Training: Marathons and Dragons

Last week was an interesting week for me.  As many people know, I’m entertaining the idea of a winter marathon.  I haven’t run a marathon since the Phoenix Full in February of 2015, and I’ve only run full marathons.  Neither marathon has been great or made me love the distance. I’m also not entirely sure I’m ready, but I’m putting in a few longer runs in the next two weeks to see how I feel.img_1686

Putting in long runs means extra rest days, and for the next couple of weeks, I’ll probably run five days versus 6.

Monday: Easy Run  
Tuesday: OFF PT/ART
Wednesday: Long Run (17.75 miles)  
Thursday: OFF PT/ART
Friday: Easy Run with a friend  
Saturday: Dragon Run 5k (18:58)  
Sunday: Jakes Place 5k (2.8 miles) 17:11  

I never have much to say about my easy runs.  I think that’s natural.  I had a great time running with a friend on Friday though!Thoughts:

Long Run:

The only goal of this run was to finish injury free.  I had no time or pace goal, and in fact, it was my longest run in almost 18 months.  Nothing hurt or ached during the run, and I finished feeling satisfied.  I’m not confident in running any further right now, but I’m sure I’ll build confidence by running longer again.

Dragon Run 5k (18:58)

A few kids came into work discussing the race and told me last week to do it. Since it was a 5-minute drive to work afterwords, I had too.  Long story short, my legs were sore after my 17+ miler, but they didn’t feel terrible.  I was outkicked by five boys in the final .05 (who probably didn’t want to get chicked), and they pulled me right under 19.

Jakes Play 5k (2.8 miles) 17:11

This was supposed to be an actual 5k, but it wasn’t.  I would love to tell you I randomly PRed by a minute but the course was about .25-.3 short.  I wasn’t in the mood to run, but two of my very good friends were running so I decided to go anyways.  Plus, the race fundraised for “Jakes Place,” a local playground/park for special needs children.  I have used that bathroom several times on runs, and I wanted to support the cause.

I ran the first mile in 6:16 and the second in 5:58.  My average pace for the entire race was 6:06 so my guess is I would have run between 19-19:10 for a full 5k.  While I’m disappointed in the race, it happens.  I race so many 5ks, some being long (like last week), some being short so it all balances out.


Training wise, my week was great.  As I mentioned, I’m at a cross roads of deciding what I want to do.  Train for a marathon?  Continue working on speed?   The next two weeks will definitely play a decision in that.

This was definitely a defining week for me.  While I’m still not 100% sure about marathoning again, I am entertaining the idea more than I have in a very long time.  My goal for my third marathon would be too make it to the start and finish line healthy.  I’m still not entirely comfortable with the distance, and I don’t think adding a time goal would be appropriate.  My goal for the marathon would be to both start and finish injury free.

Questions for you:

Do you consider yourself to have a good finish line kick?

Do you love or hate the marathon?  Or are you indifferent?

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  1. I’m with you on the marathon. I’m training for my second and I just want to start/finish injury free. After this one I’m taking a break. I’m not in love with the distance either. A half marathon is achievable and more fun, in my opinion, though 5Ks are my favorite to race.

  2. I remain happy every time I SEE the finish line…and what has felt like a kick no doubt looks more like drunk stumbling toward the finish line. So of course, I love the marathon…no matter how bad it hurts!

  3. I know that you are not necessarily looking for advice, but if you don’t love the marathon … don’t feel like you need to do one. I just recently had this epiphany myself and it feels like a weight was lifted. If you are excited about training for a marathon, then definitely go for it!

    1. I always appreciate your advice. I’m not sure, I don’t hate the marathon but I don’t love it either. I think I do need more experience in it to make an executive decision.

  4. Glad you are feeling well and racing well post-injury! Do you have a short list of winter marathons you’re considering? I am considering targeting the Phoenix Marathon in 2017. Would you recommend that one?

    1. I like the Phoenix marathon a lot Angela and I think it’s a great race. I do believe the downhill wasn’t great for me personally (originally I thought downhill=super fast). The course itself is very fast but I think personally I need more elevation change. As far as the actual race experience, I have no complaints and really enjoyed everything. In summary, I would completely recommend it if it’s on your list.

  5. “I have used that bathroom several times on runs, and I wanted to support the cause.” – Seems like a good enough reason to me :).

    I am also entertaining the idea of a winter marathon but haven’t run a 17 miler to see how that feels just yet. I am planning a few 16’s later this month and maybe I will get some idea if I want to go through the training or not. I agree with Sam about not feeling like you *have* to do a marathon but at the same time, I only participated in one and you did two, maybe it takes a while to see if the distance is really for you or not? Plus you’re a different runner and in a different place in life than before.

    Glad you had a couple good 5Ks in there as well! Can’t wait to read about them.

  6. The marathon is a fickle beast. It is a race that I sometimes love but sometimes hate. I am currently in a bit of a running funk so feeling a bit crazy about the fact that I have to run NYC in November. I say go for the winter marathon if you are really feeling pumped for it 🙂

  7. I’ve run 5 marathons (4 boston, 1 in providence rhode island). I would say I more have a love/hate relationship with running rather than a specific distance. For WAY too long, I’ve been in a running funk. My right hamstring has been hurt for ages and it’s just not pleasant to run. I am like you ( I think ) in that if something hurts I do NOT run. Why run through pain?? (so many of my friends do this and I just don’t get it. I can’t stand running if something feels off (except for every day soreness, etc) ). Anyway, so I was surprised to see you back on the marathon train 🙂 I completely get it though. I am so hot and cold. My mind literally changes within 5 seconds. I think you’re smart to not commit yet – try out the longer runs and see how they feel. I know you don’t write everything you are feeling but JUST from your writing, you don’t seem as excited about the possibility of a marathon versus when you are training for other races. Is there something that sparked the desire to run a marathon again? Would you consider a spring one instead or is there something in you that wants to do a winter one – any one in particular you are considering? Good luck in any case!

  8. I think I usually have a pretty good kick at the end. Sometimes if I’ve gone really hard, I can’t muster to go much faster but I love trying to get that final push towards the finish line. The marathon is a big distance. I think if you could have the goal to stay healthy it could be a great experience. However the marathon is a beast and big time commitment which is the hardest part for me- especially with the fact that I can train and not just run another marathon if I have a bad time the next weekend because I always need to recover.

  9. At this point I honestly couldn’t imagine running a marathon, but I have mad respect for those who can. It’s tough! But if you’re injury free and feel like your body will respond well to training, then I say test the waters with longer runs and see how that feels. Just remember that you don’t HAVE to run marathons if your heart’s just not in it. It’s a huge commitment in more ways than one, and if you didn’t love the two you already did, then maybe that’s just not the distance for you. I know you love your 5Ks, so would training for a marathon get in the way of those?

  10. I’ve been doing a lot of running with friends recently, and it’s been so nice. During the season, it’s tough to sync up with folks who can run the same pace/workout, plus figuring out an actual *time* to meet (before vs. after work) can be a struggle logistically. One of the perks of the off-season. 🙂

  11. I just dropped from the philly full to half. My iron levels plummeted and anemic with a vengeance again. Between that and a demanding new job – I didn’t feel like forcing myself through the meat of training for a possibly mediocre result. Saving myself from 10 -15 miles a week is worth and even though I have run 6 marathons I am still not sold on the distance. I think some people are definitely built better for it than others. The half though for me is perfection. I love a good 10-14 mile long run.

  12. I just finished writing a Blog Post about my second, and last Marathon,
    I felt as prepared as possible for the Race, and then was humbled by the experience. I don’t think I have the time necessary to fully prepare. Not to mention, I need to feel competitive if I am racing. Preparing for the Marathon made me faster at shorter distances. So now I am pumped to see how well I can do.
    My goal is to maintain fitness, and run fast. I just need to find the right maintenance plan.
    You are an inspiration! Keep crushing the 5Ks and whatever other distance you decide to run,

  13. First of all, GREAT times on both 5ks even though the second was short. I hate when that happens but what can you do? I love that you used the bathroom there and wanted to “support the cause.” That is hilarious! As for the marathon? I kind of hate it but also love it. I know you understand that. Not sure if I will ever do one again but, never say never…

    1. That’s exactly how I am as well Allie…I never say never but definitely not sold on the idea.

  14. This is my year of the marathon. I’m at week 40 of 45 training for my hometown, Santa Clarita, marathon. I’m looking for a Boston qualify time, I’m shooting for a 3:05:00.

    I’m an all or nothing kinda personality, if I drag myself into something it typically doesn’t go well, for me if you’re not stoked on the idea; chill until you’re really feeling it.

    No kick in an 800 M, little kick in the mile, a decent kick in a two mile, good kick in the three mile or 5K distances and up.

    I dig your blog, thanks for writing it.

  15. Hi there that some great races you ran. I don’t think I have a luck at the end though there are times if I don’t go out to fast I have a little bit of energy left to kick the last 10 yards.
    I never ran a full marathon so I don’t know if I like them or not,but I do love half marathon, I ran 4 of them and they are fun, especially when it so quiet and you can just hear all the runners feet bit the ground. Sounds great.
    Happy running hollie.

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