With the Space Coast Marathon and Half-Marathon on the horizon, a post about long-distance running seemed appropriate.  I am by no means a professional runner or athlete, but running is what I love to do, and I have learned some valuable information and training habits along the way that I would like to share with you.  First, some helpful running terminology to learn:

  1. Full-Marathon/Half Marathon:  a distance of 26.2 miles/13.1 miles, in a race setting, traditionally run and sometimes walked.
  2. “K”:  a kilometer = .62 of 1 mile.  (.62 X 5K=3.1 miles or .62 x 10K= 6.2 miles).
  3. 10K/5K:  a distance of 6.2 miles/3.1 miles, also in a race setting, which can be run, walked or a combination of both.
  4. Pronation/Over-pronation/Under-pronation:  in running, these terms refer to the arches in your feet and how they affect the way your feet “roll” when you run.  Knowing how your feet pronate when you run will determine the type of running shoes you need.  (If you need help, visit The Running Zone in Melbourne, and they will do a quick evaluation of how you run, and they can suggest the appropriate shoes to get you started.)
  5. PR/PB:  Personal Record/Personal Best.  For example:  my PR for 13.1 miles is 2 hours, 3 minutes.  My PR for a 5K is 27 minutes, 43 seconds.

My family and friends often ask me how I am able to train for half-marathons and marathons.  While a great deal of training for long distances has to do with the mental aspects of running, a positive attitude alone will not carry you the entire distance.  Cardiovascular fitness and strength training are both integral parts of running long distances, as well as a diet that will correctly fuel your body and enable you to continue as long as you need.  The longer you run the more water, electrolytes, protein, and carbohydrates you will need to consume.  While running requires a lot of cardiovascular training, it is equally important to put work into strengthening your muscles, especially your core.   As your muscles become stronger, your endurance and stamina for long distances will increase, as well.

I always say that if you can complete half of something, then you can finish the whole thing.  If you currently run half a mile, you can work your way up to running 1 mile.  If you can run a 5K, then you can train for a 10K.  I am currently proving to myself that if I can run 13.1 miles, then I can complete 26.2 miles.  Training for any distance starts the same way:  running the first step.  When I first joined a gym, I couldn’t run for longer than a minute or two at a time on the treadmill.  I ran as long as I could, and then I walked to catch my breath.  I worked my way up to alternately running and walking for 5 minutes at a time for a 2-mile stretch.  Eventually, I could run for an entire mile without stopping, so I made 3 miles the new goal, and over time, I worked my way up from there.   I highly recommend finding a training plan to use as a guideline for working toward your goal.

Here is the 20-week marathon training plan that I printed for free from www.runrevolution.com.  I have crossed off each week as I completed it, and I wrote in any modifications I made along the way.  As you will see, yoga is included on the days off from running, but there is not a schedule for strength training.  I incorporated my own strength training on days that I run 6 miles or less, and I focus on core training on the yoga days.  (Race day is November 25th!)

What are your current goals, do you want to be able to run 1 mile?  Is there a 5K that you’ve had your eye on?  Have you completed a half-marathon, but afraid to try for 26.2?  Whatever your goals are, you can work toward them!  As always, before you venture into any type of diet or exercise plan, consult a physician and get a clean bill of health.

Here are a few helpful resources to get you started:

For free 10K, ½ Marathon, and Triathlon training plans, check out this website: http://trainer.active.com/gillette?cmp=17-20-192

If you are looking for the top running shoes of the season, read this article:  http://www.active.com/running/Articles/Fall-2012-Running-Shoe-Review.htm?cmp=17-1-3521lent

To learn more about the pronation of your feet, visit:


For information on races and everything about running in Brevard County, visit:




Ashley Shih has lived on the Space Coast for the past 5 years, and she can be seen training for marathons by the beaches of Brevard.  Her goal is to share the ups and downs of her fitness experiences with readers, in order to help them with their lifestyle goals.  Please email her with questions or feedback at ashleyerin.shih@gmail.com or follow her on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/ashleyerinshih.