And Marathon Training Begins!

Well, here we are.  Just a little less than 18 weeks until I cross the finish line at my first 26.2!

Today is the symbolic start and the first day of training (3 mile run…groundbreaking stuff).  Yesterday, our official kick-off was an 8 mile climb up a mountain (more on that tomorrow).

I’ve been nursing my knee like crazy, and while it isn’t at 100%, I’m ready to jump in today.

I feel like I haven’t really trained since January (and really….not since October) and I am so excited to get going, improve my speed, and get back to being proud of what I’m doing.

I also have a really ambitious and slightly ridiculous goal for this first go-around.

I want to qualify for Boston.

I know that your primary goal for your first marathon is supposed to be just to finish.  My longest pre-race run will be 20 miles, so I will have no clue how the last 6 will feel  until race day.  And well, qualifying for Boston is hard.

But people qualify on their first try all the time.

I got the idea in my head after Rock n Roll Arizona, and I have been obsessed ever since (Maybe Leo planted it in my brain?).

Unfortunately, my marathon falls 2 weeks after the 2013 qualifying cut-off.  The best I can hope for is running the 2014 race.  So, I suppose even if I don’t qualify, I at least have a full year to make up for it.

As of this morning, the B.A.A. hasn’t released the qualifying times for 2014.  For my age group, 2013 hopefuls have to have a time under 3 hours and 35 minutes (5 minutes less than the 2012 time), so my goal is to run my first marathon in 3 hours and 30 minutes.  That means I will have to train up to running my fastest half marathon pace for twice the distance.

Insane and probably pretty painful? Yes. Impossible? No.

So, how am I going to get there? I obviously  have no experience, and the only marathons Aaron has done came after 120 miles of biking/swimming (and at that point, it is less about running and more about just not dying).  Thank goodness for the running blogger community! I’ve had the privilege of seeing so many wonderful and inspiring journeys to marathon-hood, and I’ve picked up a few things along the way.

1) Keeping to the training plan and putting 100% into every workout

2) Rolling, icing, massaging, and actively recovering

3) Lots of cross training: spinning, swimming, yoga, weight training, core work

4) Cutting out red meat and fried food as much as possible (NOT fun)

5) Reducing booze intake.  I know I talk about drinking a lot, but I promise I’m not an alcoholic!  I do however have 1-3 glasses of beer/wine/margarita every day.  I am going to try to limit this to weekends only.  I make no guarantees whatsoever.

My Biggest fears going in:

1) Not reaching my goals.  I really want this.  Not reaching my goal time, or worse, missing it by 1 minute, would be devastating.

2) Injuries.  They suck.  I want nothing to do with them.

3) Plantar Fasciitis: I know this is an “injury” but I consider this the holy grail of all things suckage.  Up to  a year out of commission.  No thank you.

4) Burn out.  I don’t want to reach week 16 of 18 and decide that I hate running.  I think 26.2 miles would be pretty miserable to run if I hated running.

5) HEAT.  The race getting cancelled, or having to try to run a marathon in 90 degree temperatures and getting heat stroke, or passing out at mile 20 (I am not above crawling to the finish line!).  This seems to be the year of uncomfortably hot races.

So, we’ll see where the next 18 weeks takes me.  THANK YOU for all of your support thus far.  Sometimes I don’t think I would have the same self-confidence or the same excitement for running if I wasn’t part of this running social media community! I hope to have great things to report in October.   Until then, I will be working my butt off to get there!


41 thoughts on “And Marathon Training Begins!

  1. Wow, good for you!! I really think if you have the determination (as you do) you can achieve so much more than you think. Best wishes in your marathon training, it’s an incredible journey! You have a great perspective and sound like you’ll train smart.

    • Thank you! And I absolutely agree that we can achieve so much more than we think. I think one of the main reasons I like running more than team sports is because it is an individual effort, and all it will take for me to reach these goals is the belief that I can and hard work on my part.

  2. What race are you running? Qualifying doesn’t close for 2013 this October, but it’s a big guess as to when registration will close. Not as many people re-qualified at Boston this year and the standards got tighter, so there’s a chance you’ll get in for 2013 if you qualify in October.

    Glancing at your race times, you seem to have a fair amount of speed and it doesn’t seem unreasonable for you to run 8s in your first full. One piece of unsolicited advice … you have the speed (and it will naturally get a little bit better over the course of your first marathon training cycle) … what you need is the endurance. I’d really recommend getting up to at least 22 a couple of times (and ideally 24). If nothing else, it would be good for you to get experience being on your feet for 3:30. Well, 3:29:59 :).

    Best wishes and congrats on committing yourself to this! And take care of your knee!

    • Hi Sam! Thanks for stopping by (and unsolicited advice is always welcome)! I am running Chicago. Right now they have registration closing on Sept. 21st. I’ll keep checking back, and hopefully they will extend it a couple of weeks!

      I’ve been considering bumping up the mileage a bit on one of the 20 milers just to make sure. I know traditionally most training plans don’t get above 20, but I guess my goal time isn’t exactly traditional either, so we’ll see how things are going when I get there.

  3. You are going to do great!! YAY! I can’t wait to follow your journey. Here’s to happy training! 🙂

  4. This is awesome news! Plus I get to take advantage of you getting a head start on your training by a couple of weeks so I can better prepare myself for my regiment. You are going to do great and congrats on choosing a marathon!

      • Yes, you are. Thankfully for me and my journey there is almost no way that I will have extreme heat in NYC in November…maybe cold. Although my training runs could get hot in August and September. We will both survive!

  5. So excited for you! I think it’s awesome that you have set this goal for yourself 🙂 I also have set a lot of similar tactics when it comes to cleaning up my diet and reducing alcohol intake. I really do think this is so important. GOOD LUCK!

  6. Good luck Amy! I will train vicariously through you. That really sucks about no red meat, I don’t know what I’d do! I hope you’re able to achieve your ultimate goals, do you have any smaller short term ones to help the build up? I will be with you every step of the way via the blogosphere!

    • Yeah, I’m not so sure about it either. I may have to live vicariously through your Instragram food pictures! I haven’t thought too much about smaller goals. I still want to do shorter races every month until then. I would like to break into the 20’s for a 5-K in July, and I should be running a 1:35 half by September. Both of those sound nauseating right now!

  7. YAY! Keep us posted on training! Actually, I think I’m going to start training for my first marathon too! I haven’t decided if I want to try to boston qualify.. YET.. in the future yes, but I think I jus want to finish my first marathon. I think I’m going to shoot for the Last Vegas strip at night rock n’ roll marathon! Its december 1st or 2nd I believe so that gives me plenty of time

    • Hooray! I eventually want to do Las Vegas too, though I don’t know about doing it this year. As a night owl, I’m sure you’ll not have any problem running a marathon at night!

  8. Yay!! You are going to do great! I can’t wait to follow your journey. Here’s to happy training!!

  9. Good luck! You’re pretty fast, so I don’t doubt you can qualify if you set your mind to it! I’ll be happy just to finish my first marathon, ideally under 4:30, and if we’re talking not impossible, but unlikely goals, under 4. I might steal some training tips! 🙂

    • Thanks! We’ll see what happens. You’ve done some really impressive 10-Ks, so I think you could definitely hit a sub-4. Although, you do have one hell of a weekend leading up to it…maybe your friend could reschedule her wedding to help you reach your marathon goals?

      • The sick thing is, this is their SECOND wedding (we had the small registry affair last October). September is the flashy do for friends and family. Plus, I’ll need to leave just before the main meal to get my train to Inverness…. I guess I’ll just microwave a couple of jacket potatoes before I skip off.

  10. Ahhh! So excited for you! Great goal. 🙂 It was my goal, too, and as you know a success! Now I am trying to get back (Rock and Roll Seattle in 3 weeks). I have no doubt you can do it. Stick to your training, take care of your body when you’re NOT training, and you’ll do just fine. Excited to follow your journey.

    • You actually are probably the person to blame for all of this marathon and Boston craziness! But you’ve also proven that it is possible, and doing it injury free is also possible with a lot of self-care! I know I’ll be saying this again before the time comes, but good luck with RnR Seattle!

      • If I am going to be “blamed” for your lofty goals and your continued success, I will gladly take it! Really, really excited for you!! And, thanks. 🙂

  11. Best of luck with your training! Have fun and remember to enjoy every minute of it. I think it’s great that you are planning to incorporate so much cross training. That is so beneficial in preventing injuries. Enjoy the next 18 weeks!! And you have to reward yourself with a good beer every now and then =)

    • Thank you! Your speediness and positive attitude have been very inspirational in my decision to run a marathon! And I’m sure there will be many beer rewards!

  12. You go girl! I think that’s awesome! I’ve never been a fast runner so my only hope of qualifying would be running the same pace as I am running today at like age 80. Haha It sounds like you definitely have speed on your side, so I think it’s totally doable. I’m excited to follow along on your journey!

    • Haha! I wished to be older for the first time since turning 21 when I looked at the qualifying times! Those 80 year-olds have it so easy! And thank you!

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