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Caffeinated Coder A Grande, Triple Shot, Non-Fat Core Dump by Russell Ball
Really, it's not that hard! If the idea is remotely appealing to you, then I recommend that you throw caution to the wind and just commit to doing it. There are thousands of people who do it all the time that are fatter, lazier, slower, older, and saner than you'll ever be. You may actually enjoy it and decide to do several. At the very least, you'll probably feel better about yourself when you finally cross the finish line.

Ok, enough with the pep talk, here are a few tips to get you started.
  1. Get a good pair of running shoes - I can't emphasize this enough. The number one reason people fail on the quest to run a marathon is injury and the best way to prevent injury is to get a good pair of shoes that fit properly. Find a store that specializes in selling running shoes. If the clerks are any good, then they will watch you walk and have you try on several different types of shoes in order to find one that properly compensates for your idiosyncracies (i.e. size of your arch and whether or not you overpronate when you walk). If you live in the KC area, then I highly recommend Elite Feet. You should be able to get something good for $100 that will last you through your marathon training schedule. Remember, running shoes are only good for 400 miles, so throw out your old ones if you bought them several years ago.
  2. Find a good training plan and stick to it - The less experience you have running, then the longer the training schedule should be. Unless you've been running for a long time, I recommend a program that is at least 6 months. The second most common cause of injury is trying to increase mileage too quickly. Even if you feel fine, you need to give your body time to adjust to the weekly mileage increase or you will get injured. If your shins start to hurt, then that is a sign that you should slow it down and stretch out the training schedule longer.
  3. Cross train - Another great way to prevent injury and improve your running is to randomly substitute short runs on your training schedule with swimming, biking, or weight lifting. If I find myself dreading a work out or starting to feel pain when running, then I try to switch to a different activity for a few days.
  4. Find running partners - Running is actually a great social activity. Longer runs should be done at a slow enough pace so that you can comfortably talk while you run. Committing to meeting someone else is a great motivator to keep you on your schedule. It also helps the miles go by a lot faster.
  5. Don't forget nutrition - It is important to get fuel up before during and after a run. If I'm running longer than 8 miles, then I take Power Gel or Gu with me and take one after every hour of running to help refuel. I almost always notice an extra spring in my step within 5 minutes of taking the Gel. I also try to have a protein shake right after a run in order to speed up the recovery time.
  6. Alternate walking and running - It is NOT cheating to walk! I recommend alternating as much as necessary between walking and running when you first start out. The important part is that your legs put in the miles. At various times I've experimented with taking 2 minute walking breaks after every ten minutes of running and I find that my overall time is just as fast and that I feel much less tired and sore afterwards. Sometimes, if I'm feeling particularly tired or unmotivated, then I'll just start out walking for as long as it takes my body to warm up or my mind to get bored.
  7. Never underestimate your mind and body's ability to adjust - Inevitably, you will finish a relatively short run feeling utterly exhausted and certain that you couldn't have run another step. Resist the urge to do the math in your head or you will seriously psyche yourself out. As long as you only increase your long runs by a mile or so a week, then your body and mind will adjust and one day you will suddenly catch yourself thinking "whew, I'm glad I only have to run eight miles today". You will laugh at the absurdity of the statement, yet it will seem true. It is all relative.
What are you waiting for? Here is a training schedule. The only thing that is left to do is to use the Race Finder on runnersworld to pick out a race 6 months. I recommend picking one in a city you've always wanted to visit and make a nice 3-4 day mini-vacation out of it.

Good luck! Look me up if you are ever in the KC area and want to go for a run.

Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 11:28 PM Non-Techie Interests | Back to top


Comments on this post: Seven Ways to Transform Yourself from Geek to Marathon Running Geek

# re: Seven Ways to Transform Yourself from Geek to Marathon Running Geek
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I think $100 of New balance pair will do fine, right ?
Left by Cole Haan on Feb 15, 2008 8:01 PM

# re: Seven Ways to Transform Yourself from Geek to Marathon Running Geek
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Sounds good to me. $100 is usually what I spend on my shoes. BTW - my blogged has been moved to caffeinatedcoder.com.
Left by Russell Ball on Feb 15, 2008 9:10 PM

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