To marathon or not to marathon Part 1
Choosing to embark on a marathon is a big deal. Only one percent of the population has completed one! This doesn't mean that it is impossible. In all actuality most people don't find joy in running 26.2 miles! The mileage seems daunting but with proper training and a lot of planning it can be done.
This is the first part of a three part series on marathon training. This article will help you decide if now is the right time for you to run a marathon. When I decided to run my first marathon I had no idea what I was doing. I learned alot along the way that I know will help you in deciding to run a marathon, advice and tips during the training and up to the the big day to tapering down after it is all over.
Do you have the time?
It's a BIG time commitment. Between cross training and long runs your schedule will be packed. Take a good look at your schedule and see if it fits into your life at the moment. This is really a five month commitment. YES five months. Proper training takes 20 weeks. That is a HUGE time commitment. Most people lives are hectic already with work, school, families etc. Take a good look at your schedule and see if it fits into your life at the moment.
I mostly work nights so I had to switch my work schedule around to make training work. I knew that I couldn't work until 2am and get up at 4:30 or 5 am to run. I knew I needed atleast the night before free and whole next day free from work for my long runs. The first schedule plan I used required three days of running and two days of cross training. I had a lot of planning to do to make sure I could get all these done each week.
Are you ready?
As I stated before when I began to train I never really ran more than 3 miles regularly and honestly didn't think I could actually do it. I know from this round of training that being able to consistantly run 3-4 miles for atleast a couple months helped alot. I wouldn't recommend starting from scratch.
Do you have extra cash?
I never really thought about how much a marathon would cost. I kinda just thought I would pay the entry fee and need shoes. Wrong. Many expenses came up during my training that I should of been aware of. More will be explained in the next blog about exactly what you need and should do during training but here is an idea of what I spent money on. As you can see I spent a pretty penny.
1. Gear (shoes, clothes, gels, chews, running vest, camel back, headphones, iTunes, arm band etc.)
2. Running Coach
3. Weekly Chiropractor visits
5. Races ( a couple half marathons and some 5ks to practice my race pace and change of scenery plus the marathon itself)
6. Foot Specialist (I needed special inserts for my shoes)
7. Foam Roller
8. Cross training activities (Yoga, Spin and Paddleboarding were mine)
What marathon would you run?
Do you want to stay local or make it a destination?
If your answer is destination then you need to budget for all sorts of other things. (See my blog Destination Marathon: Rookie Mistakes to Avoid). I suggest googling marathons if you are not sure what exactly you want to do. There are so many out there!!!
When you find a marathon:
Do you have enough time to train? Again always give yourself 20 weeks to train (depending on where you are as a runner).
Is it the right season? I have learned over time that I am not a treadmill runner and when the snow is falling I usually don't run. I also learned that the fall is the best time for me to run marathons because I can train uninteruppted outside. I once tried to convince myself I could train in the winter for a spring marathon and totally set myself up for failure (see my blog Accept. Adapt. Evolve).
The majority of your runs should not be done on a treadmill. The treadmill is different from the road there is no doubt about it. The treadmill should not be used regularly as a replacement for the road.
If you plan on training in the summer months it gets hot early! Can you run early in the am or at night to avoid the heat? Do you have access to a treadmill if you have to run during the day?
If you plan on training in the winter obviously it gets cold, snowy and icy depending on where you live. More gear should be added to your budget to stay warm (winter running clothes and accesories) and to keep you safe from the ice and snow (ice shoe slip ons etc.) Do you have access to a treadmill on extreme cold, snowy or icy days?
What would be your goal?
Be clear and specific. Would you running for time or just to finish? These are two totally different ends of the spectrum and your training should be tailored towards it. If you are running for time, speed work should be incorporated and you should pick a training plan that incorporates it.
Find a training guide.
There are many schedules out there. Find one that would best suits you and your schedule. This will help you get a real sense of what your schedule would look like for the next 5ish months and if it is viable.
Now is the time to decide with all this information if the choice is right for you at the moment. The great thing is that now you have done all the research. Maybe another time of the year would be better or you found a kick ass one you want to do next year. If you find the timing isn't right- marathons are always there and happening around the clock. If the timing is right read on to part number two and three of this series.