After years of deliberating my motivations for running a marathon, I have finally decided to give it a go. That’s right, on May 1, 2011 – at 6:30 a.m., to be precise – I will join several thousand runners at the starting line of the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. Runners World recently rated this marathon on its top ten list of great marathons for first timers (See January 2011, A 1st to Remember). This recommendation, coupled with my desire to try regional variations on the humble hot dog, will lead me to Cincinnati for my first marathon!
I picked up running at a transformational point in my life. I had left my profession as a photojournalist and was trying to find clarity by returning to school for an additional degree. This was the time when I met my future wife, Dharma, and it was also a point when I decided to make major changes to my lifestyle and physical well-being. In hindsight, I know that I made many good decisions during this time of confusion!
Although I have now been running for over 8 years, there have been varying levels of my commitment to the sport. Usually, I am most committed when I have a specific goal in mind, such as a race or a set number of miles that I wish to achieve over a time period. My last distance “race” was in 2008, which is when I completed my second half-marathon.
This past autumn I created a new list of personal and professional goals. Running a marathon ranked near the top of my priorities. Having just completed my first century on a bicycle, I decided that a marathon in spring 2011 would help to keep up my endurance built from my training on the bike. The weather and lack of sunlight will certainly be a motivational obstacle over the coming months. However, I just successfully completed my pre-training, so I am optimistic about moving forward at this time.
Today marks the beginning of my eighteen-week training program, which was designed by running extraordinaire Hal Higdon. I found success using Higdon’s plans for both of the half-marathons I ran in the past, which is why I have chosen to use another of his plans for achieving this goal. Additionally, I am currently reading his book Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide.
I will be writing throughout the course of my training as a means to reflect and share my experiences with this milestone. I invite you to read along and to share your thoughts. And, if you find yourself in Cincinnati on May 1, come find me and we can share a Cincinnati Cheese Coney after the run!
Higdon’s Ten Truths of Marathon Success:
- Truth Number 1: Progressively longer runs will get you to the finish line.
- Truth Number 2: Scheduling rest days is the key to staying healthy.
- Truth Number 3: Taking one step back allows you to take two steps forward.
- Truth Number 4: Speed training can be a double-edged sword.
- Truth Number 5: Learning pace and learning to race are the two most critical skills.
- Truth Number 6: Consistency rather than spectacular workouts is what counts in the long run.
- Truth Number 7: Nutrition is an oft-overlooked factor in marathon success.
- Truth Number 8: Practice everything connected with the marathon, not just the running of it.
- Truth Number 9: Reducing training several weeks before the marathon is essential.
- Truth Number 10: You’ll go only as far as your motivation will carry you.