Alex in Transit(ion)

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Marathon Training: Coaches, GPS Watches, and Realizing My Schedule

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To qualify for the Boston Marathon, you need to run at a feeder marathon with a finishing time of 3 hours and 35 minutes. That means for 26.2 miles, I have to keep a pace of 8 minutes and 21 seconds. This isn’t going to be easy. I looked at last year’s results for the Mohawk- Hudson River Marathon, which I’m running in October to qualify for Boston, and only 163 out of 939 runners were able to finish the race in 3 hours and 35 minutes. While that is intimidating, they wouldn’t recommend the time if it wasn’t possible. People do it and I want to be one of those people who do. However, I am taking into account that 3:35 isn’t going to be achieved by running non stop. This may be tmi, but what happens if I need to go to the bathroom? Do I just pull a Forrest Gump when he said “if I needed to go, I went?” Haha, there’s so many mysteries.

Last night, I saw on NYRR’s Facebook that Summer Sanders, who is a former Olympian but I know her as the host of Nickelodeon’s Figure It Out, wrote an article about tips on how to train for a marathon and she spoke highly of NYRR’s Virtual Coach program. It’s $175 but I think it’s worth it, especially after consulting one of my friends who runs NCAA cross country, who also recommended me to find a coach. The program looks really cool, I can e-mail the coach whenever I want about my training program which is great because I’m going into this headfirst and am going to need all the help I can get to qualify.

I’m also going to need a GPS watch. For so long I thought I could do without one but I’m seeing that if I’m going to get that 8:21 pace, I need to know where I stand during my training. That looks like it can set me back between $125-150. My friend and I always joke about how we got into running because we thought it was so cheap but we were so wrong. I’m also looking into hydration belts because even though there will be water tables during the race, there won’t be when I’m training, so I need to make sure that I’m doing this safe because I’ve never been a fan of passing out. On the bright side, I’m starting to appreciate the fact that I have my 6 month grace period for student loans so I guess I should spend while I can.

I realize my plan to run 3 marathons in a little over a year is really ambitious but the way I see it, the Mohawk-Hudson one is the only marathon (so far) that I’m going to be nuts about keeping my pace. If I do qualify for Boston, I don’t need to worry about what time I finish at because I’ll have guaranteed entry for the NYC Marathon through the 9 races, volunteer staff at 1 race program. The running schedule doesn’t intimidate me because after I graduate, I’m going to have a huge void in my life because I’m not used to having free time. I got hired on the Obama campaign in March 2012, where I was working 7 days a week and usually long into the night. Immediately after the election, I finished a two and a half year grad school program in a year and a half. I wonder if committing to run a marathon is my way of filling up my time and the funny thing is I didn’t realize that until just now.

Author: Alex

Hello! My name is Alex but you can call me Alexandra if you're feeling fancy. Here you'll find my adventures about exploring my new city of Hoboken, NJ, scurrying over the Hudson River to NYC, my bicycle excursions, and how I'm learning to embrace in medias res.

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