A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

2016 goal: Do I really want to train for a marathon?

on April 19, 2016

This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic was a check in on 2016 goals, which I already wrote about a bit earlier this month here. Instead, today seems like a good to talk about a goal I’ve been tossing around in my head lately – do I want to run the Walt Disney World marathon in January 2017? Early registration opened today, with general registration next week so it’s time to decide.

When I first started considering the marathon, I told myself I’d see how my training went this spring before I decided on the marathon. Last fall with the training I was doing for the Des Moines Half Marathon, I developed some knee pain toward the end that cut some runs short. I turned out to have a good race without knee trouble, but definitely wanted to see if that reared its head again with this spring’s training before I decided on the marathon. So far, I haven’t had any injury or knee pain and I’ve got enough long runs under my belt this cycle to feel comfortable saying my body is handling this training well. Importantly, I’ve taken this training easy in terms of mileage and have rarely run 6 days a week like I did last fall.

I would use the Hal Higdon Marathon Novice 1 plan for training, picking up at the “half marathon” in that plan after the back to back half marathons of the I-35 challenge. I used Hal Higdon for my first 10K and my first half marathon. I like the straightforward building up of mileage, focusing on that gradual progression of miles. The maximum mileage would be 40 miles a week, just above the peak of 35 miles I did with half marathon training last fall. Can I safely do that mileage? I think I can if I’m smart about following the plan and keeping the runs easy. My goal in a marathon is just to finish, so I’m not going to worry about paces.

I’ve been thinking about this for months and reading lots of “are you ready for the marathon” articles like this one and this one and you know what? I think I am.

  • I’m not injured (and am in fact fairly injury free in my running life overall – KNOCK ON WOOD!)
  • While my life is never stress free, I at least shouldn’t have another huge grant to write between now and the marathon and my work schedule between now and then is actually pretty friendly for training. This is as low stress as I’m ever going to get, so now is as good as any time.
  • Is my lifestyle conducive to this? I’m actually more worried about training for the back to back half marathons, which will have me away from my family both Saturday and Sunday for a couple of hours at a time than I am the one long run of marathon training weekends. Of course, I’ll also be more tired than I’ve been with any other training cycle but Darrell is on board with this, even knowing that it’ll make me less effective on the parenting/wife-ing front for the fall. His agreement may be because he’s bribed with a cruise after the marathon and a chance to do Harry Potter worlds at Universal on the Saturday pre-marathon while I’m resting and getting ready.
  • I’ve been running for almost four years now and have 7 half marathons under my belt, so I’m comfortable running long distances, fueling, following a training plan and listening to my body. I know the marathon will stretch me beyond what I’ve done before, but I’m coming from a good base.
  • Most importantly, I think I can do this and I want to do it. That “want” is going to be really hard when I haul myself out of my house for a 20 mile run in December in Nebraska.

I’m in.

What have I done?!


Time will tell if this is a good idea or not. 🙂 This definitely informs a lot of my running goals for the rest of the year. I’ll need to focus on maintaining my fitness and building a good base of strength training during the off-time between the Papillion Half Marathon next month and the start of training in the later summer. I’ll need to be conservative in my runs for the I-35 challenge so that I build my endurance and my strength for those back to back half marathons, which will give me a good base for the marathon, without pushing too hard and injuring myself. Importantly, because that back-to-back half marathon race weekend falls in the middle of the marathon training, I have to be extremely careful about not pushing the pace during those races and derailing the marathon training still to come after that.

You know how I know this was the right decision? I pulled the trigger on registering a little over an hour ago and I don’t have that “What have I done?!” sense of panic yet. I’ve got this.

Thanks as always to Erika, Patty and Marcia for hosting Tuesdays on the Run!

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How did you decide when to tackle the marathon? Any advice for me?


18 responses to “2016 goal: Do I really want to train for a marathon?

  1. If I were to run any type of distance, it would be a Disney one! way to go with your decision! We’ll be rooting you on!

  2. Meg B says:

    WOOOOO HOOOOO! Congrats on registering!!

  3. I’ve been there! Will training suck? Yup. But it will be so worth it!

  4. Congratulations on biting the bullet! I think Disney is a great first marathon. There is definitely alot of entertainment along the way to keep you distracted. It was my first marathon. And then two yrs later I ran it w my sister for her first one.

  5. Jennifer @ Dashing in Style says:

    Yay! Congratulations on making the decision and registering! It does sound like this is the right decision for you right now. Funny but I had a similar post written for today but won’t have time to post it so hope to do that next week.

  6. mkadens1 says:

    Yay! I’m glad you’re in. You gave it very thorough thought and weighed the pros and cons. The question I ask myself often is “if not now, when?” Thanks for linking up!

  7. Karen @ Fit in France says:

    I just ran my first marathon a couple weeks ago. It was amazing. The race was all about the finish line and not the finish time. I chose the Galloway run/walk plan where I ran 3 to 4 times a week, with a very slow build of mileage over 6 months. I could never run 6 days a week, too much stress on my body. I made it to the finish line injury free. And loved every second of the experience and the race.

    It was an amazing experience and I agree that you need to have a minimum ”mental availability” and your family’s OK because it does become a bit obsessive, although I did not let it take over my life.

  8. LaChicaRuns says:

    Oh, I just love Hal Higdon’s training plans. I’ve used them for the past three years and especially like that you can switch days depending on your schedule. I typically print them out and put them on my fridge so I have the (ridiculous) reward of scratching them off as I do them.

    Hope you get through your races with no injuries!

  9. Miriam C says:

    I am currently debating running a second half marathon. I definitely feel inspired after your post. I think I am going to try to really stick to Hal Higdons program!


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