Good morning. I conquered a 16-mile run last weekend.  (The new longest run of my life.) Regular readers know, this is my first time training for a marathon. I knew the mental part of training would be hard, but I don’t think it’s possible to truly grapple with it until you’re in it.  The physical challenge is easy enough to predict. Of course running for hours is grueling. Running for 20 minutes teaches you that. But the mind stuff? That gets exponentially tougher with increased time/distance. (You know, for me at least.)

It was so easy to write down the distances to create a training plan. Super easy – fun even – to add them to my Google calendar and to map out routes on Strava. But the night before I was slated to run 16 miles, I was in a state of disbelief. My 15-mile run was TOUGH even though it was entirely flat. The idea that I was going to run 16-miles in the Berkshires with no bathrooms and tons of hills seemed, quite frankly, preposterous.

berkshire running

running from MA to NY (and back)

On Saturday, the morning of the run, I woke up with no desire to get out the door. But I did, of course, get out the door. I committed to running the first miles at a very slow pace and that was very necessary since the first 3+ miles were straight up hill. I stopped a ton those first 3 miles.

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Training for your first marathon is a big undertaking; I know, I’m doing it now. I’ve asked some of my friends with a marathon or two (or five) under their belts to share wisdom borne from past experience. Here’s what I learned:

TRAINING

Nutrition

“SALT SALT SALT. I can’t emphasize this enough. I literally ate salt packets when it was really hot. Each time you do a water break have a salt break also. I found that JUST drinking Gatorade didn’t cut it.” -Steph G, 3-time marathoner

“Gatorade is key on any run longer than 12 miles.” -Aman S, marathoner

“Though one should keep to a nutrition plan that they’ve set for themselves and not change too much (and practice it on your 20 milers!!!) I did find eating the bananas given out on the course really helpful! they don’t upset your stomach and you can eat them easily while running.” – Camilla G, 2-time marathoner

Marine Corps Marathon 2013

Karen V after the Marine Corps marathon 2013

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Hi guys! Summer is in full swing here in New York. It’s hot, humid and super sunny. I’m pretty into it.

Marathon training officially kicked off on July 3. I’m running the NYC Marathon in November. It’s my first-ever marathon.  I’m using an 18-week training schedule based on Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Marathon Training Plan. Check it out:

Matt helped edit the schedule to fit in some real-life things.  For example, “CLASS” refers to the NYRR running class I am taking 6:30am on Tuesday mornings. It’s a class focused on speed work. I’m excited for it but 6:30am is SO EARLY to be running fast.

Have you run a marathon? What did your training plan look like?

All the workouts: July 3- July 9 (Marathon Training Week 1)

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