Why I Should Not Run Marathons

Yet I signed up and got excited when I was chosen to run the New York City Marathon?

Yet I had scoured my email for 12 hours only and STILL HAVEN’T got that email saying I was accepted.

But my NY Road Runners account says otherwise as does my bank account has 255 dollars deducted and as we all know…the internet never lies.


So that’s that, November 3rd I will be hopefully running my first marathon.

It will be my first marathon.  I have one major goal:

Make it there first.  It’s a HUGE risk for me personally.  I’m not exactly the most injury free person and I’ll have to pay special account to anything and everything.  The last thing I need or want is to be injured here…or a week before.

And then I have one second goal:

To be under 3:10.  The website told me with the same training as my (1:24.49) half I could be around 3:00.  Maybe for a seasonal marathoner that is feasible but it’s 26.2 miles and anything can happen.  I’ve heard and seen plenty of people take out their first marathon and either injure themselves or add 30 minutes to an hour on the second half of the race.  I want to finish strong and I don’t want to pressure myself.  I think 3:10 is a smart and wise goal. 

There is one thing I know I’ll need to work on though:

Fueling during running.  I’ve run 99% of my runs and races in the last year without using gels, energy bits, powerbars…ect.  Yes that includes half marathons and yes that includes 20 milers.  I have not bonked yet but I think that is something I’ll really need to work on for the marathon.

It seems in the blogging and running community everyone is running marathons.  I’m sure I’ll get lots of unsolicited advice.  I wanted to wait until mentally I had a day where I said hmmm, I think I want to run this marathon.  No “oh so and so thinks it’s a good idea, or oh they are so I am”…ect.  I could have gutted out a marathon 2 years ago after running my first 18 miler with dad.  Would said marathon be glamorous?  No.  But I want to finish and finish  strong.  I want to put in the time, effort and energy it takes to achieve a time that I’ll be proud of.

Not a time that I can say and sidestep around “well yes I finished but I completely died the second half…I wish I had done x,y,z”.

Finally for those inquiring minds of where my “training” is going.  I still plan to focus on 5ks and speedier runs this summer.  It’s too hot to want to run 20 milers and I’m too injury prone to start serious training right now.  Honestly throughout the summer my training probably won’t change entirely too much.  I’ll still run 10 miles before work.  I’ll still run a 5k on the weekends and see all my Hampton roads friends.   This summer is all about maintaining a strong base and staying injury free.

After Labor Day and once it gets cooler I’ll climb back into running 18-20+ mile runs and take it from there.

Questions for you: 

Have you ever run the NYC marathon?  Or any marathon?


  1. I have never run NYC, th course and logistics scare me 😉 but Renee has so ask her if you need any specific advice. I am excited for you! The training is tough but the race is easily my favorite distance. You will love it!

    1. The Nike logistics scared the bageezes out of me and that was only 15,000 but dad promised he would come watch and my brother goes to school up there. I have no skill to ride the subway by myself or find a hotel…it would be a nightmere by myself. I never want to grow up so dad can always help me LOL.

  2. Well this is exciting! It sounds like you already know what you want to do with it so you’re doing it smartly. I can’t wait to see how your training works out for you!

  3. I haven’t run NYC, but maybe someday. It’s just so darn expensive! I’m better at the marathon than other distances because my endurance far outweighs my speed, but yeah, I feel like it is a bit overdone. So many marathons! So many race reports!

  4. I am so excited for you! I have never run a marathon and on whim signed up for one this fall but my knee had different plans for me this year : ) aka on my couch. I am really excited to see you reach this goal safely and just be a badass all around. I think you are going to really enjoy your choice to not start training for a while, summers in VA are brutal!

    1. Being my first marathon, I don’t think that would be a wise idea. Once I would have a good handle on it I’ll progress that direction. Who knows where it will take me. 🙂

  5. Congrats on getting in, Hollie–this is super exciting news! You will receive zero marathon advice from me, so don’t worry, lol. 😉 Also, I think it’s so smart you waited to run a marathon until you felt ready; it’s definitely a trend in the HLB world, and it seems like a lot of people do them for the wrong reasons (i.e. purely blog content or bragging rights). Can’t wait to follow your training and be a virtual cheerleader! 🙂

  6. Oh, I’m so excited for you!!! I think the coincidences of all the events means your in the marathon! I’m doing Chicago in October to qualify for Boston 2015 and Disney in January. Good luck with your training! I’m also injury prone so staying injury free is my #1 priority too

  7. You totally have the right mindset about the race – it’s your first time at the distance, go out to execute a good race and enjoy it so that there’s a marathon #2. The time will be what it will be, and it will be pretty badass no matter what.

    For fueling, maybe check out Generation UCAN – it’s the stuff that Meb uses, and it’s supposed to help support stable blood sugar better than gels that spike your insulin and all that nasty stuff. The pom-blue tastes like a smoothie, I swear.

    1. Exactly. There is a marathon somewhere in the country probably every weekend. I would like to enjoy my first one and it honestly doesn’t matter to me as long as I finish and stay injury free.

  8. Oooh how cool! Sounds like you’ve got good sensible goals. So many people throw themselves into hard training and injure themselves weeks before which must be devastating. I have planned to do a marathon next year. This year I want to accomplish a few half marathons and get my speed up. But a marathon is definitely something I want to tick off my bucket list.

  9. I was so excited when I saw your picture on facebook. I definitely think that taking the time to ease down and do shorter stuff this summer will set you up for success in the fall. Staying injury free is the best goal! 🙂 Can’t wait to see how it goes!

    1. I got in through the 1:30 qualifying for a women so it was slightly easier (not by much though because they capped “guaranteed” entries at 2000 this year)

  10. Congratulations! I think you’ve laid out a smart & reasonable goal for yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the adrenaline rush of getting accepted & then act irrationally in training. I’m excited to read about your journey to your first 26.2! I’ve never run NYC – not a huge desire for me although I would consider it for the right charity, eg being a guide for a blind runner. I’ve run 3 marathons so far. It’s not my favorite distance but I’ll be damned if it doesnt feel amazing crossing that finish line. 🙂

  11. For some reason, I didn’t realize this would be your first. You tackle other distances like a bad ass speed demon, so I just assumed you had run a marathon before. I understand your reasoning behind not signing up sooner, it seems super smart. Good luck on your training!

  12. I can’t wait to see your marathon training posts 😀 It’s so awesome too that you’re doing NYC! I bet this year especially will be exciting since it was cancelled last year.

    I saw your reply to my other post – and wanted to say thank you! I did the Philly marathon last year (November 2012) with two friends from running club. I actually only signed up because the half was sold out and I still wanted to run something – I was planning on taking it ridiculously easy (predicted time was 4:45) because I didn’t care about anything other than finishing. But my running club friends convinced me to do it with them and with minimal marathon-specific training (one 20 mile long run) we finished in 3:49:24… and miles 20-26 were our fastest, so it was pretty successful 😀 I’m looking forward to actually training a little more for it this year though haha.

  13. I am ridiculously happy for you!!! I thought you were waiting a while longer, but I’m glad you didn’t! You know my story, I think. I’ve run NYC before. It was my 3rd marathon in 2010…and my 3rd ever. I’ve run three more since then and am running the Marine Corps Marathon this fall. You are right – you are going to get a lot of unsolicited advice. I’ll fight the urge to be one of those people, but I can’t resist on three things.

    1) You’re right about fueling. You’ll have to find something that works for you because your body needs more than it can possibly carry for that long.

    2) Train slow to race fast. Long runs build endurance and train your body how to use fuel. From what I’ve seen, it looks like this is what you do.

    3) Watch “Spirit of the Marathon” on Netflix, if you have it. I see there is a Spirit of the Marathon II coming out in June that looks equally good.

    Race day logistics in NYC are a little unique among marathons. I think everyone who has run NYC can probably attest to something they might do differently if they were to run NYC again. If you want to chit-chat about anything, just let me know.


    1. Believe me, I thought I was waiting too but now seemed to be a good time to just take the plunge and go with it. Spirit of the marathon is such a great movie and I can’t wait to see the second. I’ll probably be sending a few (my standards for a few are different) emails but when I start gearing up. Thanks Kevin!

  14. Really smart, Holly. I just ran my first, and I felt like I could have run a marathon two years ago. But like you, I didnt want to just finish – I wanted to run fast, and finish strong. I think so many people do it just to complete the distance… but it is such an arbitrary distance! Plus it is so hard on your body. It shows real maturity as a runner (in my opinion) to wait until you feel completely ready to give it 100% rather than just finishing for the sake of finishing! Penny

  15. I’m really happy you got in! I know you’re not 100% die hard wanting to run it and were just taking a chance, but hopefully it will be a good experience regardless of time, and you never know, you might like it and prefer to do longer races? I guess you don’t know if you try. I am signed up for one in September and I’m not sure either really, my goal is like you, just to make it there. Then maybe finish in 4 hours. Setting a conservative goal like you did is best anyway because it’s your first full.

    I bet you’ll have a great time and you are right, you probably won’t have to adjust your training a lot… just make your long runs a little longer, probably even take that extra 3-4 miles from another run during the week would work.

    Good luck with fueling. I only use it if I’m running a half or something, I do almost every long training run without it lately and have been fine. Sometimes I eat breakfast before and sometimes I don’t. But, I definitely think you will want to experiment with it and use it for the full even though it’s not as important for half marathons and shorter.

    1. I am 100% wanting to run it. I’m not 100% wanting to run it because everyone and their mother runs marathons who runs. If I had not gotten a slot in NYC I would have 95% waited until next year to run…NYC lol.

      I couldn’t not eat breakfast then run 20, but I eat breakfast wait an hour or two and am fine. 🙂

      1. Yeah me too. I have to drive 30 minutes for my long run so I just eat when I get up and by the time I’m ready and there it’s been an hour.

  16. So far I’ve run 11 marathons, but I know I’ll never run NYC, Boston or any other race outside of the UK – I can’t fly due to a rare inner ear condition, so I’m stuck in this country forever (noooo, lolz). The London Marathon is pretty great though, not quite in the NYC or Boston League, but a fab experience nonetheless.

    Can’t wait for your ‘real’ training to get going. I think 3:10 is a very sensible and achievable goal for you – and good on you for not running 26.2 just for the sake of it. Running a marathon at your personal best is very different from just plodding round for the medal and bragging rights.


  17. I was so excited when I saw this on Instagram! It’s awesome! I really hope you just do what YOU think you have to do before the marathon and stick to it. Everyone is different as far as training is concerned. I mean, you can read articles or other things but everyone is different. It’s a good plan to not push your body in this incredibly hot weather. I think you’re on a good path, but what do I know?

  18. Ahh congratulations on getting into the race! I entered the lottery but didn’t get in. Honestly, I feel fine with it because the thought of training secretly overwhelmed me 🙂 Fate decided that it wasn’t my time yet 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading more about your training!

  19. No advice from me!! Just a “go get it” I know a 3:10 is in there for you – Have fun out there – Enjoy your first.

  20. Congrats on getting in, Hollie! I actually had no idea that races didn’t accept everyone who signed up, so the fact that you got in is a pretty big accomplishment in itself. And don’t worry… you won’t be getting unsolicited racing advice from this girl because the chances of me running a marathon are about as likely as the chances of me getting sent to the moon. Possible, but not probable. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing about your training though.

  21. So incredibly happy for you 🙂 I know I’ve texted you like 23094890 times but still – this is so exciting. The last (and only) marathon I ran was Richmond in 2011 and it was hands down my proudest moment. Nothing beats crossing that finish line!!

    Oh but since I am an expert and all – Hollie, you really should be eating ingesting carbs every 30 minutes after 60 minutes of intense exercise, duh 😉

  22. I’m so excited to follow you on your journey! I know a lot of people who dream of running the NYC marathon, but I never thought about it as a goal I have. Running Berlin in September, I am thinking there is a change that I will be more overwhelmed by the 40.000 runners than by the marathon. Either way, it’s going to be really emotional, both for you in NYC and for me in Berlin.

  23. This is really exciting for you! And don’t try to play it down, my dear, running and training for a marathon is a huge deal even if you do run 80+ miles a week – especially aiming for a sub 3:10 finish! Crazy speedy. I wish more people would recognize this.
    But, you seem to have a really smart attitude going into this. After my experience these past few months, I’m all about the injury-free thing.

    I’m still living in NYC in November, maybe I’ll come spectate 🙂

  24. First of all that’s friggin fabulous that you were selected to run!
    I have yet to really get bit by the marathon bug. I’m sure I will one day, but for the moment I’m haooy with half, and a few longer runs thrown in there.
    I completely agree with you on runnin in the heat. I may have grown up in Florida, but in the summers I rarely run over 10 miles. I know I run poorly in the heat and have learned just not to fight it.
    Good luck, I can’t wait to follow your training!

  25. Awesome job!!!!! I have no advice to give, seeing as I’ll be “running” 4 miles for my first time ever in 2 weeks, haha. No fueling needed during that one. I look forward to reading about it in 6 months and about all your training!

  26. this is really flippiin’ exciting! i can’t wait to follow along on your journey..here’s to good training, and injury free, happy running 🙂 maybe after i hear your account i’ll have a desire to do a marathon. HA. 😀

  27. Good for you Hollie! I love your approach and that you’re doing this for you and not because “everyone else” is. I know you’ve put a lot of thought to this over the years I’ve known you and I’m happy to see that you’ve waited until now!

  28. I’ve not run NYC but its on the list. I’ve run 4 marathons and one coming this fall. Every race was different for me. I’ve run a 1:39 and the calcular says I can run faster than my PR of 3:38 so who knows. It depends on weather, how you are feeling that day and training. Good luck!

  29. Yay for getting in! I saw some people updating their statuses when they had been accepted! I think you are going about this in a smart way and you and you alone know what you can and can’t handle. I think it’s smart you want to get an idea of how to fuel, I still have no idea what works for me since my plan is usually thrown out the window during the race. I will say that I enjoyed training for our spring marathon more than our fall one, because I don’t like heat running at all. With your base though, it’s great you can push the 20 milers back into the fall 🙂

    I haven’t done the NYC Marathon but we did spectate when Mike’s mom ran it in 2007? (we weren’t runners then so we didn’t care as much, haha). It’s on Mike’s bucket list but not mine, so I’ll probably spectate him running it someday. We have done two others (I finished both, Mike only finished one): Wineglass and Cleveland. We have the MDI Marathon in October and maybe another one in the winter of 2014. If not, our next marathon will be at the end of our Ironman in August 2014.

  30. I am SO excited for you Hollie! You will rock the marathon for sure. I think you have a great goal of staying injury free and strong. I am with you on needing to work on eating while running. I did a 22-miler last summer without anything and I def hit the wall haha! Not a good choice on my part!

  31. You know I am super excited for you right? And I wish I could find a way to come and support you! Hollie, your are smart and a very talented runner. Stay smart and I have no doubt you will stay injury free, enjoy this journey, and finish strong!

  32. Very cool. I’m excited to see how you do! I’m running my first (MCM) but I have no freakin clue how it’s going to go. I am not setting a (time) goal other than to finish – even if I have to crawl or be drug across the line. I do think that you’ve got enough runner sense – and experience – that you’ll train smart and be just fine.

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