Yep, you read that right. I signed up to run 42.2 glorious KMs (or 26.2 miles for my American friends) at the Calgary Marathon on May 29, 2016. Sure, there’s a lot of time between now and then, but I’m really going to need to prepare. The furthest distance I’ve raced was 30KM (18.6 miles) at Around the Bay earlier this year. I distinctly remember thinking at the end of that race “how the hell could I run 12.2 more KM?!?” and that thought has certainly ran through my mind again because I’ve only ran up to 21.1K (13.1 miles) in the past 5 months or so. This marathon is going to be a huge challenge for me, but at this point I feel ready… ask me again in February…
With this new endeavour I’ve really had to think about what needs to change in my life in order to be successful. Yes, I can follow a plan and just complete all the runs, but that won’t be enough to get me to the start (and finish) line. So, I thought I would share with you a few things that come to mind right now that need to change for me to kick ass at my first marathon (in no particular order of importance).
– Better nutrition. Right now I mostly follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to healthy eating. 80% of the time I eat super healthy and relatively balanced, 20% of the time I will have a treat (wine, macaroon, poutine). Of course, I am not a doctor, but I believe this is a system that works for me. The alternative side is that I don’t eat enough to sustain a body that will train for a marathon. I’ll really have to look at my nutrition making sure to eat enough of the right foods so that my body is optimally fuelled.
– Cross training. This is tough to admit, but I really don’t cross train right now. I just run. And sometimes do yoga and stretching. I can seriously acknowledge my weaknesses and I know that cross training will set me up for success while training for a marathon. I’ll need weights and low impact exercise for non-run days. This is one area that I have to really get serious about.
– Stay strong. Since I will be training through a Calgary winter, I am going to need all the motivation I can get to do those long runs outside. The furthest I ran outdoors in the cold was 25KM training in about -20 celsius (-4 fahrenheit), which was not enjoyable AT ALL. But, I did it. So, I will need to channel that motivation again for even longer training runs in possibly colder weather. I will need to do my best to stay mentally strong through a long winter of training, keeping the ultimate goal in mind.
– Connect with community. Further to the point above, I will need to be less afraid of connecting with the running community both online and offline for support. I’m sure I am not the only one training for a first marathon in the winter, so seeking advice or just chatting about issues will be extremely helpful. I need to reduce the fear associated with asking for help. I love the way runners support each other and feel grateful to know people all around that will be there in tough times.
– Group runs. I need to keep doing this. I need to get out and about with people, whether it’s a full long run or just running with a group for part of my long run. This will help me stay motivated and happy to also know others are embracing the cold weather running too.
– Get the run gear. My winter running gear collection is not perfect. I need to seek out some sales and grab some extra gear so that I am not making excuses and skipping outdoor runs.
I’m sure a few more things that I need to change will come to mind, but these are the immediate ones that I need to start taking care of right away. I’ll be honest, I am both excited and scared of running my first marathon. The distance seems insurmountable, but with proper training and care I know that I should be able to tackle this challenge with strength and tenacity!