I WAS one of the 21,000 runners from all over the globe who recently joined the San Francisco Marathon. I was able to achieve my sub-four goal finish time of three hours and 55 minutes.
It started at Embarcadero as early as 5:30 a.m. The event?s highlight was running to and from the Golden Gate Bridge which covers about 8 kilometers.
The marathon was known for its hilly race course and the best scenic views.
There were seven of us who joined the 42K, and three the half marathon.
Joining a marathon abroad fires up one?s commitment to health and fitness and at the same time, gives the break that you deserve.
Choose a marathon location on websites or magazines. Register online if you want to avail of early-bird discounts.
Consider the weather conditions of the country you plan to visit.
Run in cool places if you would go for long-distance races like 26.2 miles (42.195 km) to avoid cramps. But if you have medical conditions like asthma, think twice before going to places with extreme cold weather. Consult a doctor.
Research on the running course and feedback of runners who have joined the marathon to have a clear picture of what you are about to experience.
Check www.runsfm.com for samples of marathon videos. Maximize your trip.
Before I decided to join the marathon in San Francisco, I made sure that I could enjoy my vacation and attend a fitness convention at the same time in a span of two weeks.
How many months are needed to train for a marathon?
Brad Hudson, a well-known running coach and author of ?Run Faster,? suggests that less experienced runners should devote at least five to six months before joining a full marathon to adapt well in three running phases: introductory, sharpening and fundamental periods.
More experienced runners can train in four to five months.
Optimal training for a full marathon is 18 to 24 weeks; half marathon is 16 to 20 weeks; 10K is 14-18 weeks; and 5K is 12 to 16 weeks. Coach Hudson advocates the principle of ?adaptive running,? which means listening to one?s body and not being too strict in completing a running program.
Adjust your program based on your endurance and strength.
Before the race
A day before the marathon, I claimed my race pack (consisting of a shirt, bib number and energy bars) with my running group at the expo.
We were there for almost three hours and saw popular coaches and runners.
There was even a pasta party held in the afternoon.
Dean Karnazes, the ultra-marathon man, gave a talk on his long-distance running adventures.
My fiancé and I bought a book, ?My Life on the Run,? which was signed by Bart Yasso, chief running officer of Runners World magazine.
It was such a wonderful experience to see them in person.
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