I consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for fitness. I decided to run a marathon because it's something I've always wanted to do. I really got interested and serious when I watched the Lincoln Marathon in 2004. The Lincoln Marathon route went right by our house and watching all of the different runners was really exciting. I always thought that a marathon was only for elite runners, but after watching all of the different runners I realized that almost anyone can do it.
I trained for 5 months following Hal Higdon's Novice Program. During my training I averaged about 20 miles per week. For people thinking about running a marathon I would make sure you run your long runs slow and remember that rest is very important. Throughout my training I was always very concerned about trying to hit my goal times on runs. I really think the key -- particularly on long runs -- is just to make sure you do the distance and don't get injured.
The 2004 Chicago Marathon was about what I expected. The weather was great and the atmosphere was incredible. I couldn't believe how many people were out supporting the runners and how crowded the street was at the starting line. With almost 40,000 runners, I probably should have expected it to be crowded. I read a lot of stories about people hitting the "wall" which I never did. I didn't meet my time goal of running it in less than 4 hours, but I did finish which was really what I was shooting for.
My recovery wasn't bad. I stretched and walked after and I probably should have iced. Overall my recovery was pretty good.
Running Gear Recommendations:
Saucony 3D Grid Running Shoes
Running shoes with LOTS of stability.
I used this at about mile 8 and it seemed to help.
Good running shorts that dry quickly are a must.
Tips/Words of Encouragement:
To someone thinking about running a marathon I would say you really can do it! You'll see people of all shapes and sizes running marathons. I believe that if you stick with a realistic plan, anyone (or almost anyone) can complete a marathon.
Plans to Run Another:
I plan to run another marathon because I really enjoyed the experience. Some of the long mid-week training runs were tough to get motivated for, but on race day you'll be glad you put in the miles. The next time I run a marathon I'm going to train harder with more mileage and really try to not skip any of the mid-week runs. I'll also think about running a marathon that is a little smaller. The Chicago experience was incredible, but because there were so many runners I felt like I was forced to adjust my pace throughout the race to "jockey" for position.
From: Lincoln, NE (Male)
Occupation: Web Developer
Age on race day: 33
2004 Chicago Marathon
This was my 1st marathon
and I finished in 4:15:14.