Gwjers Going for a Marathon

Any fellow gwjers out there training for a marathon?

With the aim of keeping fit for prolonged gaming sessions and shaking off all that frustration from work, I've been running on and off since early 2010.

Today I'm 24 days away from the start of my third half-marathon. Feeling fairly, perhaps delusionally, confident about my progress as a runner, I'm considering signing up for the local full 42,195m to be held on August 18.

I'd be happy to hear from any other gwjer who is considering taking the leap, or anyone who has already taken it. Are you following a proper training programme, or sticking to the "run like you feel like" formula that still applies to me? How big is, in fact, the step from a half to a full marathon?

Good luck! I ran the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon and the 2010 Shamrock Marathon. For the first I followed the Galloway plan, for the second I moved to a different one that I don't quite recall.

You have plenty of training time for an August marathon, and as long as you have the will and desire you can finish it. If you have enough will and desire you might even meet your time goals if they're reasonable. I never met mine and don't know if I have another one in me, but never say never.

The step from half to full is substantial. I've been running fairly steadily with some peaks and valleys for about 5 years now and I could run a half at the drop of a hat any weekend you name. It's just not a scary distance any more (for my second marathon, my weekly long runs were 13 miles and up for 18 weeks straight). A full one? Still daunting. See, I've never actually run an entire marathon. You hear about "the wall" and it's a very real and common phenomenon that I hit during both marathons to varying degrees. There's a point that hits quite often at the 18 to 20 mile mark where your body runs out of carbohydrate go-go juice. Training, nutrition, and preparation are used to battle this but I have yet to find the answer. When it hits, you'll want to stop. For my first, it got me right at mile 20 on a mild incline. I just couldn't run any more. I wasn't alone, that stretch claimed many a person. I ran-walked the rest of the way and eventually felt a bit better and I finished, but I added about half an hour to my time because of it. For my second it hit at mile 18, but I missed my goal by only 8 minutes that time.

You can do it. You really can. It might hurt at times and you might not make your time goals but you can finish it. I actually often recommend just going for the finish for your first one. Find a big, well supported race and enjoy the experience without worrying about time. If you survive it and decide to do another, consider adding time goals.

Or screw it and go all out on that first one :). There's no wrong answer.

I'm shopping for a half to train for in New England.

I'm running my first half-marathon this weekend.

I've run that distance in training a handful of times, did it last weekend in fact, so I'm confident I'll finish, and I'm going to be pushing my pace just a little as a result. My goal is to finish in < 2:10, with a nice-to-have goal of < 2:00

I was training for a full marathon last Thanksgiving, but I hosed up my knee a month before the race, so I skipped it. Might attempt the same race this year again. I should be in better shape than I was last year.

Training-wise, I follow a pretty strictly scheduled training plan. My real schtick is triathlon - I just throw running races into the mix to pad out my tri race schedule for the season. So I'm running around 3 times a week, a long run on weekends, and shorter, higher-intensity runs in the week (usually in the order of 5-8 miles).

I'd agree with ColdForged that the gap between 13 and 26 miles is large. When I was working towards the full marathon distance last summer, extending the longer runs, I got up to 18 miles before hurting my knee, and that was a large step up from 13 itself.

I just did a 30km road race "Oldest in North America" at the end of March. Signed up for a 1/2 with my wife at the end of May.

Then a 1/2 Ironman in the fall in North Carolina.

Let me tell you, you really haven't experienced a marathon until you do one at the end of an Ironman. It's downright silly.

Thanks for the down-to-earth advice, ColdForged. I've heard willpower is as decisive to finishing a marathon as anything. Still, I know I'll be screwed if I end up depending too much on the "Move that fat arse of yours" voice in my head overpowering the "See that guy over there in the beer garden, downing a cool lager? That could be you!" voice. I won't be setting any time goals for my first effort. Just finishing it would be all the satisfaction I'd ever need.

Join the winning team, Rabbit! And good luck on your first half-marathon, Jonman! I bet you'll fly through it. I hadn't set a proper time goal for my first one in 2010, but started too fast and did my knee in at around 17km and had to run keeping my right leg as straight as possible for the remainder of the race. It felt like running on one stilt and my knee was busted for three weeks.

So last year, all I wanted was to finish without having to limp home. I prepared smarter (lunges here and there, some interval training) and paced my run with the help of a heart rate monitor. This alone was enough to get my time down by 10 minutes to 2:03. This year I'm hoping to beat 2:00.

I may be getting outrageously carried away here, but that triathlon idea is tickling my interest. I enjoyed riding my bike before it was stolen, and I was never a poor swimmer. 2013 or 2014, perhaps? See, I'm already getting totally carried away.

MothBeHe wrote:

I may be getting outrageously carried away here, but that triathlon idea is tickling my interest. I enjoyed riding my bike before it was stolen, and I was never a poor swimmer. 2013 or 2014, perhaps? See, I'm already getting totally carried away.

Do it!

ONE OF US! ONE OF US!

One caveat that I discovered the hard way. Your first year in triathlon can be expensive. You're kitting yourself out for 3 sports, each of which requires it's own unique kit. If you're not single, have a frank discussion with your other half about how they're going to feel when you drop several thousands of dollars in a few months.

I'm signed up for the USAF half in Ohio down the road in September; shooting for sub 2 hours and really looking forward to it.

Alrighty, bitches, I'm now registered for the City of Oaks Marathon in November. I've been feeling wrong about having a 26.2 sticker on the back of the car without having done a marathon in 2 years. Time to get back in action :).

Jonman:

Technically, it doesn't have to be that expensive. You can swim in basic trunks and goggles, bike on a reliable commuter, and run in old tire sandals. You won't go fast, but you'll get there. If nothing else, it's amusing to overtake overkitted posers in a weatherbeaten commuter hybrid.

My wife and I are signed up for the Honolulu Marathon in December. She did it two years ago, and while I did all the training with her, I didn't actually run the race. So this time I'll do it. I've done several half marathons (4 last year), but this will be my first at the full marathon distance.

Re: Triathlons - I did a lot of them back when we were in Seattle, and you definitely don't have to have all the fancy gear. My roommate and I were college swimmers, so we had all of that gear already. I had a road bike but he just used his mountain bike that he already had. And for running you just need some shoes. And yes, it's always just a bit more enjoyable when you pass someone who obviously spent a lot of money on the fancy gear.

ColdForged wrote:

Alrighty, bitches, I'm now registered for the City of Oaks Marathon in November. I've been feeling wrong about having a 26.2 sticker on the back of the car without having done a marathon in 2 years. Time to get back in action :).

Okay, there's no turning back now. I just signed up for a marathon on September 9. In Tallinn, Estonia, of all places. I think I'm about to get the shakes.

I'm going to have to take that back. It appears I've gone done something to my right ankle, even though I was on a moderate training schedule.

A slight but very disconcerting pain has developed in what I suspect is my peroneal tendon. I've got my first ever appointment with a physiotherapist on Monday, but it doesn't look too promising.

Two weeks to go to my first marathon, and now this. Sigh.

Not really a marathon but I am doing Tough Mudder in NJ this October. I am really looking forward to it and training when I can.

MothBeHe wrote:

Two weeks to go to my first marathon, and now this. Sigh.

Sorry dude, that sucks. I've (so far) stayed healthy during my training, but I use a relatively low-mileage plan precisely for this reason. I've had issues in the past with the higher-mileage plans as the mileage ramps up with injuries gradually creeping in. I use the "Run Less, Run Faster" plan now and have had good luck, at least with injuries. Hope it settles down for you!

TempestBlayze wrote:

Not really a marathon but I am doing Tough Mudder in NJ this October. I am really looking forward to it and training when I can.

I've got some old friends that want to have a reunion of sorts at a Tough Mudder next year. Looks like a great time. Let us know how it goes.

MothBeHe wrote:

I'm going to have to take that back. It appears I've gone done something to my right ankle, even though I was on a moderate training schedule.

A slight but very disconcerting pain has developed in what I suspect is my peroneal tendon. I've got my first ever appointment with a physiotherapist on Monday, but it doesn't look too promising.

Two weeks to go to my first marathon, and now this. Sigh.

Sorry to hear that...I know exactly how it feels to get injured in the final run up to a marathon. Baby that foot and hope it's nothing! At 2 weeks out, you're not going to gain fitness from more training and trust me you do not want chronic damage to a foot tendon (I'm there & it's no fun).

I've got my last tri of the season in mid-September, and deciding what my winter training is going to look like. Next years' tri training kicks off on Jan 2, so I've got 3 full months to play with. I've currently got 2, very different options.

Option 1: hit the Seattle marathon over Thanksgiving.
Option 2: go full strength training mode instead. Something like Stronglifts 5x5

Both are going to be different but equally valid contributions to my 2013 tri performance.

Option 1 would be a continuation of the ongoing run training. I've run half marathons (stand-alone and half-iron tri) before, so pushing that out to a full would be a good challenge. However, I'm also concerned about injuries - I shot for the same race last year and ended up missing it due to overuse injury. Admittedly, I'm a lot fitter and a little smarter now, but it's still a risk. An additional complication is that I don't know what my Thanksgiving plans are yet, and the girlfriend just floated the idea of me being in San Francisco with her for Thanksgiving.

Option 2 would be a significant change of pace. For most of this year, my training load is 30% each run, bike, swim, and 10% strength training. This option would flip that to about 70% strength training and 10% each run, bike, swim, just to keep the endurance ticking over for next year's season.

There is, of course, Option 3. Do Both.

Personally, I wouldn't swing over that hard for strength training for an endurance focus; as the L1 Crossfit cert is fond of pointing out, endurance sports are niche and need to be trained to accordingly.

That said, were I in your shoes, I'd focus down on the marathon. If you had an overuse injury before, look at what your regimen was like up to that point and dial it back some, although perhaps not as much as you would have otherwise given that you are in much better shape.

In other news, the USAF Marathon is 2 weeks from Saturday. While I'd originally hoped to finish the half-marathon in sub 2 hours, I'm now looking to just finish. Really disappointed in how badly this year's gone for me in that regards; I've spent 3 of the last 5 months on strict no-run profiles. That said, I'll still be able to go the whole shebang, even if I have to walk a third to half the distance.

AnimeJ wrote:

Personally, I wouldn't swing over that hard for strength training for an endurance focus; as the L1 Crossfit cert is fond of pointing out, endurance sports are niche and need to be trained to accordingly.

No, I get that. Thing is, winter is a weird season for endurance training for me. No races on the horizon, so if I was sticking to an endurance niche, I'd just be in a maintenance mode, with nothing to train *for*. Add to that the fact that running and riding suck hard here in winter in the PNW. Sure, I can go to spin classes and run on a treadmill, but that's not enjoyable like being outdoors is.

The more I think about it, the more I think I'm going to do a few months of serious strength work. That way, I start the next cycle of endurance training with more strength. It's way easier to maintain strength through serious endurance training than it is to build it. This year's schedule spent Jan-Apr building strength before backing it off to maintenance. If I can spend winter doing that, I can get a jump-start on next year.

And perhaps the most value I'd get out of it would be just simply changing things up. That has enormous motivational value to me. I'd not only get a boost for winter, I'd come into next year not burned out and ready to hit the endurance work like the fist of an angry god.

AnimeJ wrote:

In other news, the USAF Marathon is 2 weeks from Saturday. While I'd originally hoped to finish the half-marathon in sub 2 hours, I'm now looking to just finish. Really disappointed in how badly this year's gone for me in that regards; I've spent 3 of the last 5 months on strict no-run profiles. That said, I'll still be able to go the whole shebang, even if I have to walk a third to half the distance.

Last half I did was at the end of a half-ironman. I walked through every aid station, which were spaced about every mile. I'm convinced that those regular micro-rests are what got me through the course. Not only do you take a breather, you have more time to get some fludis and nutrition in you. Good luck, man!

Ah, you were looking for a winter thing. Yea, I'm totally down with PNW winters; I lived up there in the late 80s when my old man was stationed at Bremerton Naval Station. Get your weights on for sure.

Thanks for the well wishes. I'm really pumped for the race, even though I know I'll be nowhere near the time I want. It'll give me an easy PR on the next one though

I'm starting to think my ankle pain (which is still there, neither getting better nor worse) boils down to a foot alignment issue.

As I mentioned, I've got an appointment with a physiotherapist on Monday, and I was told to take my running shoes with me. This prompted me to take a good look at my running shoes last night, and all other shoes I wear, too. What did I find? ALL of them are worn down at the outer edge of the heel - my everyday work shoes by as much as 1/3 of an inch. Blimey.

Holy crap. A good physiotherapist is nothing short of a godsend.

It turns out I have a ligament strain in my ankle that's going to take some time to heal. My plans for a full marathon will need to be pushed back to 2013.

It also turns out that too much mileage wasn't the problem here, but something a bit more convoluted: excessively tight tibial muscles, which restrict ankle mobility and lead to excessive stress on a particular ankle ligament.

Then again, the diagnosis did make sense. I've always been battling with shin splints, so much so that I think I've subconsciously adjusted to a rigid, Robocopesque running technique that prevents shin splints - at the expense of my ankles.

Also, I've rarely done any stretching.

So the PT promptly went mediaeval on me. My ankles were yanked this way and that, up and down, left and right, in and out, until I thought they would come off. Fortunately they didn't. Instead, my feet felt lighter, and the pain in my sore ankle had subdued.

I've been on a daily stretching programme since Monday, with light jogging starting today.

Lessons learnt:

- Don't forget to stretch!
- Get familiar with any potential anatomical peculiarities you may have!
- Don't forget to stretch!

rabbit wrote:

I'm shopping for a half to train for in New England.

http://www.halfmarathons.net/usa_hal... has a decent-looking list.

Figured this belonged here more than the 5k thread. Third time's the charm: finally cracked 4 hours today at the City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh. Unofficial watch time was 3:58:16. I was shooting for a 9:06 pace to give myself a bit of time in the tank and, dammit, that's what I hit. I felt great throughout, no bonk, the usual late-stage discomfort edging in, but once I reached mile 23 -- the end of the real inclines -- I knew it was mine. Hell, I knew it before that, but that's when it became definite. I was grinning the final mile.

ColdForged wrote:

Figured this belonged here more than the 5k thread. Third time's the charm: finally cracked 4 hours today at the City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh. Unofficial watch time was 3:58:16. I was shooting for a 9:06 pace to give myself a bit of time in the tank and, dammit, that's what I hit. I felt great throughout, no bonk, the usual late-stage discomfort edging in, but once I reached mile 23 -- the end of the real inclines -- I knew it was mine. Hell, I knew it before that, but that's when it became definite. I was grinning the final mile.

Nicely done!

I'm going to shoot for my first marathon this coming April. Just bought a copy of Hansons Marathon Method, and I'll be tailoring my training according to it's advice.

Jonman wrote:

Nicely done!

Thanks!

I'm going to shoot for my first marathon this coming April. Just bought a copy of Hansons Marathon Method, and I'll be tailoring my training according to it's advice.

I like the 16 mile longest except for one thing: my (single) 20 miler during training gave me a big dose of encouragement for the race. I went with the FIRST "run less, run faster" plan. Bear in mind, I did in my prior marathon, too, which didn't go as well, but I think my biggest problem in previous attempts was dehydration late in the race which I beat back with a force this time to great success. I think all the plans have their merits and you should pick one that resonates most with you. If Hanson's is it, do it. Work to the plan as best you can and you'll be as prepared as you can be. Then it's down to you.

This time I actually trained pretty conservatively. I'd been training unofficially for months before the FIRST ramp, doing typical FIRST style workouts: 3 days of running (one interval, one tempo, one long), 3ish days of cross-training. So humorously (to me), my first week of real training was actually shorter than the previous week. I didn't even do the "real" FIRST plan, I did one tailored more for first-time marathoners looking to finish. The real one calls for three 20-milers, mine had one. I even missed my second-longest scheduled long run of 18 miles due to a stomach virus. Somehow, still did it.

Good luck, you can do it.

Congratulations!

Nice, ColdForged!

I just decided to do PDX 2013, my first 2 kid marathon. Training will seem like relaxation this time.

I ran my first marathon this weekend in Honolulu. My goal was 4 hours and I didn't hit it, finishing in 4:09:21. I was under the 4-hour pace for the first 30k, but fell off pretty sharply around mile 22, when my legs really started to feel it.

I'm undecided if I'll run another or just stick to the 1/2 marathon distance which is far more comfortable for me.

Way to go!! make sure to play it safe!!

I've installed a countdown widget on my phone. It says "39 days", which is how long I've got left till I'll embark on my first full'un. Training's been going as planned, and my ankles haven't been sore in the slightest. Though I am getting tired of the constant give of the snow and ice underneath my feet.

I'm planning to do a 30k jog this Sunday, just to see what to expect after 3 hours of consecutive running.

Sorry about the egocentric post, I just needed to vent this overwhelming excitement/anticipation/anxiety somewhere.