Note from Editor: Stephen is an author and a runner. Check out his web site to learn more about him and his book, Breaking Stride.
I consider myself an advanced runner and I primarily run for competition. I decided to run a marathon because I was in great shape following a bad first marathon at Grandma's in Duluth where I was gunning for a 2:45.
I didn't follow a specific training plan. I trained for 4 months and my mileage ranged from 40-65 miles per week. Generally I kept the running to five days a week with several multiple run days. My basic weekly pattern was one long run 16-22 miles, one mid-length tempo run 10-14 miles, one interval workout, plus slow and easy filler runs. Looking back at my training, I probably tapered too soon (three weeks out).
The 2004 Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon wasn't quite what I expected. It was four months following a miserable run at Grandma's Marathon in June. At that one I'd bonked at mile 12 and spent the rest of the race getting passed by old ladies and people with severe orthopedic conditions on my way to 3:40. Not a good time with a goal of 2:45 coming in.
I didn't have any recovery problems except I probably started training too soon following the race. I was back into light training within two weeks, but the week after that is what killed me.
Running Gear Recommendations:
Tips/Words of Encouragement:
To someone thinking about running a marathon I would say when it all goes to hell in the marathon just remember, "Keep putting one foot in front of the other." And don't go out too fast!
Plans to Run Another:
I've started intense physical therapy with the help of a sport's med physician in the hopes of doing more marathons. We have an aggressive plan to deal with my problem tendons and my goal is to get in enough mileage to run in the 2007 Lakefront Marathon. It may be a bit more cross training oriented, but if I can even hit 30 miles per week on average and cross train heavily, I don't think my goal is out of reach. For my next marathon, I'm planning to use a shorter taper, concentrate on slower long runs, make sure I don't run through injury, take a longer post-race recovery period, incorporate more tempo runs, do less intervals, and do more cross training.