Hi all – I’m Kathleen’s younger brother and the final member of our Richmond marathon training “team”. I’ll be filling in some of the gaps that aren’t discussed by either Kathleen or Mike and giving a running novice’s perspective on marathon training.
Prior to the summer of 2012, I had essentially no distance running experience. Between the three of us, I am hands-down the greenhorn (Discovery Channel reference for Kathleen). The prospect of running a marathon was never really something I seriously considered. I don’t recall my initial response to Kathleen when she asked if I’d want to run in Richmond, but it definitely was not an enthusiastic yes – or a yes at all. I went back-and forth for several weeks as I decided whether I could and wanted to run 26 miles.
One of my major apprehensions for running a full marathon was my seemingly fast “graduation” to increasingly long race distances. I went from nothing to half marathon in 10 months of sporadic training. With barely a year of running experience, 26 miles just felt too ambitious.
Until recently, I was a fairly uninformed runner. I didn’t know what type of training to do, how to prepare for various distances and how to remain injury-free. Unsurprisingly, my first 9 months of running were littered with injuries and training setbacks. Races shouldn’t be stressful, but that’s exactly what they became for me. Given all of that, I finished every race I registered for and I consistently outperformed my expectations. These races really gave me the motivation and confidence that I needed to prove that I could, with proper training, run a marathon.
For now, the hardest part is not physically running, but rather mentally committing to a 17-week training program for a 26 mile run. As great as it would be to call myself a “marathoner”, it wasn’t yet a deep aspiration of mine. My running career felt too young for me to be aiming for something so elite.
I waffled between yes and no for several weeks, but ultimately decided that there’s no reason to put off attaining such an amazing personal achievement until next year or the year after. The more time I spent thinking, the more it became a real aspiration. On top of all of that, I’m really looking forward to training and racing with Kathleen and Mike – the two people that got in me interested in running. The 17-week training commitment still scares me, but as Kathleen said in a past post, it’ll all be worth it when I see the finish line at the bottom of the final downhill. I really hope she’s right about it being at the bottom!