How you can Run the Twin Cities Marathon
Yesterday was the 31st annual Twin Cities marathon. 9,000+ runners enjoyed “The most beautiful urban marathon in America.” With race temperatures hovering around 30 degrees at the start (20 degrees colder than last year), it was a pure Minnesota event.
Probably due to the cold, both the men’s and women’s winners weren’t near the course records. Christopher Kipyego of Kenya placed first in the men’s group. His time of 2:14:55 is crazy fast. Portland, Oregon resident Jeannette Faber set her own PR with a blazing 2:32:38.
Yes, you can Run the Twin Cities Marathon too!
Being a Spectator
I ran this race in 2008 and 2011. This year, I was a spectator. I rode my bike up and down East River road, cheering on friends and other runners. Oddly, seeing the pain and determination on everyones face made me miss it. I forgot what a sense of community forms during the marathon.
With that in mind (and a desire to improve my own PR), I decided to run next year. I think every Minnesotan should run this race at least once. Even if you aren’t a runner, this marathon is a great place to become one. Since we have a year, here is what you need to know to embark on your own 26.2 mile odyssey.
Plan for a Marathon
Put the date, October 4, 2015 on the calendar and work backwards. Marathon plans range from 16 – 24 weeks (for beginners). That means you will start training anytime between the end of April and middle of July. Make sure you’re actually in good enough shape to start your training plan.
Working backwards allows you to see the big picture of what it will take. This is a HUGE time commitment. You’ll eventually sacrifice up to half of your weekend for your longs runs. Get mentally prepared!
Set Race Goals
Do you want to finish, or set a new personal record? This impacts what training program you choose. Set realistic goals. Finishing is a FANTASTIC first time goal. If you’re a runner, but haven’t yet run 26.2, finishing near 4 hours is a milestone. Goals are highly personal so spend time thinking about it.
You’ll need a personalized training plan. Most assume a certain level of fitness. Use the next several months to figure out where to start. Although Minnesota winter running is tricky, you can easily get a 5k, 10k or half marathon under your belt before official marathon training kicks in.
Most plans have short and middle distance runs during the week, and a long slow weekend run. Plan on setting aside a minimum of three days a week; two week days and one weekend day. If you have loftier goals, plan running a minimum of four days, with speed work. Runners World offers many marathon training plans, but you can also find free training plans.
Completing the marathon is only part of the fun. Knowing you were only able to cross the finish line because of the hard work and sacrifice you put in is worth it. Whatever your reasons, the Twin Cities Marathon is a beautiful place to push your personal limits and find out what you’re made of. I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
See Olympian Carrie Tollefson’s recap of the 2012 Twin Cities Marathon.