Taking on {marathon} #5 With a First

Last year got a pass – no marathon training, what-so-ever. No thoughts of 26.2, no long runs exceeding what would prepare me for a half (13.1), no plan-B and caving and signing up for a race even though I said 100x that I wouldn’t.

no. No. NO. Rest. Recharge. Go out late on Friday nights and enjoy vacations without any fitness footnotes and run without any focused plan.


Yep. That.

Some people don’t need a full year to do that, and well maybe I didn’t either but damn it felt good. The year effortlessly filled itself with other things that I happily handed my attention to, and that was that.

After a few short races mixed with the RW hat-trick weekend last fall, it was clear that this break had served its purpose. The legs were like, “Yeah we GOT IT. Rested. Recharged! Etc. etc. HOP TO IT!”

Noted, madams.

Spring marathon research began and we decided on something slightly local but slightly far away (mini road-trip!). We found something that is nice and hilly – why not throw in a little challenge? – but that also rewards us with views of (and subsequent drinks from) wine country.

Charlottesville Marathon

Charlottesville Marathon – April 5, 2014

Marathon #5 is booked! What now?

I wanted a different approach to this. I want to learn and not just go through the motions for the 5th time.  Twenty miles is twenty miles is twenty miles. It’s hard and your mind will have a lesson to learn every single time. But what else is there? What workouts have I not tried yet? In what ways have I not pushed myself yet? And, open poll: who will push me to do it?!

I decided to run a different road for the first time,
with a Coach navigating the way.

There are two goals with this*, but first and foremost there is a Finish line
to cross.

Right now I’m 90% through week 1 (one long run to go!) and if you compare the last 5 days of workouts to those of any other training cycle I’ve done? They have but one similarity: I’m running. And, well, if that weren’t the case we’d have some questions needing some answers.

There are a lot of numbers being through around that I have yet to absorb, but hey! I don’t have to! It’s a beautiful thing. The reigns have been handed over and I just go into Training Peaks to record things like “well I was chatting my face off” and “it was a balmy 12*!” and “bad news: I forgot to turn the auto-lap back on”. And then the next day on the calendar tells me what to do & I do it!

Easy peasy? Not so much. I’m not one to brag about how well I stick to training schedules or instructions, because I generally don’t. But that’s part of this challenge and what I’m already loving about it. The comfort zone is expanding and knowledge base is growing and running feet are like, “whatever man, just tell us where to go.” 

I’m enjoying the process, which was the plan.


What do you think about working with a running coach (whether you have or haven’t)?

*More to come. Checking a box soon.


Filed under Goals, marathon, running, training

6 Responses to Taking on {marathon} #5 With a First

  1. Excited to learn more about the asterisk! I started working with an online coach once and really liked the structure and challenge of the workouts (rather than “just go run” like you say). However, I got injured mid-way through the cycle, and I’m still not sure if it was just coincidence or if maybe I was pushing too hard. But I’m certainly not opposed to trying again – just waiting for the right time!

  2. I would love to work with a running coach! When I trained for my triathlon in Hawaii I trained with a group and we had several coaches. I loved it. Now that I’ve moved to Connecticut I’m not sure how to go about finding a training group or a coach. For now I’m running off of the Hal Higdon training program.

  3. Hi, just wanted to agree really about taking rest, and adding that it can only be so long before you get itchy feet and need to get out there… Oh and i live the picture for focus… Banana lol made me chuckle.

    never had a run coach but once had a free personal trainer at the gym and git a good plan to follow, so unless you’re super organized, a coach is good


  4. I’ve pondered working with a running coach, but I’m too cheap to get one. (That’s the truth.) Plus, I feel like I know a lot about running so I’m not totally sure I could rationalize it, although I know a coach would mix it up and give me a different perspective. But mainly I’m cheap.

    However, I’m interested to hear about your journey with a coach! Maybe it’ll convince me to get one. :)

  5. This is my 2nd year with a triathlon coach, and I think it’s completely worth it if you want to greatly improve your level of fitness. Last year I took huge time off my sprint and Olympic-distance events, and I’m predicted the same for 2014. The accountability and structure is great, and when all that hard work pays off come race day… Priceless.

  6. Pingback: Convert Confessions: Why I Train+Coach by Heart Rate | Dietitian On The Run

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