I have signed up for the Bayshore Marathon this year in May, running the full 26.2 miles. This will be my first marathon, or indeed, first any official race ever. I have run a couple of 5Ks thus far, and have had respectable unofficial times, but I am certainly not marathon ready yet.
Source: Running Fit Facebook
Marathon Training Program
My earlier plan was to undergo a 3 month training program using one of the marathon training programs on Runkeeper app. I had used one of these programs last year for a few weeks. They worked well but I had to give up after about 3 weeks because my body could not handle the intensity. I have never been a runner and have just taken up running in the last year. I have continued to run 1 or more time a week since then and I feel the time on feet has conditioned my body better to start the training again.
On suggestion of a runner friend, I decided to join the local running group that trains with coaches affiliated to the Running Fit stores in the South East Michigan. These guys have significant running experience with many marathons and half marathons under their belts. The first week 2 weeks with them has been a lot of fun. It has been a little hard to complete the long runs but I feel I am very quickly getting into this and will soon catch up.
Group Training Works Better than Solo Training
I suppose for an experienced runner, solo training may work well. For me and many other beginning runners, group training may be a better option. Already I have found that running in a group creates a kind of peer pressure that makes you put in more effort and go longer than you normally would. It is also nice to converse with others during the run. This helps create a rhythm and allows you to find your own comfortable pace.
We had several hills during the last run, a few of these quite long climbs. I did notice the hills, but a group run makes it easier to keep running up the hill. Perhaps if I was running alone, I might have decided to walk this segment. Now I know I have done these hills, so next time around it will be easier to keep running. A large part of long endurance runs is mental, and when you can get some help building your mental muscles, why wouldn’t you take it?
These are still early days but I am committed to run this marathon in May. My main focus now is to build the stamina, some speed and above all, remain free of injuries so I can complete the race. Once the first race is completed and I have a time, then I can later work on improving my race time. First things first though.