To marathon or not to marathon

Lately I've been thinking about running my second marathon. But I only want to do this if I can train properly, which I did not do for my first marathon (Charlotte's Thunder Road).

My errors were many during my training (and also during the race) for Thunder Road. I ran that marathon after only running for five to six months (crazy). I didn't do any speedwork or conditioning. I just logged miles because I was still in the base-building phase of my running. My average weekly miles were about 15 to 20 miles per week (also crazy). On race day, my fueling strategy (and I use the term "strategy" loosely) went out the window and turned into "guzzle as much water as possible." In fact, it was more like guzzle all of the water. By mile 21, I could feel the water just sloshing around in my stomach. Awful.

I finished in 4:39:16. Ugh. A far cry from my four(ish) hour goal - which, for the record, I was pacing for just over that up until the water sloshing - and slower than what my paces from other races would have suggested I'd run.

Don't get me wrong. I had an awesome time training for and running that race, as well as raising money for Family Addition Dog Rescue in the process, and I'd do it all over again just the same way, I'm sure.


That is not how I want my next marathon experience to roll. I have longterm goals of qualifying for Boston, but I know I need at least one (maybe two) more marathon experiences with real respect-the-distance-training under my running belt before I attempt that. The next marathon, I'd be shooting for somewhere around 3:50, which should be feasible once I regain my fitness in the next training cycle or two.

But in order to train properly for the full marathon, I think I also need to actually train properly for a half. None of my half marathons so far have been run with proper training either. Yes, my times improved dramatically (and yeah, I ran my last one at 19 weeks pregnant when my average mileage was about 15 miles a week, so I get a free pass there), but those improvements still only came from logging miles because I was still only building my base and not doing speedwork or conditioning.

I'm still playing it by ear, but either the Charleston Half (which I'm definitely running) or a later race in the spring will be my goal half where I train hard. It just depends how solid I'm feeling after this 10K training to making the leap into all-out half training or just maintaining with moderate training for the Charleston Half.

I've also got to make sure the family is okay with all of this training and fit it into our schedules. Easing in with the half will be a good way to get ready for the more intense (and time-consuming) proper marathon training. The good thing is, when I do train for a full again, Baby B will be big enough for both the running stroller and the bike trailer, so we can make it a family affair with D and B tagging along on the bike. D used to do that on my runs before and he's been missing it since B is too little right now, so convincing them shouldn't be a problem! Then, I think my head will be back in it for a fall 2015 or spring 2016 marathon.