My Journey Training to Run a Marathon by Alicia Coil

March 29, 2010 by  
Filed under inspiration

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My Journey Journal

No one has actually said, “YOU’RE CRAZY”. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Everyone’s been extremely supportive. But, I’ve thought it. I’m 48 years old, and I’m training to run a Marathon.

A month ago, I “retired” from a job where I was fairly physically active. Nothing too strenuous; I was walking, climbing ladders, and lifting boxes between 10 and 20 pounds throughout my 8 hour day. Suddenly, my work is 100% in a chair, in front of my computer screen. After one month, I’d noticed a difference. I felt heavier and sluggish. I needed to become more active.

The idea came to me when a good friend sent me a text message after he completed the Los Angeles Marathon. At first, I was first thrilled for his accomplishment. Then I realized, we’re the same age, and he just ran a Marathon! Perfect! I won’t need any special equipment or an expensive gym membership. After all, I already have what I need to run…FEET! I made up my mind right then and there; I would start training the next morning!

I hopped on the internet looking for a marathon in my area about a year from now, and I found it, The Rock and Roll Marathon in Phoenix, AZ.
January 2011.

This is my Journey Journal.

Now, I know a little about human nature, and a lot about myself. That Sunday evening, when I decided to run a marathon, I immediately recruited my oldest son, James, to train with me. I knew if I have someone to train with, I would be accountable to follow this journey through to the finish line. I also knew I needed to set a consistent time of day to run; to make it a routine. Being an early riser, and since I have responsibilities during the day, we agreed on 4 a.m.

Our next decision was the route. The one we chose seemed reasonable, around the block, 4 miles around the perimeter of our neighborhood.

4 a.m. Monday morning was cold and dark. We started down the driveway jogging. I lasted maybe a quarter of a mile before I had to stop. “Let’s just do a brisk walk,” I said, when I was able. So, a brisk walk it was. We also opted for about half of the distance we’d originally planned, jogging the last quarter mile. Forty minutes, and two and a half miles later, we’d completed our first session, exhausted and energized!

That same day, though, I headed back to the internet, this time looking for guidance on how to train for a marathon. Low and behold, I found a site specifically for rookies. I noted that we had been a little too enthusiastic with our first session, and adopted their advice to start slowly, with rest days in between runs. The schedule consists of twenty-six weeks in-training for the Big Event. The remainder of the week, 3 more training days, we walked briskly for 20 minutes each day.
I’ve been back to the internet several times this past week, on several different websites, and I’ve learned that I have a lot to learn: nutrition, vitamins, hydration, and shoes. I know it’s just the beginning, but I feel better. Stronger and healthier because the first step of my year long journey of body and mind, was the first step out my front door!

Next week, James and I incorporate running with the brisk walks!

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3 Responses to “My Journey Training to Run a Marathon by Alicia Coil”
  1. Jenn@slim-shoppin says:

    Congrats on your decision to run a marathon!  I’ve run 2 marathons (2005 & 2006), plus a bunch of half marathons. I noticed that you are doing the Rock and Roll marathon.  I trained in all my long distance events with Team in Training.  It’s a charity that raises money and in lieu of that, not only do you get coaches, but lots of people to train with, who are at all stages from beginner to advanced, to walkers!  I was NOT a runner before I started, and still don’t really consider myself a runner. I am super slow, and I don’t run non stop.  For all my events, I did a 6:2 split, meaning I jogged 6 minutes, then walked 2 minutes right from the start.  I would say the most important thing is the long runs.  During the week, I really didn’t follow their plan to a T. I work full time, and have 3 kids, I’m a wife, so my mid-week runs were only a few miles 3x a week. BUT, I NEVER missed a long run.  The longest I had ever run before the marathon was a 10k (6.2 miles).  It’s kind of crazy when you think about how can I go farther?  But somehow each week, I was able to do it!  Towards the middle/end of training, we would do 14 miles one week, then 12 the next, then 16, then 14, then 18, and we never ran more than 20 miles.  So the day of the marathon was the farthest I had run. 

    All I can say is its hard, but exhilerating, fantastic, emotional, you have to dig deep at times, you may be in pain part of the way, but crossing the finish line is one of the proudest moments of my life.  AND, I did another one the next year, so it couldn’t be that bad! 

    I wish you all the best in this journey!!  You can do it!!

  2. Stephen Tracy says:

    Great Decision!

    I’ve run about 10 marathons starting when I was 39 years old. . and ending around 1989. . when I was 49. Am now getting back into shape. . and may get back into running on a more relaxed basis.

    Anyway, training for marathons was a wonderful experience. . . and I have many wonderful memories. Once you get into shape, you can run and run and run. . . talking at the same time to a companion. . . and really not feel tired even though you cover several miles. The feeling of really making progress toward a worthwhile goal(getting in shape, engaging in a great adventure, etc.). . . and making the decision proactively rather than just sitting around letting the world happen to you. . is great.

    On training, you can not go wrong with doing it at a “perceived exertion” level which has you breathing at a moderate(rather than a killer)pace while you build up your endurance. This allows you to slow down or even run-then-walk when you body gives you the message to do so. . . while gradually increasing the amount of time running and your speed until you find yourself amazingly fit!

    Keep up with the goal. . as it is well worth it!

  3. Jane Shears says:

    Way to go!!   I am not a runner (more of a sprinter when I have to catch a bus!) but I really admire anyone that can run any distance.  
    Keep up the good work.  

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