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At Age 45, Michal is Training for her First Marathon [Part 1]

Here at Fitness22, the goal that we focus on everyday is helping people live happier and healthier lives. That goal isn’t something that we leave at our desks when we head home at the end of the day, it’s something that we strive for both in and out of work.

Meet Michal, our Creative Director. She is training hard for one of the most grueling races you can run: a 42km (26.2 mile) marathon!

Why are you running a marathon?

Well, as stated … I’m over 40… so it might be a 40’s mid-life crisis

I wanted a new challenge, and the fact that I love working out + the fact that I work in an environment that encourages fitness, running a marathon seemed like a good choice. I have friends my age who have done it, and just hearing about what they’ve been through made me want to try it myself.

Have you always been an athlete?

Yes. Working out was always a part of my life. Although long distance running came later when I was around 37. Before my marathon training, I would run 3 – 7 miles, with a much slower pace compared to today. I always thought that anyone who runs more than 10 miles is not human! I can tell you now, that if you don’t have any physical problem, you can run a marathon. It’s all in your head.

Outside of running, how are you preparing? Diet? Sleep?

On the way to the marathon, it’s vital to remember the importance of not just the run training, but also the nutrition and preparation your body needs to maintain high levels of energy during the long run. The two main factors that contribute to fatigue during the run are: dehydration, and lack of available carbohydrate energy.

There is so much to say about nutrition when training for a marathon, my advice is to read about it and consult trainers and/or dieticians.

Training takes a long time, how has preparing for the marathon affected your life?

I’m not intending to do a lot of marathons, so I knew that during this time (8 months!) I needed to change my daily routine. I have 2 daughters, I work full time, I have a spouse, friends and family, so, what did I do? I told everyone that I was going to run a marathon and got all those surrounding me to be both supportive and patient

I need to go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier (4:20 AM!) to run 3 times a week, which made me pretty tired at first. Yet over time my body got used to it, and now I’m handling it great. I tell everyone that I’ll be back to my normal self soon.

What keeps you motivated not to quit while you are running?

That’s a good question. I’ve been through winter, running at 4, 5 degrees, and I’ve been through summer, running at 33 degrees with 88% humidity.

There are a few factors that keep me motivated:

  1. A running group. This has been SO helpful. We encourage each other and inspire each other every run

  2. Declaration. Once I said it loud and I signed up for a marathon, I couldn’t quit! I fully committed myself to the goal

  3. My daughters. To give them an example of perseverance, determination, and willpower

  4. I began to lose weight which is always nice!

What was the hardest thing you have had to overcome in your training so far?

There is no one thing. There are pains, exhaustion and runs where you swear you’ll never do it again. However, there are runs that are so powerful you immediately forget the bad things. There is no feeling like the feeling you get when you overcome something. I’ve had bad moments, I’ve slowed down sometimes, but I have NEVER given up, and that feels so good.

Are you using any training programs to help you?

Of course. There is no way you can build yourself a marathon program without using a program built from the experience of others. There are mobile apps, for training for marathons as well as websites and personal coaches.

Do you listen to music while you run? If so, what kind?

When I run alone I like to listen to music – good music motives me. For my interval training, I use tempo music. For my long distance training I use the radio or soft pop.

Any advice to anyone who wants to start training for their first marathon?

Know and respect your body! Give yourself enough time to recover, read a lot about marathons, and talk to others. Learn about yourself and how you overcome crises, how much you’re willing to put in for your goal, and how you plan ahead.

And don’t be afraid! There’s so much to learn about your life from running, enjoy discovering it!

What or who inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who have overcome great obstacles.

I have a very close friend (we’ve known eachother since the 4th grade) and she just found out, at the very last moment that she has lung cancer, with metastases in her brain. She fights like a lion and says that running helps keep her from sinking down. Her bravery and strength is so inspiring. I also know a guy, a young guy, who trained for triathlons. He had an accident while riding his bicycle and now he’s in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. However, since the accident he has now become a marathon coach! He is truly incredible

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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