Train for a marathon the right way or you’re headed for injuries. You must do more than run a million miles during training to get ready for a marathon. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional or expert runner to complete a marathon or half marathon.
If you want to run a marathon one day, read this interview with Victoria, a dedicated exerciser.
Mark: How long have you been a committed exerciser and how did you get started?
Victoria: I have been exercising since I was a young person. I am a bit of an endorphin junkie and exercised to help control my weight. I only started running though about 5 years ago. I had started smoking and wanted to quit. I figured if I hung around distance runners, I would not smoke and it would keep me accountable. It worked and I discovered a wonderful community of supportive people!
Mark: How does exercise improve your quality of life?
Victoria: Overall, exercise makes me feel good about myself, especially when I am diligent and the hard work is realized through results. Running has taught me so much. Every time I run, I learn. I run with Rogue Running and each week we achieve new goals through long runs or quality workouts. It is such an amazing feeling to work hard and persevere! I completed my first 22 mile run several weeks ago.
Mark: What was the first race you ran and did you finish?
Victoria: Ah, my first race. I remember it well. It was a 10K, mid-August in Austin, Texas at 6:30 pm! It was literally about 100 degrees and there were thousands of people. I took off too fast and about 2 miles in I was struggling. People were dropping due to the heat, there was a lack of water/cups on the course, it was hilly and tough. I finished though—I think in just over an hour. It was very hard!
Mark: What was your first marathon or half marathon race and did you finish?
Victoria: I am currently training for my first full marathon. My first half marathon was Austin in 2010. It was awesome. The course was challenging, but I was so moved by the cheering crowd that I finished in 1:54 (not bad)! It was an awesome experience!
Mark: What type of training do you do for a marathon?
Victoria: I have been training with Rogue Running for over 5 years. They have a variety of coached programs and supported runs. I have taken everything from base and PR classes to marathon training. For my current marathon class, we follow a program based on the Lydiard method. I started this summer in a base class that worked on endurance and strength.
My official training started a few months later and has been divided into three phases: base, strength and speed. I train with my group 3 days a week. One day concentrates on strength, one day is our quality workout where we do various workouts (depending on the phase) and Saturdays is our long run.
I also do weights a couple of days a week at the gym and have several medium easy runs scheduled in. I really love the camaraderie of training with a group and it is great to have an experienced coach to go to with all of my questions and concerns.
Mark: How do your eating habits change during marathon training?
Victoria: When I first started running, I was under the impression that I had a license to eat because I was a runner. Ten pounds later, I realized that is not true. I have since learned to listen to my body and try to eat a variety of nutritious foods. I reward myself with cheat days every now and then.
Mark: How do you avoid injuries during marathon training?
Victoria: I fell in love with running immediately and as I said earlier, I learn every time I run. I made the big mistake of dropping my strength and cross training programs early on. I had numerous injuries. It is only in the last 2 years that I have realized I have to balance it all.
I mean seriously, how can I expect my legs to carry me 26.2 miles if I can’t even leg press my body weight? I have found balance difficult as marathon training is time consuming, but I have managed to work it all in this time and have been injury-free for a while now (knock on wood).
Mark: How do you train and eat for the 2 weeks prior to a marathon?
Victoria: We will see! I know the taper comes…the running tapers off. As for food, I eat pretty healthy all of the time (I just eat too much!).
Mark: What’s your best time in the half marathon? Marathon?
Victoria: I have completed 2 half distances, the best being the Austin Half at 1:54. We will see how Austin Full Marathon works out for me this year. I am being a bit more conservative and hope to finish in around 4 hours.
Mark: How long does it take to recover from a marathon?
Victoria: Recovery from the half is a week or so. I usually drop into a PR program or a program with shorter distance a few weeks after completing a race or class.
Mark: What advice would you give anyone considering a half marathon or marathon race?
Victoria: DO IT! For me, running has changed my life in ways I cannot describe. The Austin running community is awesome and the feeling you get when you run is awesome….it is just so rewarding. There are challenges and it takes dedication, but the payoff is tenfold.
Austin has so many wonderful running groups and programs, so if you need camaraderie and support it is there. The great thing is that in these programs there are people who have never run to Olympic hopefuls. There is room for everyone!
Running has given me so much. The more I put into it, the better it becomes! I am traveling to Morocco in March 2013 on a 9 day running adventure. We are going to run the old roads and even the Sahara~ how cool is that!
We will follow Victoria’s training as she prepares to run her marathon. Stay tuned!!