One #FindYourStrong Marathon, Two Voices: The Weeks Before Training

Marianne on the left, getting ready to tri.
Marianne on the left, getting ready to tri.

We're officially kicked off the #FindYourStrong Marathon Challenge yesterday, and Heather and Marianne, two long-distance BRFs, are going to document their training weekly on Tuesdays.

Although training has started, it's only started for the first wave (marathons on October 3-4). Registration is still open for all waves, and will be open through June 19. 

Thank you to everyone who welcomed us so warmly a few weeks ago. Given that it is only day two of #FindYourStrong marathon training, we don't have a ton to report.

That said, part of the fun anticipation is the prep; here's a recap of how we used the last few weeks to get ready to officially start training.

What I—Marianne—did:

  1. Printed pdf of training plan.
  2. Copied workouts into my paper calendar that I use to record runs.
  3. Wrote the long runs as quickly as possible so I didn't have to think about them too much.
  4. Double checked that spouse's business trips are not during 20-mile weekends.
  5. Listened to the two Boston marathon AMR podcasts (Episode #158 and #161) plus the bonus one on Mollie’s marathon to get fired up. (Full disclosure – I’ve listened to Bethany's 3 times. It’s that good.)

I also got my sweat on:
I completed the Power of Women supersprint triathlon for the second time. This was an excellent reminder that actually training for a race will help a lot. I dropped a bit of time off each leg from last year, but it wasn't much. That might have something to do with my one measly swim and one measly bike workout in 2015. It was still plenty fun though and it was a great excuse to hang out with friends.

I got back to HIIT class, where we do a mix of speed drills, lifting, hitting things with baseball bats, and plenty of core work. I know that strength training is a key component in keeping my body healthy. I am lucky to have a place nearby that provides me with motivational phrases when the instructor yells them in the midst of a drill, including the one on the coffee mug below.

A pre-training gift to Heather—and myself.

I tried a yoga hike. It was nice, but I think I prefer to do those two things separately. No photos because that seemed un-yogic. Instead, here's a picture of Joyce, my 4 year old daughter, because she didn't make the cut in our last entry.


I ran on back-to-back days, which I haven’t done for years for fear that my knees would be unhappy. I was shocked and delighted to find the run felt better on the second day.

One reason I am feeling pretty good is that the training plan provides a system for achieving a goal. This is a distinction that I recently learned of that has helped me reduce my fretting about outcomes and instead just trust that the process will do its job. (But maybe ask me again in August when those long runs take me farther than I’ve ever been.)

For now, I'm trying hard not to think about how long 26.2 miles sounds/feels/is. I'm especially trying not to think about how long it seemed to take to drive between Bath and Corning (the marathon route) when I did so in late January. When those concerns pop up, I am telling myself "trust the system, ignore the goal."

Another reason I am feeling pretty good is that I am excited to put a dent in my bag of running fuel, especially the Nuun and Gu (some of which is from this winter's No Limits Challenge). Perhaps it is the 10+ years of Weight Watchers talking but combining sugar and exercise has yet to get old.


Right now my only rational concern is weather. I felt like a real BAMR in January when I was running in 12 degrees. Running in heat does not seem to yield the same feelings of accomplishment. Until it does, I'll keep repeating the wisdom from my AMR leaders.


What I—Heather—did:

  1. Opened the plan, checked what mileage I need to hit on the first week's long run.
  2. Had really good intentions to go back and study it, enter it on my personal and work calendars, compare it to John, my husband's, calendar, etc. [Don't actually do any of those things.]
  3. Spent the next two weeks jumping up and down and saying "I can't wait to start training!" a lot.
Junie, recognizing that mama needs the Nuun energy way more than she does
Junie, recognizing that mama needs the Nuun All Day way more than she does
I also took a trip to Cincinnati to catch the closest stop of the #TAMRTour for a mother runner party. My BRF Abbie, another local runner Melanie, and I arrived early to help Dimity and Denise set up. While we were standing around waiting for the crowd to arrive, a woman entered the shop decked out in her running gear to meet her Couch to 5K training group. A fairly new mom, she told us she had signed up primarily to get in shape and maybe take a little time for herself. She'd never heard of Another Mother Runner, so I immediately began working on her to stay for the reading when she finished her run.
In retrospect, my enthusiasm may have crossed the line into creepy. (Laura, if you're reading this - I'm sorry. I was all hopped up on endorphins and cupcakes.) But lately I've become a borderline evangelist for women's running groups, and the Cincinnati evening did not disappoint. Over 100 women were packed into Tri-State Running Company, and the air was electric, absolutely humming with positive energy. When Dimity read Bethany's brilliant "We are a tribe" paragraph, I choked up, feeling so much love and admiration for that room full of strong, resilient, determined, brave, badass women.
Laura, having decided to stay, was standing at the back of the room and I wanted to shout, "See? You're one of us now! Go get that 5K," The evening was a high point of my month, and did as much to get me ready for this journey as my runs have.
Physically, I've been plugging along with my normal training schedule: two strength sessions per week, one speed workout, one tempo run, and one long run. A brief plantar fasciitis flare-up seems to have been beaten into submission and I'm feeling stronger than ever.
So consider this a warning, Wineglass!
We're coming for you.
Ready, set, go!
Ready, set, go!

4 responses to “One #FindYourStrong Marathon, Two Voices: The Weeks Before Training

  1. It sounds like you are ready for a great start to the training! It looks like Joyce might be painting a map of a running route. I’m glad you have support from all fronts!

  2. I am super jealous to not be doing this marathon!! And I have listened to the Bethany Meyer podcast on Boston Marathon several times as well!! The other podcasts, I listen to once and then usually delete from my iPod, but her Boston race re-cap is a keeper that I plan to periodically listen to again!! Go ladies!!!

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