The Road to the Philadelphia Marathon (Part 1)

“The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.” -Fred Lebow

On Sunday, I will be running the Philadelphia Marathon. It will be my 4th marathon. If you would like to follow my progress during the marathon, you can track me here. This will be my first marathon where I have a goal other than just finishing the marathon. My goal is to run it in under 4 hours.

Because of that, I did a lot of things differently than I have in training for my other marathons. I learned a lot of lessons. I thought I’d share a few thoughts with you on what I learned about training for a marathon:

  • Training Alone vs. Training with a Group – This was the first marathon I have trained for by myself. Training by yourself requires a lot of self-discipline, you don’t have anyone pushing you, you need to be highly motivated and able to push yourself. Training with a group was a lot more fun and I made a lot more memories from when I trained with people than I made training by myself. The only downside to training with people is if they do not have the same goal as you. If I had my choice, I would choose to run with a group, but I would make sure the group had very similar goals to what I had so we can really push each other.
  • To Get Faster You have to Train Faster – I really pushed myself to run faster than I have run before. In other marathons I have run, I ran to finish. This time, I meant business! I recognized that the only way I’ll get better and faster, is to train that way.
  • Nutrition Matters . . . A lot! – In the previous 3 marathons I ran, I would often say, “I ran 12-20 miles today . . .  I can eat whatever I want.” And I did! I never lost any weight for the first 3 marathons, I lost a lot of weight this time around and it is because I changed the way I ate. Nutrition matters for performance, endurance, and ultimately your level of physical fitness.

  • Cross Training – In my previous 3 marathons, all I did was run 3 days a week. This time I crossed trained with P90X and played hockey as well. I focused a lot of stretching and flexibility as well. I noticed a huge difference in the way my body performed as a result of doing weight training on top of just running.
  • Do Your Research for a Training Plan – Read a lot of books and articles on training plans. Ask experienced marathon runners what they have done. There are a lot of training plans out there, it is important that you choose the right one for you. I’m already thinking ahead to my 5th marathon . . . if I had to do it again, I’d pick a different plan and seek out a marathon coach to help me.
  • Get a Garmin Watch – I’ll be posting about my watch in this series of posts, but the previous 3 marathons I used my iPhone to track my runs. Too often, with the iPhone, I ran out of batteries and would lose signal in some places. With the Garmin watch, I never ran out of batteries and I could run anywhere I wanted! I loved it!
  • Running and Personal Growth – One of my favorite things about running is the ability to listen to sermons while I run! I logged over 70 hours in training for this marathon, a lot of that time I spent listening to things that would help me grow personally! If you’re a runner, use your time running wisely! 

These are just some of the things I’ve learned while training for this marathon. What are some things you have learned about running a marathon?




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