By Joey Lee
Running a marathon is on your bucket list. You know you want to. You’ve talked about it and dreamed about what it would feel like to cross the finish line. So why not just bite the bullet and do it? The Mississippi Blues Marathon, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield will be run January 9, 2016, so now is the time to start your training.
You couldn’t ask for a better marathon to run, our home state’s flagship marathon is known nationwide. Runner’s World Magazine said, “Sign up for this marathon if you enjoy music as much as you enjoy running.” And the Runner’s Bucket List voted the Blues Marathon as having “the bag with the best swag.” AND, the finisher’s medal is often ranked top in the nation by many leading running publications and groups.
Fleet Feet in Ridgeland is offering a Blues Marathon training program that kicks off on Saturday, August 22. (NOTE: They also offer half marathon and Quarter Note programs, but we’re talking about the marathon here!) The 20 week program costs $150.
For that, participants receive a detailed training plan for each day of the week, water stops for the long Saturday runs, a specially designed technical shirt, milestone celebrations, relevant clinics from local experts, a nutrition starter pack and other amenities. But most importantly, you get two coaches, Karen Vesey and Chris Walker, who will help guide you every step of the way. You get a group of about 20 pacers who will help you keep pace on your long runs and in the actual marathon. And, you get the motivation that comes from training with a large group of people who will definitely hold you accountable (and probably give you hell when you don’t show up for training runs). You also get to participate in the group runs which take place on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.
“We have all levels of runners, from beginners to folks who’ve completed one or more marathons or half marathons,” Karen explained. “Our only requirements are that folks be able to run at least a 13 minute per mile pace, half marathoners should be able to run at least two miles without stopping and marathoners four miles.
“Training with Fleet Feet is a special experience. The coaches and pacers are dedicated to the success of the participants and are with them along the way as they strive to reach their goals. We provide an atmosphere that fosters accountability and camaraderie, creates lifelong friendships and, above all, is just a lot of fun,” Karen adds.
If running with a big group isn’t your thing, or if you just don’t have the type of schedule that allows you to make plans, and you’ve got a bit of self-discipline, there are other options for training. The Blues Marathon recently partnered with RunCoach, an online training tool that can help you be your own coach.
This is one of the most effective online tools around, offering the guidance of a world class coach and a customized training plan. If you follow the program, you’ll definitely show up to the Blues Marathon ready to achieve your goals.
In this $25 program, you get a customizable training plan that starts whenever you specify, an adjustable plan that fits into your schedule and automatically updates your workouts as you progress, and easy access. It can be seen from any web browser or through the RunCoach GPS enabled iPhone or Android app that syncs with Nike+, Run-keeper and Garmin.
There are many ways to train for a marathon and these are just two. Whether you go with a big group or by yourself, whether you buy a training plan online or find an old marathoning book (I recommend “Marathon” by Jeff Galloway); the important thing is that you do it.
Those running shoes aren’t going to move without your feet in them. So get up and get going and cross a big one off your bucket list. You know you want to.