Marathon training kickoff

Two weeks ago, I kicked off my training for my first full marathon!  I’m running Rock N Roll Savannah in November with my friend, Rachel, and my other friend, Stephanie, will be running the half with us (if it’s the same course as last year, you essentially run the first 11 or so miles together until it splits off for the full).


I’m a little nervous to run a full… especially since I swore I never would! But the running bug has bit me hard and after running about half a dozen half marathons at this point, I feel like the obvious next step is to attempt a full. So, I did bit of research and picked the Hal Higdon Novice 2 Marathon training program. As I haven’t done a full before, it seemed a little strange to look at the novice plans, but I also do a decent amount of mileage already during the week (my average short run is 4-6 miles), and my long runs are consistently between 8-10 miles every weekend.

I did modify the plan slightly with the mid-week run schedule that works better for me, and also, I already do a fair amount of cross training with Cycle and PiYo, so I’ve just adjusted and made sure to include some additional strength training classes in the meantime. The hardest part for me is really making sure I have adequate rest days as well as keeping up with runs as the summer starts to really heat up here in Raleigh. I’m not too worried about maintaining my runs but I know they’ll just be painful. I’m not really into early morning running but I know I need to get my butt out of bed to get it done before the humidity is unbearable.

I’m also using the Believe Training Journal by Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas. I love that it’s specifically for runners or fitness goals and the various motivational prompts and workouts are great. It’s definitely helping me to keep track of my running goals for the year, even beyond the full marathon (almost immediately after I’m doing the RunDisney Goofy challenge). It also gives me a good overview of my times and the cross training that I do. I’m able to see my overall mileage at the end of the week and document my ‘moods’ for my workouts, as well as track how I would rate them and any additional notes I’d want to keep track of.

Here is a quick overview of the first two weeks of my training:

Week 1
Total miles 15.8
Long run 8 miles
Cross training included Cycle and PiYo

Week 2
Total miles 19.18
Long run 9 miles
Cross training included Cycle, PiYo, Barre, Zumba, and Water Aerobics

Do you have any tips for a first time marathon runner? What are some things that you wish you knew before you ran your first marathon?


Continuing education

Wow, things have been busy around here! I thought that after I completed my certifications, that I’d get a chance to breathe, but it was the opposite. That’s when I really had to turn up the energy level and really get down to practicing. And it’s hard. It’s not something that I can just do a few times and ‘boom!’ I’ve got it down. It’s been a whole new mindset for me.

Let me explain.

So, I really am generally a pretty shy person. I used to call myself an introvert. I don’t know if I would necessarily 100% take that title now, but I definitely have a hard time in new situations, public speaking stresses me out, and being the person standing at the center of the room: cue anxiety. Well, obviously that just isn’t going to fly with teaching GROUP fitness!

Immediately after getting my certifications, I did two things: First, I worked on building my routines. If it was PiYo, it involved memorizing the round to where I could understand what would happen next, the timing, and how I would cue it… what modifications were available, how to prepare for the next movement, etc. For cycle, this involved finding songs (much harder than I thought, especially finding ‘clean’ songs if I want to teach someplace like the Y); again songs at the right speed, the right ‘feel’, and overall fit in with the program of what I wanted to achieve. Based on my Schwinn certification, I knew I had to set the overall foundation of what I wanted a particular class to focus on (hills, intervals, speed, etc), break that down into chunks of time, and then find the music that would go along with it. There’s so much more to it than that, but that’s the gist of it.

Practicing PiYo. Every time I do it, I learn something new or I focus on how I can improve and get stronger overall.

I realized that teaching cycle in particular was going to be harder than I thought because of the amount of ‘freedom’ that came with it. I created a class and it took HOURS. For just one class! Then I went and tested it out on my own… and found that a couple of the songs just didn’t fit. So I had to go back and change it. I talked to friends that are cycle instructors and they all assured me that it would get easier and that I would find a formula that worked for me, or a repertoire of songs or just the ability to hear the right beat immediately and know it would work with whatever I was trying to do… but in the meantime, it’s definitely been a slow learning process.

Then, there’s PiYo. I also assumed that this would be easy to pick up. I’ve been practicing PiYo for over a year now, so how hard could it be to learn a routine and teach it myself? Ok, well, harder than I expected. Thankfully, it does seem that the first is the hardest to learn. Now that I feel like I have my initial round ‘down’, I started on a second one and pretty much had it in a couple of hours and was ready to practice teaching it to a friend. But the first round definitely had growing pains. I couldn’t believe the amount of variation of moves in certain sections, and getting the timing and proper holds down. I would listen and re-listen to songs over and over again. I practiced every. single. day. I had friends over regularly to practice with, if I wasn’t just going through it on my own. But thankfully, that gave me a lot of confidence. The cueing definitely became more natural and the timing fell into place. Granted, I am by no means an expert! But I definitely have more confidence behind my practice. I’m still trying to learn more every day, and I keep breaking down moves to make sure I’m really performing them right, or if I find I’m doing something wrong or that there’s a better way to do it, then I want to learn it.

And through it all, I’ve had a wonderful support group. Sure, there’s always going to be critics, but we all had to start somewhere right? Oh no wait, some people were apparently doing this stuff straight from the womb apparently.



I’ve had some amazing friends come to my classes, or allow me to co-teach or sub their classes while they offer me feedback. Friends have come to my house and had my fur babies wandering on their yoga mat while we worked on sun salutations. I’ve gone to friends houses and tried to keep the music turned down low enough that we didn’t wake the sleeping toddlers while we did power squats and burpees. It’s been pretty amazing.

After the first class that I taught solo the whole way through. Woohoo! Such an amazing experience.

So I’m excited for the next step. I’m working towards starting to sub classes, and hopefully I’ll soon have my own regular classes on the docket. I’m still practicing pretty much daily. Between taking classes for more experience, working on my own routines, and then kicking off my marathon training, it’s been busy in my fitness world.