I’m running the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend. It will be my first marathon. Though I sort of signed up on a whim, I’m really excited to be running it.
I’d never really been much of a runner before. In my early twenties, I’d run enough to complete triathlons I’d sign up for. But I didn’t particularly enjoy running and I wasn’t very fast. As my life got busier with work and family, I stopped running and doing triathlons.
About a year ago, I started running occasionally and I realized that I had a lot more fun when I was trying to run fast. I wasn’t very fast, but I was starting to get hooked. And I knew I wanted to get faster.
I decided to run more and to keep an eye out for a running coach. At the beginning of 2015, I set a goal of running at least 100 miles a month for the entire year. I also set a goal of breaking twenty minutes in a 5K.
In April, I learned that Coach Ron was starting a run club at the IDS. I leapt at the opportunity to have a running coach and quickly signed up. Ron would take the club out for running workouts twice a week. I really enjoyed the comraderie of the group and the variety of workouts he’d have us do. We often did intervals, hills, drills, and all sorts of stuff that I’d never do on my own.
I was also running outside of the club with friends quite a bit. I’d managed to work my way up to running as far as a half marathon, and I was having more fun running than I’d ever had before. So in May, I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon figuring that I better sign up now while I was enjoying running or I might miss my opportunity. I has no idea how to get ready for a marathon or if I even had enough time to do so.
So I decided to talk to Ron. We got together to discuss a training plan and to set a goal time for the marathon. First, I warned Ron that regardless of his training plan, I would need to run at least one hundred miles a month. He assured me that would not be a problem. And, of course, it hasn’t been. In fact, in August I ran 270 miles. We also needed to set a goal time. We came up with 3:20 based on my pace for during long training runs. Looking back, this seems like an ambitious goal as I had just managed to break 1:45 in the half at the time. But now I’m pretty confident that I can make that goal.
Throughout the Spring and Summer, I followed Ron’s workouts as diligently as I could. His workout schedule kept me honest and the workout variety kept me interested. Each week had a variety of different types of workouts and as the weeks progressed the workouts increased in intensity. Often, I’d look at the workout Ron had setup for me and think that there was no way I could complete it. But most of the time, I was able to complete the workouts at the paces Ron assigned. He seems to have a knack for pushing me to go a little faster (or further) than I had previously thought was possible. As I completed these workouts, my confidence really started to increase.
Ron also encouraged me to start running with his Mile to Marathon running team. I usually joined the team for track workouts on Tuesday nights. I’d never run on a track before, so I was intimidated at first to be doing these workouts with a running team. I figured that the other runners would be way faster than me and it’d would be obvious to everyone that I didn’t know what I was doing. Both were true. The first night, I lined up facing the wrong direction. But it was no big deal – Ron quickly got me turned around and taught me the basics of track running. And there were runners who were much faster than me. But I found it exhilarating and motivating to run with them even when I couldn’t keep up. There were also runners of all abilities, however. The whole team was a lot of fun. I was motivated by
everyone’s focus on improvement.
Throughout the training season, Ron answered my questions and helped me figure out how to adjust my workouts as various work and family obligations came up or minor injuries occurred. He also helped get into the right shoes and we’ve made progress on my running form (even if there is still plenty of room for improvement).
Ron has had me do a number of races this summer including a 15K, a 5K, and a half-marathon. I broke 20 minutes in the 5K (19:46 to be exact) and I shocked myself by finishing the half-marathon in under 7:00/mile pace.
I feel totally ready for the marathon this weekend. I couldn’t be happier with the training I’ve done and Ron’s coaching.
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