How I Became a Marathon Runner

kelly - Grandma's Marathon

Running marathons has always been a pipe dream for me. You see, I haven’t always been a runner. I just started running in my mid to late 30’s. I always hated running and did not see a reason for it. I played sports in High School and I would rather run after a ball (like on the tennis court or at the softball field), then go out and just run…

All that changed when I reached my mid-30’s and was still carrying those 10 extra pounds that I acquired from giving birth to my 3 children. Dieting did not help, so one day I went outside and started walking but then walking wasn’t enough. That turned into powerwalking, and eventually I started running, and have been running ever since. And yes, the 10 pounds were gone and then some!

Even after I started running, I never considered running races. It wasn’t until I met a co-worker who had also recently started running and she invited me to run my first 5K. I honestly didn’t think I could run a race, not to mention finish one. Once I finished, I knew I had to do another one. Since then, I have run over 40 races! And now, with the completion of the Twin Cities Marathon in September, I have finished two marathons. I ran my first marathon, Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, last year. Running a race pushes me. I actually found out from running, that I like being pushed. Running also led me to join a fitness club in which I got introduced to Group Fitness; ultimately leading me to teach Group Fitness so that I can be the pusher!! Still, nothing pushes a person more than a marathon, except perhaps, training for a marathon.

After completing the 2013 Polar Dash

Kelly after completing the 2013 Polar Dash

Training for a marathon is a huge commitment, one that lasts at least 4 months. The good news is that there are so many training schedules out there. As a beginner, you never know which one will work for you. I found out that it was trial and error on finding one that works. I suggest finding one that best fits your schedule (in my case one that works with my extensive Group Fitness schedule- teaching 6 classes a week). Then you may need to tweak it. That’s what I had to do. Last year I was forced to modify my schedule because I started off “overtraining.” I didn’t want to burn out too fast or injure myself. Once I adjusted my schedule to meet my needs, life was easier.

If you’re thinking of running a marathon, my biggest piece of advice is to make sure you take advantage of cross-training. I cannot emphasize that enough. When you are in a middle of a long distance run, it’s your endurance that will carry you to the end. Many runners train by just running. I believe that strength training, core training and other endurance level challenges are very important to be a good runner. Strength training at least twice a week, focusing also on core strengthening activities and heart rate challenges, will definitely increase your endurance level; not to mention make you a stronger runner.

Working at Octane Fitness has definitely given me an advantage. On days when I am not running, I’m working out on the Octane Fitness elliptical machine (the 30:30 program is one of my favorites!). I also utilized our CROSS CiRCUIT programs adding strength conditioning between cardio bursts, and it has made me stronger. My cross-training definitely helped carry me through my second marathon, finishing once again better than I thought I would. Running sure has opened my eyes to a fitter and healthier me, and I couldn’t imagine going back to a time when I wasn’t a runner.

Kelly has been a member of the Sales Support team at Octane Fitness since 2011.

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