Fitness update 2009 #22; Maybe a marathon

Merry Christmas everyone! I’ve decided my fitness goal for 2010 will be running the Equinox Marathon in August. I’d appreciate any advice on my plans or beginning running.

Now, I’m definitely not a runner. If I do this, I expect to walk a lot of it. However, I just found “Couch to 5K” which helps you to go from no exercise to running 3 miles in 30 minutes after just a couple months. It’s a straightforward plan gradually increasing time/distance (depending upon how you choose to measure yourself) over 10 weeks. Nothing fancy. No gimmicks. Since it’s mid-winter in Alaska, the roads are always snowy and icy so I’ll adapt it to cross country skiing until breakup then hit the roads.

I can currently walk 3-4 miles an hour for a few hours. However, if I want to finish before the cutoff time, I’ll need to do better than that, since I expect to take small breaks throughout which will slow my overall time. This should be a great resource to help improve my time. I also need to improve overall endurance since it is the longest I’ve ever gone not on a bike.

This isn’t a nice flat marathon either. It’s the Equinox Marathon mid-August in Fairbanks. The course isn’t a nice flat run along all paved roads. Instead this course winds it’s way up a hill that would be considered a small mountain in some parts of the country but to us it’s a hill. The course makes a giant loop. It goes from around 400 feet to about 2400 feet elevation with some steep climbs and drops then winds back down to finish where it started. It runs along paved roads then heads into the woods on dirt trails for the climb then back to paved roads again. It begins at 8am. You have until 6pm to finish. I don’t like walking on paved roads. I really enjoy off road hiking so I think this will be fun if I can endure the distance.

To do this, I need to make sure I regularly exercise a lot. It would give me a purpose to exercise other than just loosing weight and getting fit. I’m not sure if “training” would apply since I associate that with more structure than I have (doing X miles in Y minutes for Z days, etc). But since my goal is to finish the marathon, perhaps training is the right word.

I talked to my husband about this and he surprised me by saying he approved of my idea. That will make it easier. He likes the idea of a more concrete goal date and purpose for exercising.

However, my “training” won’t be mostly practice runs. Here’s my plan:

Water aerobics: 1-2x/wk

Zumba: dance myself fit 1x/wk

Stationary bike:

Walking and running: the ice rink has an upstairs carpeted area they let people do this during the week (free!) that’s much larger than the itty bitty track at the gym

Cross country skiing: at least 1x/wk until breakup then hiking

Turbo Jam: any day I don’t do one of the above

That’s it! I don’t know for sure I’ll do the marathon. It depends upon if we’re going sailing and the weather. It can be anything from sunny and warm to snow or rain. Even a mix of all of them (yuck! No thanks.) At least this gives me something to daydream about for awhile when my workouts get to be a drag.

I’ve never done anything like this. I have hiked more than 9 miles in a day several times. I also rode my bike to Seattle from Alaska, but that was 10 years ago. I’ve done nothing big exercise wise recently. I have a lot of working out to do before August if I’m going to do this.

So what do you think? Am I being too ambitious or is it good to dream big?

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2 Responses

  1. I enjoy your blog. You seem to have a very balanced outlook on “things”. I recently competed in a bodybuilding competition, and it was so nice to have a personal goal that only had to do with me. (I am a stay-at -home mom, and to have a personal goal not dependent on the kids or hubby was something that I didn’t realize I missed so much). Your marathon goal is awesome, and it will change the way you exercise and enjoy exercise. In my experience with marathon trainees, it is a great goal and a great way to get fit. I think your time frame is really smart to make sure you train safely and don’t get burnt out. If you don’t train at an appropriate pace, you risk injury and setbacks. (Also, if the training is too intense, after the marathon one may be so sick of running, he/she never wants to run again. All the hard work at getting fit just slips away. ) Enjoy your training! Keep up the good work!

  2. Hi MuscleMommy,
    Thanks for the encouraging comment! Fitting in the time it’s going to take is so far a challenge in itself. Still, little progress is better than nothing.

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