Here We Go…

Well, after a lot of back-and-forth with myself on when and where to try my first full marathon, I finally took the plunge and signed up for the 2012 Bayshore Marathon. I’m very happy that local running blogger extraordinaire Megan will also make her marathon debut in this race. My wife will be running the half marathon, we have family members and Twitter friends who are running the 10K and half marathon, and I’m sure there will be plenty of other runners we know who are running one of the Bayshore races (10K, half marathon, and full marathon). The races take place in late May, which should give me plenty of time to train outside even if we have a rough winter in this area. I’m very excited, but also very nervous and anxious. One piece of advice I’ve often heard and read is “Respect the distance,” and I intend to respect the hell out of it.

That looks like a long way to run. I'm sure it'll feel even longer when I'm actually running it...

I have no idea what to expect, and I probably won’t even begin to truly comprehend it until I’m running the second half of the race. But I hope that once I begin training for Bayshore, I’ll get at least somewhat of an idea of what I’ll be facing. That’s still a little while away though, so in the meantime I plan to build a strong base, do long runs consistently, and figure out what/how to eat and drink during that long of a run. I never eat and rarely drink during races (I include taking gels or other energy/fuel products in my definition of eating), because I’m afraid those things will mess with my stomach and cause mid-race issues. But 26.2 miles is a long way to run, and I know I’ll need to figure out a plan to get enough liquids during the race and take gels, chomps, or something else to give me a little extra energy for the latter part of the marathon…ideally without causing me any stomach issues. I have plenty of time to work on that stuff and figure it out before the race, but I want to make sure I have all the bases covered by the time I start training. I plan to get some real coaching help for this race which should help me a lot, though I’m sure nothing short of actually running it will fully prepare me for how tough it really is (physically and mentally) or help calm my nerves. Regardless of how it plays out, I’m sure the journey to 26.2 will be memorable (and fun, I hope) for me!

Questions:
Have you run a marathon? If so, what are your tips for first-time marathon runners?

Do you follow organized training plans and/or use coaching services to help you prepare for any of your races? If so, how have they helped?

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8 Responses to Here We Go…

  1. Congrats on the sign-up, Matt! You will love it, even when you hate it :)

    For both marathons I trained for, I used a Runner’s World program. For the first, I stuck to just completing the mileage; I didn’t do much hill or speed work at all. The second go-round was more intense – more mileage, more tempo runs, more track days.

    My advice would be to find a plan that has you running 5 days a week; avoid the marathon training burnout that happens when you overtrain. Practice intaking nutrition on your long run days. Most of all, enjoy the race! I advocate running to finish instead of running for time, although have a general time goal is always nice.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks, Megan! I’m trying to prepare myself to expect pretty much every emotion during training and again during the race. I’m really looking forward to it – it felt awesome finishing my first half marathon, and I can only imagine what it’ll feel like finishing my first full. :)

      I really appreciate the info and advice! I’ve been doing some track work over the last month or so, and I got acquainted with tempo runs while training for the Brooksie Way half. But we’ll see how it goes when the long runs get longer and the tempo runs get more intense. I’ll definitely practice nutrition intake on long runs…I’ve tried that a couple times recently (very tentatively and with minimal amounts), but those runs weren’t very long compared to marathon training long runs. I think enjoying the race is very important, but it might be one of my biggest challenges. I’m not used to not running for time during races, but I’ll get a little practice when I run the Borgess half a few weeks before Bayshore and approach it mostly as a tempo run. Not running for time probably makes it a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable!

  2. Ali Mc says:

    I am jealous that you guys have bloggers that live close :P I can’t wait for your first marathon! it’s so exciting :D

    • Matt says:

      I’m very fortunate that there’s not only an awesome running community in this area, but also a lot of talented, fun, interesting, and dedicated bloggers. :) I can’t wait for the marathon, either! I’m very excited, but also very nervous!

  3. Dan says:

    Good luck, bro! I’m still considering whether to sign up for the Shamrock Half Marathon. We’ll see how the Army/Navy 10K goes…

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