When Disney announced the new course for the 20th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon, as well as the super-amazing bling that finishers would get, I couldn't help myself - I had to register! This would be my first attempt at 26.2 miles. I had trained for a half marathon before, using Jeff Galloway's training plans that runDisney provides. They include two shorter runs during the week, and a longer run on the weekend. I had tried to be consistent with the plan, but things always got in the way and I'd miss workouts here and there. That is, until I discovered Gym-Pact! I knew that conquering 26.2 miles would take hard work and dedication. I HAD to get in my three runs a week to be prepared. So in September last year, I made the commitment. I consistently set my pact for 3 workouts a week, and using the RunKeeper integration, met my pact week after week. On January 13, 2013, I completed the Walt Disney World Marathon - my FIRST marathon - with my new BRFs (Best Running Friends) in #CorralG with a conga-line finish. It was amazing! And I'm considering adding another marathon to my calendar, so I'm keeping up my pact. Tomorrow I will hit 100 workout with Gym-Pact. And every penny that I've earned is still in there, because I'm saving it up for something amazing - maybe even that newly-announced #DopeyChallenge @runDisney.
Here are some of my tips for training for ANY distance:
1) Make a plan: whether it's your first 5K or your 80th marathon, you need a plan for how you will meet your goal. If you don't know where to start, look for workouts online. There are some good couch to 5K plans (I started back before GymPact with Daily Burn's plan), and I highly recommend Jeff Galloway's training for longer distances. Also, consider cross training opportunities if you're strictly a runner. For my 5K-10K plan swimming and biking were part of the plan which helped prepare me for a sprint triathlon! Building stronger muscles and better cardio function make you a better runner!
2) Listen to your body: if you'd asked me three years ago if I would ever run 26.2 miles I would have laughed in your face! I wasn't even a runner three years ago, let alone a marathoner. Anyone can do it, but it's important to listen to your body. Heed the aches and pains, the tweeks and twinges, and take care of yourself. Even when you've got a plan, recovery and rest are important. And GymPact is great about letting you take a needed break - just ask! I've had to use it twice when I got sick.
3) Find some friends: Most of my races before the Walt Disney World Marathon I ran alone. None of my family or friends were really that into running, and I reveled in the opportunity to spend some time alone with my thoughts on the road - free therapy if you will! But nothing will ever compare to the experience of completing 26.2 miles with amazing people, helping to push you through tough miles, and building that bond. Most of these people I had never met before, but we connected online. There are great running communities out there - find one that fits your running style, and join in!
4) Have fun: the most important part about your training is to have fun! If you don't love putting in the miles, even GymPact will be hard pressed to motivate you. But seriously, find music, friends, a trail, whatever you need, to have fun when you're out there. Some days it's hard to put on my running shoes and get out the door - but I never come home and say, "I wish I hadn't gone for that run."
If I can do it - ANYONE can do it!