Early in my running journey, I knew I would one day attempt a marathon (26.2 miles), but I didn’t know when and I knew it would take me a few years. I started running January 2015 and 5 years later in January 2020, I completed my first full marathon!! I am on cloud 9 still and so so happy with my accomplishment. Marathon training was tough but the reward was so worth it. In this blog post, I share about my journey through the 5 months of training. Remember, you can do anything you set your mind to.
I signed up for the Walt Disney World Marathon 2020 five months before in August 2019. Registration had opened back in April 2019, but I was still unsure if I would be able to make it to Disney World in January 2020 due to work time off and money so I didn’t sign up early like most runners. I felt ready for the training and for the marathon (after 5 years and 3 half marathons).
I started training on my own at the end of August 2020. I bought new shoes too at that time— Brooks Adrenaline 19.
I found a marathon training plan online that best fit with my ability and time. Then, I started training. I was 20 weeks out from the marathon and had already done 3 half marathons.
I was a bit worried because after my half marathon in April, I stopped running. That wasn’t good. I had to get my body used to running again.
I ran 4 days a week.
Read more HERE.
It started to go downhill in September. It was the start of many sick days. I was sick the first whole week with a bad cold and cough. After that I continued marathon training slowly.
I was fine the first week of October and then I was sick for 3 weeks straight on and off. Colds, cough, stomach flu, sore throat, etc.
I was at a loss and didn’t know if the marathon was even going to be possible with so many missed training runs.
You can read more about it HERE.
The first week of November I ran Chicago’s Hot Chocolate 15K and then a few days later, I tried running with compression socks for the first time ever and on that same day my right foot got injured at the very start of my long run. I don’t know if it was the socks or what? I saw a sports chiropractor for a couple times and he recommended for me to not use compression socks again.
Again, I found myself questioning if the marathon would be possible because I COULD NOT RUN. It was too painful–like level 11 out 10 painful when running.
Thankfully, I recovered but I still felt a bit off from my right foot for a while and yes, I missed more training runs because of it.
I needed help so I got a running coach to help me train for my first marathon!
BEST DECISION EVER!
Honestly, I was thinking of getting a running coach for my second marathon (who thinks of a second marathon before running their first? Me!). For my first marathon, I just wanted to have fun and just make it to the finish line without a time goal. I felt that was something I could train for by myself, but because I missed so many training runs, I decided to reach out to Katherine from Sugar Runs and we started working together since early November. I highly recommend her if you’re looking for a running coach!!
I also bought a second pair of Brooks Adrenaline on Black Friday. This time I got the 20 and those were the shoes I wore for the marathon. I sized up a whole shoe size from 6.5 to 7.5 because I was told my feet would swell up after mile 20. I’m glad I did!
I ran the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon the weekend after Thanksgiving as a training run and I started off too fast and ended up injuring myself at towards the end. I walked after mile 10ish. I also remembered to take my second gel too late and I wasn’t feeling great. I’m glad for the lessons I learned that day and avoided making the same mistakes for the marathon.
Oh, the holiday season. Marathon training has no holidays.
I continued my coach’s training plan and luckily, the weather was NOT bad in Chicago. We barely got any snow and it was warm for winter. I enjoyed going outside for runs so much! It was my “me” time to think, listen to podcasts, listen to books, and just enjoy the views and get some vitamin D.
I believe my coldest run was in 18 degree weather, but most runs were 30-40 degree weather. Some were really windy, but I was thankful for sunny days and heated bathrooms 🙂 We of course, had colder days but I chose not run outside on those days.
I experienced left calf pain on several of my runs in December. It eventually resolved itself. I did take warm baths and used my roller on it. But, man, I struggled on runs when I had calf pain. I would literally say out loud “I can do it” over and over to get me through it.
I recall one day being specially hard and it was already dark out and I was in pain, but I kept on moving forward and completed my run. At that point, I just didn’t want to miss another training run.
My training runs got better and I was eventually pain free.
Training started to feel like a second job with the increase mileage, but I truly enjoyed it. I ran Tuesday evenings on the treadmill, Thursdays either outside or on treadmill, Friday nights on treadmill, and Sunday morning outside (long runs).
I really started to watch what I ate and I ate A LOT. I was so hungry, but then again I’m always thinking about food any other time of the year haha.
Long runs would take me over three hours each Sunday! I can run 13.1 miles in 3 hours. Long runs in my training were longer than that. The longest I ran was 19 miles, but it was back to back runs. I ran majority of it the afternoon/evening before and then the rest early morning of the following day.
I got a full body massage for the first time in my life and I loved it!!
My coach planned 7 training runs for me in January prior to marathon day, and I only did 6 because the 7th run was for the day before the marathon and it was my daughter’s birthday plus we were at Disney World already. We walked A LOT that Saturday before the marathon and I forgot my camera in the room when we were heading to the buses in the morning; I jogged back to our room (at the back of the resort) and jogged back to the buses. I counted that as my workout haha.
During and after marathon training, I said I would never do this again. After I crossed the finish line, I thought, “when can I do this again?” I used to be half crazy before (half marathoner), now I am full crazy!
My next blog post will be about about marathon day!
I have tons of pictures with characters. The coarse was cut short due to high temperatures, I crossed the finish line with a friend, and I want to do it again!
Have you run a marathon?
Is it on your bucket list?
When’s your next race?
Leave me a comment below.
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