The Great Marathon Debate

A while back I dismissed the idea of doing a full marathon in 2008. But I think I'm going to revisit the idea. On December 13, there is a marathon called the Rocket City marathon about 3 hours away in Huntsville, Alabama.

It's a small race, a couple thousand runners at most. I've heard it's a great first marathon.

I printed off marathon training programs from Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway, and Runner's World. Hal's plan isn't too bad with 4 runs per week. The top weekly mileage is 40 miles (gasp!). Jeff's plan is super-light. There are only two 30-minute runs and one long run per week. It involves the 4:1 method and the website reports a 97% success rate. You run four minutes, walk one. The walk helps your muscles recover a little every half mile or so, so you potentially avoid THE WALL at mile 20. And it's not even that slow. You don't slow down so much in the second half from fatigue and many people PR using this method. (I'll PR regardless since it's my first marathon!) The Runner's World plan also only has 3 runs per week, with the Monday one always being 2 easy miles, then a mid-week run of 5-8 miles, then the weekend long run. (Who knew you could prepare a marathon by running only 3 times per week??)

I need to do more research. But........ it looks...... kind of do-able.

My husband is on board (makes for long Saturdays for him when I'm out running 3 or 4 hours--- or 6!). I have a potential training buddy and/or buddies.

I'm going to pray about it, do my homework, make sure my husband knows what "we're" getting into, and hopefully make a decision in the next few weeks.


tamara said…
My good friend ran the Huntsville marathon last year and said the course was pretty flat. I will ask her more about her experience and let you know what she said. I remember it was unseasonably warm last year - one of those random "heat waves" of the South. But other than that, I think she enjoyed the course.
Pony and Petey said…
GO FOR IT!! Once you run one marathon, prepare to be hooked on those too = ))

I used the Runner's World training program for my first marathon and liked it.

I also like the Hansons-Brooks training plan where your longest long run is only 16 miles with an 8 mile run the next day... instead of the normal 20 - 22 mile longest long run.

I think the biggest piece of advice I'd give a first-time marathoner is to make sure you get to the starting line uninjured.

Run too little and reach the starting line healthy but feeling like you wish you were more prepared rather than run too much and not reach the starting line at all!

I've bookmarked your blog and I look forward to reading about your running adventures!

Pony = )
I haven't visited your blog for a while so it was exciting to read that you're considering a marathon! I started training in January for a marathon in May -- 5 months. The same amount of time you're looking at for a December marathon. And believe me, Donna, as I added the miles each week, there were many times that I just didn't believe I could (or wanted to) go any further. But it all came together in the end -- as it no doubt will for you when you choose your marathon!

I ran "10 and 1s" (10 mins running, 1 walking), so I'm a big fan of the walk break. Makes the distance more manageable, avoids injury and doesn't really slow you down as much as you would think.

Best of luck to you!
RunnerMom said…
Reluctant Runner--- I need you to re-start your blog! I miss reading about your running adventures. Your marathon experience is one of my inspirations to TRY. (Don't remove that blog!) The fact that the last 6 miles weren't that bad, there wasn't a true "wall" makes it seem more doable.

I appreciate the comment. I think 10:1 might be the thing for me. My issue is time more than anything. My 2-year old will only be in preschool 9-12 three mornings a week, and at some point I need to volunteer in my daughter's kindergarten classroom. My long run day is Saturday, but my five-year-old has sports on Saturday mornings. I hate to miss her stuff. I think I'm having MOMMY GUILT and a difficult time with the heat and humidity (91% as I write).

I guess nothing worthwhile is ever easy AND requires sacrifice!