Flippantly, I mentioned in my last post that there was a marathon/half marathon happening in College Station December 9, and within hours, I received this series of texts:
Two years ago I made the giant decision to train for the Austin full marathon Spring 2011. My goodness, what a decision! I had run a handful of half marathons, but 26.2? I mean, adding 13 + miles is INSANE.
I admit it was one of those “bucket list” motivators, and being young, single, and with flexible [read: abnormal] work hours, the timing was ideal. The training plan says one day I’m scheduled to run 22 miles? Pish. Child’s play. What’s 12 more? Mom and I have always lived by the “once you run for one hour, the rest is all the same” mantra, so this will be easy-peasy. Plus- score!- two other friends in the area were also training for a full that year! Running buddies! Amen!
In hindsight, I was (like every first-time marathon runner) overly optimistic. Yet, I trained and pushed myself hard in those few months leading up to the hilliest race ever, and it ended up being awesome. The race itself was a blast, full of extremely generous friends willing to run parts of it with me, cheer along the sidelines, make signs, etc. It rocked.
Running through the finish line? I’ve never felt so accomplished.
Training beforehand? Miserable. I mean, I only ended up getting to 20 miles as my longest run, which is about the minimum, but just take a moment to calculate how many hours that is of running! Hours. And hours, and hours. And hours. Training for a marathon is like adding another job to the calendar. Add in having to ice my knees and lower back every night, buying new running shoes often, having people stare blankly at you when you tell them “the plan,” and well, just lots and lots of plain running, and yeah. It is fair to say that was my first and last full marathon.
Half marathons? A totally different story. Unless you have been working toward running a full, and it’s a life dream you have all sorts of motivation to accomplish, go with the half. I firmly believe that anyone can train for a half marathon, as long as you keep yourself disciplined and have at least three months to train.
Now that the calendar has hit Fall (allegedly), this is the perfect time to train! The BCS Half Marathon is in my favorite of all towns, College Station! The whole town is completely flat. Flat! That’s like handing out free chocolate to a runner! Plus it’s December 9th, so the temperature will at least be in the 80s. Way cooler than the current 100s.
If you have never run a long race before, there are all sorts of training tools out there to help. Unless you care much about the time, I just recommend this simple weekly schedule:
- 2-3 days of “short” runs (3-5 miles)
- 1 “long” run (working your way up from 5-12 miles)
- 1-2 days of cross training (weights, a spin class, yoga, football, sand volleyball, etc.)
If this is your first race, don’t over-do it. If you are (like me) struggling through 3 miles still, there are several studies that recommend the run/walk. (Run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute, repeat) This method can be modified to any length of running and walking, you don’t kill yourself, and it burns more fat. Win-win. Win.
Speaking of struggling through three miles, it’s still way too hot to run at 4 PM here. Just in case you were wondering. Either that, or I’m just, like the text above says, “starting at rock bottom.”
This race is the same day as the Dallas White Rock Marathon, but almost half the price! Plus it supports Mercy Project and a few other local Bryan/College Station charities. Let’s make this a group event! Click here to sign up.