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7237 Views 28 Replies Latest reply: Apr 10, 2012 7:10 PM by lenzlaw 1 2 Previous Next
VeggieChick81 Pro 130 posts since
Jan 28, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 28, 2012 12:07 PM

Holy crap I signed up for a marathon!! If you have advice, I'd love to hear it :)

January 1st I made a secret little promise, resolution, idea,whatever you'd like to call it to myself..2012 was the the year I was going to shoot for 26.2... Rewind five years ago from January 2007 when my resolution was everyone else's: to join a gym and get healthy. I will never forget getting on the elliptical for the first time. After three minutes I thought I was going to DIE. I was only 25. But I stuck with it, and watched the majority of the resolution crowd dwindle down to an empty gym by March.

This past Sunday,  I realized while doing my 15 miler that it was much easier than the first time I stepped foot on that elliptical. It was then that I said to myself, what the hell, maybe I CAN do a marathon. I won't know if I don't at least sign up.

In the past five years a lot has changed. I've given life to two beautiful boys and my 2007 resolution turned into a total lifestyle change. I have done everything from 5ks to HM's and Im hoping this is the right choice, to make it to the next level.I'm in week 10 of training with Hal Higdons novice 2 plan and on track for Vermont City Marathon on May 27th. I can honestly say the idea of it scares me more than childbirth!

So if you have any words of wisdom, or advice for the rest of my training, big day, ect. please help me out! Thanks as always ;)

"If you don't run you rust" - Tom Petty

  • skypilot77 Legend 1,077 posts since
    Dec 16, 2009

    Marathoning is a mental disorder.


    Welcome to the club.


  • skypilot77 Legend 1,077 posts since
    Dec 16, 2009

    On a serious note. Follow the training plan.


    Make practicle adjustments to the plan as life and priorities require


    Do not worry about the highs or lows of training. Do not make it more complicated than it has to be.


    On race day, trust in the training. Expect to finish the first time, and do not worry about the clock.

  • Monkey In The Middle Amateur 22 posts since
    Sep 5, 2008

    Good for you Veggiechick!


    I am toying with the idea of a marathon.  Like you I've done plenty of  5/10/15k's and will be doing my 3rd half marathon on April 7th.


    The full marathon I'm shooting for isn't until November so right now I'm following a run/walk program I found on-line and if I can do it (on my own) under 6 hours then I will sign up for it come registration time.  I won't worry about my time but I definitely don't want to be last.  My worst nightmare is the pacer coming up behind me in any of these races and telling me to get off the course becuase they have to open the streets for traffic.


    Good luck and have fun.  You're gonna rock it!!!

    Looking forward to this:

  • Ericd3043 Legend 266 posts since
    Aug 2, 2009

    First off... you are on a good start.  I have used Hal Higdon's training before and have had good results.  I have completed 2 marathons - still have some work to go, but...each one gets better.


    Some tips I have found - some of them come from others and Hal Higdon


    1)  On one of your long runs - do everything like you will during the race.  Put everything out the night before.  If possible, try to time it with food and use the same fluids and gels that you will during the race. 


    2)  Piggybacking on that last one - know what the course will provide.... Will it provide gels?  Where are the fluid stations?  If the things provided are not going to work for you, bring stuff with you.


    3)  I would check out the course ahead of time.  Know where the hills are and where things might give you trouble.  If possible, run part of the course.  The more familiar you are with the course, the less stress there will be race day.


    4)  Give yourself more time than you think for getting to the race.  Personally, my 2 - I have shown up at 5:30 for a 7:30 race start.  It gives me time to stretch, be ready and have time to make sure I have everything.  Unless you know the race and parking, etc... It will allow you to avoid issues.


    5)  Get enough sleep the night before and realistically..... Have fun!  Enjoy the run, take it easy and if you are feeling good at the 20 mile mark - pick up the pace.


    I am sure there are more, but it is late and I cannot think.  I hope I did not skip around too much.


    Good luck!

    My race times (2012)

    Race Schedule for the year:

    May 6th Frederick Running Festival 1/2 Marathon

    May 28th Run through the Park, Ligonier 5k

    August Tentative - 5 miler in Chambersburg, PA

    October Baltimore Running Festival Marathon (also the 2nd part of the MD Double challenge)

    Personal Best :

    5K : 28:32 Run through the Park, Ligonier PA

    5mile : TBA- Marine Corp 5 Miler in August, Chambersburg PA

    10mile : 1:44:52 Cherry Blossum Festival Run, Washington DC

    Marathon : 5:01:22 Akron Marathon

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007

    Glad you committed, you have been thinking about it for a while.  Here is a quote I like. "There will be days that you don't know if you can run a marathon...but there will be a life time of knowing that yu have.  Marathons are all different, but each time you cross that finish line, you hunger for the next's a great feeling of accomplishment!   Good luck

  • crl8686 Legend 1,312 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007

    It sounds like you are well on track for a successful marathon. Best of luck!

    I trained with Higdon's Novice 2 program for my first marathon in 2009. Higdon's programs have an excellent reputation which is, in my opinion, well deserved. The program indeed got me to the start line healthy, and to the finish line physically and mentally intact. As for a few specific words of wisdom, since it was my first marathon:

    • Don't worry too much about your finishing time - have a realistic pace in mind but don't sweat it if you fall short of it. I'd baselined about a 4hr 25 min pace, based on my training runs, but the longest training run I did was 21+ miles. During the marathon, guess what, I hit the wall at mile 22 and I ended up finishing in 4hr 43 min. Once you pass mile 20 - anything can happen in the last 6.2 miles. Be prepared for the unexpected.
    • You can build some flexibility into the program, but never cut corners on the long runs. They are your best preparation for the marathon. The longest runs I did were 20 mi and 21+ mi, and well worth it.
    • Set two alarms the night before the marathon. You definitely don't want to oversleep for this one. Also set out all the things you'll need the night before, so you don't have to go hunting for them on marathon day.
    • Marathoners tend to get to their races VERY VERY early. I'm used to 5K's and 10K's where showing up an hour before the race is usually fine. However, many marathoners will show up 2-3 hr before the race and take all the good parking spots (LOL). Plan ahead for parking and traffic, especially if it's a large race field.

    2015 highlights...

    @ 5K: Ontario Mills 5K, Ontario, CA, 25:17

    New Balance Palm Springs 5K, Palm Springs, CA, 24:32

    @ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K, Los Angeles, CA, 52:15

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,459 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Was that 1:55 on a flat course?  Tradition is to double that and add 15 minutes. Given that it's your first and there are some hills, starting at 9:45 to 10:00 pace might be a good way to go.  Remember, the halfway point of the marathon is at 20 miles.  So start easy, and give yourself at least 10 - 12 miles to get used to the idea.  Going out too fast will kill your legs later.  Your first goal, of course, is to finish, and let the time take care of itself.  (I hope I didn't throw too many cliches in there.)


    So yes, mile 15 has a hill.  But if it were at mile 2 or 3, you would take little notice.  The rise is maybe 125 feet over that mile - not really that much.  Try to add hill repeats to one of your workouts, every 7 to 10 days.  That should help.


    The parking situation is pretty good, if I remember, with some municipal lots/garages open.  I parked on the street maybe 5 or 6 blocks from the start, beacause I wanted to go back to my room after my relay leg.  (So I could shower and change and get back for the finish.)




  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,459 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Long run pace is always controversial. One idea is supposed to be that your 20-miler time approaches the time you expect for the marathon.  I honestly don't know how much sense that makes.  Another is that your long run shouldn't leave you so tired/sore that you have a hard time doing the rest of your weekly workouts.  This one definitely makes sense.


    So if you're having no trouble completing the rest of your workouts between long runs, then your long run pace should be OK.  Another thing you might try, if you're feeling good enough on your next long run, is to pick up the pace a little for (about) the last 4 miles (maybe 15/20 secs./mile).  I don't recommend doing it for every long run.  But it will give you a pretty good idea of how you would feel doing a faster pace.


    I think stretching the 19 to 20 would be OK as long as you're feeling good.  Like you said, it's only one mile (either way you look at it).


    Still, start the marathon conservatively.  Doubling your half time and adding 15 minutes puts you around 9:25 pace for the marathon. Starting around 9:45 leaves you short of that pace but will hopefully keep you from slamming feet-first into "the wall" at 20.  And you'll feel comfortable for the last 6.2.




  • crl8686 Legend 1,312 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007

    As a first-time marathoner, I intentionally pushed the distance of the two longest runs a bit, because I wanted to experience what the Wall might feel like. So I ran 20 instead of 19, and 21.7 instead of 20. Why 21.7? That's exactly 7 laps around the Rose Bowl, which is the flattest ground anywhere near my house. (The marathon course was also quite flat). As luck would have it, I did not hit the Wall in either of those long runs, and the 21.7 mi gave me a little more confidence that I could complete 26.2. This was the only race I've ever done where I did not run the full distance in training.

    2015 highlights...

    @ 5K: Ontario Mills 5K, Ontario, CA, 25:17

    New Balance Palm Springs 5K, Palm Springs, CA, 24:32

    @ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K, Los Angeles, CA, 52:15

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,459 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Getting there Friday would be good because it gives you a stress-free Saturday.  I drove up Friday afternoon and left late Sunday afternoon.  I also have a runner friend who lives a few miles away with her husband (sometimes on Active as Dutch Omi). She's the one who talked me into running the relay. (She tried to get me up there again this year but it didn't work out.)  I know there is a nice, walkable "outdoor mall" in the middle of town.  Also you're right on Lake Champlain if you like boating or want to take a lake cruise.  The race website also has a "area & spectator guide" section which includes "things to do".  It honestly seems more like a town you would like to live in than a tourist destination.




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