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Learn : Marathon Story  

Running Background:

I consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for several reasons including competition, fitness, and stress relief to name a few. I decided to run a marathon because in high school I ran cross country, and I was fascinated by the idea that a human being could actually go 26.2 miles.

Training:

I trained for 4.5 months using the 18 week schedule at 55 miles per week from Phitzinger/Douglas's "Advanced Marathoning" book. I have used this schedule many times with great success. The book is an incredible resource.

The best training advice I received was to train on the type of terrain that I would race on so I spent every other week on the course itself training for the marathon. I got to know every mile of the course which helped on race day. It was especially important because it was a trail race. It was easy because it was within 45 minutes of my house.

Race Day:

The 2006 Trail Marathon was better than expected.

The race took place on a beautiful Sunday morning in April, the perfect temperature, the perfect trail conditions, dry and well packed. The course was a 13 mile loop, run twice. There were about 150 people in the marathon.

The race is put on by a handful of people I know very well, so the "crowd" support consisted of about 5-10 people I know yelling at the top of their lungs at every aid station. The aid stations were about 4 miles apart. In between each aid station were miles of rolling hills through Midwestern forests. For the most part I ran these sections with a few other people but towards the end of the race it got pretty solitary, which I like.

I held back quite a bit, knowing there would be many steep hills at the 5-7 mile section and then at the end of the 13 mile loop. It paid off to relax in the beginning because I ended up doing a strong negative split.

I felt very strong in the end, as if I could have kept going. I've never felt that good during a marathon, and I attribute it to training consistently, starting slow, and properly hydrating during the race.

Recovery:

I didn't have any problems with my recovery. There is a lake at the end of the race, so I waded into the freezing cold Michigan lake in April and "iced" my legs. Then I went home and drank a beer.

Running Gear Recommendations:

Brooks Adrenaline ASR Trail Shoes
They are supportive and rugged to handle any trail conditions.
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Smartwool Socks
If there is one thing that I hope I can take with me after I die, its smartwool socks. I can't live without them.
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Crank E-gel
More energy than GU. No caffeine.
Search on Crank Sports.com

Tips/Words of Encouragement:

Pick a race that suits you. If you like running with a lot of people, and the excitement of race day carries you through a run, pick a big marathon like Chicago, NY or Marine Corps. If you like running with friends, and training with a group, get together and pick a smaller local race. If you like running through the woods, look for a trail race.

Plans to Run Another:

God willing, I'm planning to continue to run marathons. As long as I can put one foot in front of the other, I'll never stop running.

For future marathons, I am currently increasing my mileage under the same training plan, hoping to get my time down.

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