Runners Ready? Marine Corps Marathon Lottery Set for March
It’s the kind of lottery Washington-area runners can't wait to play.
The Marine Corps Marathon announced this week that March 13-15 of next year will be the race’s online lottery dates.
The 2015 field is limited to 30,000 participants, so the lottery helps select runners. Registration for the lottery, however, does not guarantee an entry.
On March 25, marathon representatives will notify runners via email if they will get to compete in the 26.2-mile race that goes through D.C. and Northern Virginia. The 2015 Marine Corps Marathon — its 40th event — is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015.
It may sound like a long way off, but for the first-time marathon runner it takes six months or more of training, often with several shorter races leading up to the big event.
"I was told a first marathon is a learning experience, and it was certainly true," says Capitol Hill resident Susan Filanowicz, adding that she's glad this year's Marine Corps was her first marathon. "The whole environment was very inspiring."
The primary elements of marathon training are base mileage, long runs and speedwork, according to outdoor retailer REI. They break it down for those interested in tackling the challenge.
Most marathon training plans range from 12 to 20 weeks. During this time, you will gradually build running economy and endurance, while incorporating ample recovery time for your body to handle the new training load.
Beginning marathoners should aim to build their weekly mileage up to 50 miles over the four months leading up to race day. If you think you need help getting started, reach out to a highly rated fitness trainer.
Together, you can work out a plan that's right for you.
While it's not unheard of for first-timers to run marathons on as little training as 25 or 30 weekly miles, REI suggests keeping in mind that the more you run in training, the more able and confident your body will be on race day.
The long run
Your next step is to build up to a weekly long run. This should be done once every seven to 10 days, extending the long run by a mile or two each week. Every three weeks, scale it back by a few miles so as not to overtax your body and risk injury.
For example, you might run 12 miles one weekend, 13 miles the next, then 14 miles, and then 12 again before moving on to 15 on the fifth weekend.
"Training was intense for me, topping out with a 20-mile run before tapering," Filanowicz says.
Doing these runs at a substantially slower pace than usual builds confidence, lets your body adjust to longer distances, and teaches you to burn fat for fuel.
Speedwork is an optional element to incorporate into your training program, as your only goal for a first marathon should be to finish. If you've never covered 26.2 miles on foot before, REI stresses that the distance alone will provide a sufficient challenge.
However, a little speedwork during your training can go a long way by increasing your aerobic capacity, nudging you toward that time goal.
Running a marathon also involves strength training. If you haven't used that treadmill in the bedroom in awhile, or there's dust covering that Nautilus machine in the basement, then it's probably a good time to re-introduce yourself to your equipment.
Also, you might want to make sure it's operating properly, so consider having it looked at by someone from a local fitness equipment company.
The highly rated RMS Fitness Equipment Services in Nottingham, Maryland, can help.
Co-owner Lena Decker says their technicians receive constant training to keep your equipment running "in a safe and efficient manner."
Let's hope you can do the same at next year's marathon.