires increasingly time-consuming Long Slow Distance (LSD) runs on weekends. Today, for instance, my plan calls for a 14-mile run, which consumes about 2.5 hours with pre-run warm up and post-run stretching. I’ll be logging 20-mile LSDs, which will eat about 3.5 hours, at my training program’s peak a month before the marathon.
The other challenge of marathon preparation is energy. When one burns the candle at both ends, it’s tough to muster the stamina for quality weekday and long weekend runs. Add to that the intense summer heat, which pushes outdoor runs into the early morning and late evening hours, and it’s tough lacing the shoes and logging the miles.
Which often leads me up the familiar road to the YMCA treadmill. It’s not the most exciting venue for long weekend runs — but it’s one I’m thankful exists and is available.
My perseverance is beginning to yield small rewards. After only running twice during a three-week period earlier this summer during Boy Scout camp and family vacation, I’ve plugged back into my training regimen and am enjoying the physical demands and dividends of pushing my running to new levels.
If you’re still with me and have run a marathon, I have a question: How did you manage the increasing time and physical demands of preparing for a 26.2-miler? Hit the Leave a comment button below to share your insight.
Kansas City Runner