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Am I Ready for a Marathon?

Am I Ready for a Marathon?

I’m one of those crazy plan ahead people. For BIG goals, I like to have details worked out months (ok, it is really years) in advance. For the past month, I’ve been contemplating running a marathon.

A marathon is a huge commitment as a runner and as a parent. I completed my first marathon in 2007 and even though I puked my guts from mile 11 until the finish, I still told anyone who would listen that it was the best day of my life.Life was different in 2007. I was single, living in a trendy downtown neighbourhood, and had landed my career job. Life was good. I could be selfish in my training because nobody was relying on me for anything. Now there are a lot of factors to consider in taking on another marathon.

Are you ready for a marathon? If 42.2 kilometres sounds like fun to you, you should also consider:

  • Family
  • Costs
  • Holiday plans
  • Work demands
  • Personal health and current stamina

A marathon requires an intense 3 month time commitment. More time would be required if you aren’t up to 15km long runs at the start of the 3 months. There is never a perfect time to train for a marathon, but if you make it a priority then you can do it!

Marathon training
First Marathon in 2007 versus training for a half marathon in 2019.

Family

If your family isn’t 100% supportive of your decision to run a marathon, then don’t do it. Aside from the 3 to 4 hour runs that you’ll need to complete, you are also going to be tired, sore, and dare I say more irritable.

I always try and complete my runs before my daughter’s Saturday morning sports. To continue this, I’ll need to find something that doesn’t start at 8am. And now with two kids, this will be more difficult.  Luckily swimming lessons start as late at 11am in the morning. I also check sunrise charts and plan the earliest time possible that I can run. I’ve even calculated a start time that has me run in the dark, but aligns sunrise to the time I hit the trail portion of my run.

  • Potential Issue: I can’t expect my husband to handle Saturday morning breakfasts,clean up, and activities when I’m out running AND have him do it again on Sunday morning because I’m tired from the day before that I need more sleep.
  • Potential Solution: The compromise that would work best for us is that I’d go to bed a bit earlier on Saturday nights to catch up on sleep.

When my mother wanted to do an Ironman Triathlon she had to consider timing and it was best to wait one year until I was a freshman in university since she wanted to be present for all the activities and events that happened in my final year of high school. Know yourself and how involved you want to be or know how much FOMO you suffer from and plan accordingly.

Costs

If you tell yourself running is a cheap sport then you’re delirious! Running only requires a pair of running shoes… Oh and don’t forget moisture wicking clothing, double layer socks, Bodyglide to prevent chafing, special water bottle belt, another pair of shoes since you’ll wear out the first pair before the race, a sports bra that costs more than dinner for two at the Keg, recovery electrolyte drinks, the grocery bill from that time you’ll go shopping after a long run and accidentally buy the entire store, race entry fee, hotel for the race, the kiddie pool you splurge on out of guilt for not spending enough time with the kids, 8 bags of ice for when you realize you can hijack the kiddie pool for your long run recovery ice bath….etc. 

Holiday Plans

If you are thinking of a fall marathon then you’ll be completing some of your long runs (3+ hours) over summer.  If you’re planing a vacation you also need to consider how you will complete your long run.  I’d say live a little and miss a weekday run, but those long runs are not to be messed with.

  • Potential Issue: Your family trip to Europe occurs during marathon training.
  • Potential Solution: Look for a half marathon to participate in at your holiday destination. Or can you find a run club that will be running similar distance? Maybe travel with your training partner and map a run where you are visiting. Adjust your dates and vacation over a recovery week when miles are shorter and could be run on a hotel treadmill.

Work Demands

Are you going to be able to find the time to run or are you working 12 hour days in the office? I actually find when I’m super busy at work that I need to get my runs in to keep my sanity. However, this could be a vicious cycle if work and running keep you away from your family. Long work hours can mean more fast food meals, which could impact how you feel in your workouts.  This could mean more meal planning in order to eat right, work long hours, and feel good in your runs.

Personal Health and Current Stamina

I personally believe that anyone can run a marathon. However, the journey to that marathon start line will be different for everyone.  I wouldn’t undertake a 3 month training plan until I was happy with my 5km and 10km race times. After all, I want to run the next marathon faster than my last. If you have been running through an injury or hoping a tinge in your knee will go away on its own – then maybe get that checked out before fooling yourself into a marathon.

I include current stamina as well because you should be able to run at least 15km comfortably prior to starting your training plan. I would also suggest having run a half marathon in the last year before taking on a marathon. This will prepare you for a build up in training mileage. I like to eliminate “surprises” during training and you start to learn about your body when you increase mileage for a race above 10km. To read more on half marathon training and how I balance it with work and family check out my previous post Balancing Half Marathon Training.

Marathon Considerations
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What is the Verdict?

Will you sign up for a marathon or run away screaming less than 42.2km in the opposite direction? I’ve considered these factors and I’m leaning towards YES! I’ve got my spreadsheets out and I’m starting to visualize how I can make this work. Tell me in the comments if you have a marathon or multiple marathons on your bucket list.

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2019 Goals

2019 Goals

I’m a goal setter. I write it down and then I make a plan and I work towards crushing that goal. Pre-kids I would make short-term, long-term, and stretch goals. Now with kids I’m more of a planner and longer term goals have become plans. I have spreadsheets with details of vacation plans, races, club activities for 10 years down the road. Some [hubby included] think its crazy, but I love my plans. But let’s talk about this year and the next 12 months. I’ve broke it up into PROFESSIONAL, FITNESS, and PERSONAL.

Professional Goals

I’ll be heading back to work at my corporate job in mid-October and with only 2.5 months to contribute there, I don’t have a big corporate goal for 2019. My company is great and I even received a promotion when I was on maternity leave with my first child. So for 2019 my professional goal is for this BLOG:

  1. I want to make the VancouverMom.ca Top 30 Mom Bloggers list.

In order to even be eligible, I need to step my game up. I’m committing to having new posts weekly and to increase my social media presence. I want to be your go-to place when you want to read about running, Disney, or know that you’re not alone in this crazy parenting life that we’re going through together. So be a dear and leave me a comment if there’s something specific you’d like to hear about and I’ll try to make it happen.

Nominations typically take place in April so hopefully I’ll get a pulse check on this goals progress by mid-year.

Shelby Hancock's 2019 Goals
Shelby Hancock’s 2019 Goals

Fitness Goals

I’m a runner. Always have been and always will be. I remember running in kindergarten around the 3 soccer fields at school and feeling the runners high, which maybe was just excitement that I was the fastest kid in the class.  Whatever it was has kept me running for nearly 30 years. My 2019 fitness goals go together like salt, pepper, and cumin. My 2019 fitness goals are to:

  1. Run under 2 hour half marathon
  2. Run under 50 min 10km
  3. Complete the Fairy Tale Challenge with a smile.

A lot has changed since I ran my first half marathon in 2007.  I’m comfortable and proud of who I am today and I don’t want to be my old self, I want to be me: the runner mom with an unhealthy Disney obsession that knows she shouldn’t eat the nightly ice cream bar. 

I really do feel like these goals go together like salt, pepper, and cumin. The Fairy Tale Challenge is the cumin – a nice to have with little to no expectation and no limitation. However, I need a faster 10k time if I’m ever going to run a faster 1/2 marathon time. Long, slow distance makes long, slow runners. If I focus on some speed training and push myself in a 10k, then I can take that strength, power, and confidence into a half marathon and hopefully run my fastest post-pregnancy half marathon.

The Fairy Tale Challenge takes place February 23 and 24 with a 10k race on Saturday and a 1/2 (21.1k) race on Sunday.  I’ll be running it with my mom and as long as I cross those finish lines with a smile I’ll be happy.  

Personal Goals

My personal goals are:

  1. Read 3 novels
  2. Spend time away from my baby
  3. Take my Instapot out of the box.

I know what you’re thinking, “wow, Shelby, what a wild year 2019 will be for you.” I used to read a lot and it brought me joy, but since having my first child in 2015, I’ve barely read. I think I’ve only tackled the Crazy Rich Asian trilogy. Chic-lit is fine by me – no judgement – so hopefully on some upcoming flights with a sleeping baby I’ll put a dent into this goal [a girl can dream, right?].

My baby goes insane when anyone else picks her up and I want her to know she’s loved and safe with family and friends so hopefully I’ll be able to feel comfortable leaving her for an hour or two every once in a while. I’d really like to take my 3 year old to a movie and not have a massive amount of mom guilt over leaving the baby with her father or grandparents. I know its an attachment phase right now and as annoying as it can be it is pretty awesome knowing that to this cute little baby I’m the best thing since canned spaghetti. *

*Canned spaghetti is disgusting, but my Italian family has always used that expression and we find it hilarious.

Goal Crushing

I am excited for 2019 and all the new adventures that will be heading my way. Leave a comment about your 2019 goals!