Marathon Training – Sometimes it takes more will than skill
By Bonny Osterhage
Chances are you know someone who competed in the Rock and Roll Marathon held here in San Antonio on November 16. The day was unseasonably cold, but that didn’t deter the more than 24,000 participants from lacing up their running shoes and hitting the 26-mile long road.
One of those participants was Certified Personal Trainer Julie Dudley. Dudley, who works at Dynamic Fitness, was on the cross country team at her high school but says she was not serious about the sport until after the birth of her first child seven years ago.
We caught up with Dudley, who qualified for the Boston Marathon with her time of 3 hours and 44 minutes, and we asked her for some tips for those interested in competing in next year’s event.
F&H: How did you get started running?
JD: Like many new moms, I wanted to get back into shape after having a baby. I started out really slowly, walking a little and running a little. Slowly but surely, I worked up to three miles of straight running. As my children got older, I joined a local running group and started training to compete in local races.
F&H: How does someone go about training for a marathon?
JD: The good news is that anyone who is healthy can run a marathon if he or she has a proper training program. The key is to start out very slowly. Most programs start with three miles, and that is where someone who has never trained before should begin. I highly recommend training with a group for beginners as well as more experienced runners. I learned so much about training from the other runners, and the advice that I received from everyone in my training program was invaluable. Another advantage of training with an experienced group is having other people there to motivate you. Marathon training is not only hard on the body, but it is also mentally taxing. I often tell people that long distance running takes more “will than skill.” Finally, group running is so much safer.
F&H: Is it better to train on a treadmill or outside?
JD: The treadmill is propelling you forward and doing most of the work. It is essentially not as hard as running outside. It is imperative that you do most of your training outside in order to acclimate your body to running in the elements. Sometimes it is unavoidable to have to do some of your training inside; I just do not recommend doing all of your training on a treadmill.
F&H: The morning of the race was unexpectedly cold. Are there precautions a runner takes when running in the cold?
JD: There are several guidelines to follow when running in cold weather. First, wear layers because as the temperature warms up you don’t want to overheat. The bottom layer should be moisture wicking so your skin does not stay wet. Second, it is important to stay hydrated even when its cold. Last, you need to keep moving, especially when you are standing around before a race or training run.
F&H: What are three things you recommend for anyone considering for a marathon?
JD: First, and most important, you need a running plan or training plan that consists of three to four training runs during the week with one long run on the weekends. This varies according to how long one has been running. Second, you need a good nutrition and hydration plan. This is experimental throughout your training program.
Last, you need a rest and recovery plan. Resting your muscles is very important to get maximum performance and decrease risk of injury. Of course, the most important thing is to train safely and get the advice of a professional if you are a beginner.