Do you remember your first marathon? Are you training for your first marathon?
Running a marathon is a big commitment, and for a lot of runners it’s the ultimate achievement. We had a chat with two marathon enthusiasts to get their perspective on training for your first marathon. Meghann just celebrated her third anniversary of her first marathon and Krysten just committed to training for her first marathon which she’ll run this fall.
Meghann from Meals and Miles ran the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon as her first. She trained with and fundraised for Team in Training. Three years later she’s run six marathons AND an ultra marathon. Go Meghann!
Why did you decide to run your first marathon?
“I decided to run my first marathon after volunteering as a screaming fan at mile 22 of the Disney marathon in January 2009. I had a vague idea that I wanted to run a marathon “someday” and after spending 7 hours cheering on runners of all shapes and sizes still pushing themselves after 22 miles of being on their feet was inspired. I figured if they could do it, then I could too. I signed up within the next couple of weeks to run my first.”
What was your biggest fear before running your first?
“That I wouldn’t finish. When you train for a charity with a team, you have so many people relying on you to finish the race. It’s a lot of pressure, but it’s also what pushed me to the finish line in the end.”
What’s the biggest change you’ve made 3 years later?
“I train with a goal now. My first marathon was all about the experience, but once you do one, you start thinking about how you can do the next one faster. I train harder now and have since shaved over 30 minutes from my original finish time.”
What advice would you give someone who wants to sign up / train for their first marathon?
“Do your first one for the experience. Take away all the pressure of time and just enjoy the ride. Bring a camera, take photos, and have fun!”
Speaking of first timers … Krysten from The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail has recently declared her intentions for her first marathon – the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. This year she is trying to overcome her less than stellar genetics by dedicating 2012 to eating a clean diet and focusing on her general well-being. She is beating heart disease, breast cancer, and genetics all while striving for the coveted marathon glory.
Why did you decide to train for your first marathon?
“Running is where I do battle with my genetic demons. Running for me is a challenge, and a competition that I have with myself. And it is the way I chose to take control of body and my health.I just ran my first half marathon this past March – actually the day before my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. It was a throw down against BRCA (the breast cancer gene).
So I am dubbing my first marathon my “battle royal” against genetics. Because the truth is, as much as my battle with BRCA is over, my battle with genetics rages on.
With Long QT Syndrome (my heart condition) there is no quick fix. This is something I will have to manage for the rest of my life. And while I will spare you the details – that task gets more difficult and more complex with each passing year. Genetics has an iron clad grip on my body, but not my spark. This race is about channeling that inner spark. This race is a statement.”
What’s your biggest fear?
“I am scared that my body won’t cooperate. I am talking about running 42 km. Can we just take a moment, pause, and appreciate how crazy that number is?! That is a long, long, long way to run. And it is going to require a lot of training. So admittedly I am nervous that my genetically defective body is not going to be able to do it.”
What resources are you using to prepare / make a training plan?
“I have a lot of awesome running buddies (mostly in the online world – Fitfluential Power) who are helping me create a training plan. These runners are much faster and much more talented than I am, so I am so grateful for all their advice and encouragement. Michelle from NYC Running Mama and Amanda from Miss Zippy 1 helped me train for my half marathon, and have been encouraging me to take the marathon plunge.
I also love the resources available at Runner’s World and LiveStrong. They have a lot of great tips, techniques, and recipes.”
How do you think your training will differ for this than other races?
“I definitely learned some important lessons while training for my half marathon, so I plan to change my training accordingly. I have 3 major changes I want to make,
1. Nutrition is important. I know that should be obvious, but I slacked big time in this area while training for my half. I used all my running as an excuse to eat anything I wanted (aka lots of junk), but this time I plan to focus more on my fuel.
2. My defective little ticker needs a long time to train – longer than most. I need to run the full distance several time for my body to really get comfortable running it. I only trained for 8 weeks before my half marathon, and that wasn’t enough time. I think I will do better with a longer training period, so this time I am giving myself 5 months. I am hoping that will make a big difference.
3. I am going to incorporate strength training into my marathon training. Last time around I focused on logging miles, which is obviously necessary, but I want to work on increasing muscle as well as my endurance this time around.”
Have you run many marathons like Meghann? Or ready to train for your first like Krysten?