Posted by: Jack | April 27, 2007

Fast Track to a Marathon

As the busy work season at the hotel winds down, my amount of free time is consequently on the rise. This, along with a number of other motivations, has led me to have a go at running. Throughout the past five years, I’ve continuously improved my fitness level but I’ve rarely focused on anything to really increase my aerobic endurance. In fact, until quite recently I never exercised just for the sake of exercise. I have historically found enough activity in the things I do just for fun. Excluding middle school gym class, I can literally count the number of times I’ve run a mile or more in a single stretch on one hand.

As much as this will challenge me physically, I’m approaching the process as a test of will power. Given my current fitness, my body will be able to keep up or it won’t. So I’ve set up a plan to help keep me on track and prevent me from occasionally saying, “I don’t feel like running today, I’ll just go tomorrow.” Now obviously it wouldn’t be worth injuring myself to achieve this goal so the plan is highly subject to change.

Leaving from my car-park, there is a short rocky trail that leads right to the top of a steep hill which in turn drops right down to Capitol Lake. 0.83 miles from our apartment I connect with a trail which loops around Capitol Lake in 1.54 miles. So the minimum distance of this route is 3.2 miles and each additional loop steps it up 1.54 miles. Here is the plan:

  1. Buy running shoes
  2. Run 3 out of every 4 days (not necessarily having every 4th day be the day off)
  3. Depending on physical response, add one loop every 2nd or 3rd run

I kind of thought it would take more to describe the process but I guess it’s pretty simple. Since these first few days are really quite short runs, I’ll be using them to figure out a pace that I can maintain. On day one I ran about 8-minute miles and didn’t find much of a challenge in it. Even with the very steep uphill finish I found that my shortness of breath did not last much past the peak. On day two (today) I tried to step it up and see if I could really hang onto a higher pace. It certainly was a challenge of will to keep at it but I managed to cut almost 2.5 minutes off my time which works out to 7 ¼-minute miles. As a result the hill was tougher today but given that this was only my 2nd day, I’m hoping that this might be my long-distance pace eventually.

If I make it through to the end I will run a marathon somewhere between 32 and 48 running-days from yesterday. By this time I will have run somewhere between 470 and 700 miles in approximately 65-90 hours. One crucial aid in this task will be audiobooks on my iPod. While music is good for rhythm, audiobooks do a much better job of keeping my mind off of the monotony. With so many hours I should certainly be able to get a lot of “reading” done.

Check back for updates on my progress.



  1. Ah youth. While I admire your ambition, you’re begging for shin splints. And I think if you research training methods, you’ll find general consensus is you should not increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent a week. Statistically, injuries sky rocket if you do. That said, I imagine you’re in considerably better shape then about 97% of the population. Any particular marathons you had in mind?

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