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Learn : Marathon Story  

Running Background:

I consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for fitness. I decided to run a marathon because I'm working towards a goal of finishing at least 10 marathons, and the Kentucky Derby marathon sounded like a fun one that was within driving distance. The fact that you got to run inside Churchill Downs a week before the Kentucky Derby was a main factor as well, just because it would be a cool experience.

Training:

I trained for 3 months following a training program that I've come up with that's a blend of others I've seen on websites and magazines. I write in a 22-mile run about two weeks prior to the marathon, and subtract 2 miles each week prior until I get to a point where I match my current fitness level. For example, I currently can run about 10 miles without much training, so by backing from 22 miles down to 10 miles, I can see when I need to start training. During my training I averaged 25 miles per week.

The best training advice I can share with others is that core training is VERY important. In the marathons where I've performed best, core training (abs work) was part of my training program.

Race Day:

The 2006 Kentucky Derby Marathon was what I expected. The race was a lot of fun, with plenty of spectators at the start. It rained a bit over the first 5 miles or so, but it made it a little more interesting. The course was a little hilly - to be expected for northern KY - but not nearly so much as the Cincinnati Flying Pig marathon course. There was a lack of signage around mile 11 where the half marathoners and marathoners split off to different routes, and I ended up going the wrong way for about 100m until I heard people shouting at me that I was on the wrong route. Other than that, it was a good race. The only disappointment was that there were no end-of-race photos and the crowd at the finish line was amazingly small. Surprising for this size of a race. I missed my PR by 14 seconds, but I was very happy with how well I ran.

Recovery:

I didn't have any recovery problems. I took Double X vitamins that morning and Rhodiola about 30 minutes prior to the race, as I have for my more recent marathons. I found that I could run longer at a consistent speed, and my recovery time dropped from 4 days down to 2.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Double X Multi-Vitamin
This is most complete vitamin on the market from what I've researched, and it makes me feel more secure in knowing that I'm giving myself the best nutrition available even if my diet is lacking.
Search on qhealthzone.com

Rhodiola
Anytime I run 10 miles or more, I take two of these to help reduce fatigue during the run and reduce the recovery time over the next couple of days. This is my favorite running supplement.
Search on qhealthzone.com
Search on Amazon.com

Tips/Words of Encouragement:

To someone thinking about running a marathon I would say if you're having a tough time during your runs, it helps to visualize yourself crossing the finish line with the crowd cheering you on. I also think about all the people who would give anything just to be able to run one mile, let alone 26.2 miles (or however many you're doing on your training run). Also, when you race, put your name on your shirt. You'd be amazed at how one person saying 'Go [your name]!' at ANY time during the race will give you a boost. I also leave my iPod off during the first half of the race when there are the most supporters on the course. It's nice to hear their clapping and encouragement, and if you're one to talk to other runners, that's a good time to do it. That way, when you turn your music on around mile 15 or so, you can really start picking up the pace.

Plans to Run Another:

I'm currently training for the NYC marathon on Nov 5, 2006. It'll be my 8th marathon. Only two more after that to reach my goal of 10. For my next marathon, I'll do more core training, more hill training, and more speedwork.

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