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Extreme Marathon Training (AKA Training in VT) – Rookie Kiersten

by Jess Cover on February 25, 2014 · 6 comments

in This Rookie's Ramblings (2014)

Two women run down Mountain Avenue in a snowstorm.

Extreme Training

Two years ago, I had never run in any sort of organized race. I pumped myself up, and over 12 weeks, I was able to train for my first half-marathon. And what was my longest run during that 12 weeks of careful, well-structured, baby steps toward my 13.1 mile day?

10 miles.

And where has my training taken me in the first four weeks of marathon training?

10 miles, folks.

In four weeks, my “long run” has gone from 5 miles (yeah, that was nice) to 10. I literally checked my training schedule three times in order to believe it – I looked at the calendar once, then my print-out, and then re-googled “Hal Higdon Novice 1 Marathon Training” just in case he had changed his mind and updated it recently.

Not only am I taking these “Andre the Giant steps” in my running schedule, but I am also training during Vermont winter (spring? summer?) for the first time.

I would argue that race-training in Vermont is comparable to learning how to ski or snowboard in Vermont. I’ve met a number of West-Coast riders who tell me that riding in Vermont is often the most challenging they’ve encountered, and my fellow Vermonters have told me how they head out West and are suddenly viewed as the best riders on the hill. The extreme ice conditions, tighter glades, and wild weather work us into the best skier and riders in the world.

Icy Vermont Sidewalk

Icy Vermont Sidewalk

My dog used to get excited about joining me for a run, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she begins hiding under the bed after our most recent adventures. In a one week span, I have run under bluebird sky in temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, in snow falling at 1-2 inches per hour, in pouring rain, and in sunny 40 degree weather (thank god that was the “long run” day).

In winter rain, like we saw on Friday, Burlington sidewalks transform into temporary riverbeds. You might think that you are about to bound through only an inch or less of water and then plunge into ankle deep snow, salt and slush.

I’d like to think I could win a marathon or take on a Spartan Race if it were anywhere but in Vermont. I hope I still look like a person after this, and not some sort of Middle Earth creature…

These past two weeks have inspired me to begin a Rookie Marathoner 10 Commandments/Rule Book (it will probably end up being more like 20 or 30, in the end; I mean, I do still have 14 weeks left):

Rookie Commandment #1
There must always be room in my schedule for “cake, cross-country adventures, and cocktails” (see week #3 entry for an explanation; cocktails might be disputed and incorporated into a new commandment in a later entry).

Rookie Commandment #2
Thou shalt not run in weather labeled “winter advisory” “wintery mix” or __________ (TBD).

Turn back Runners!

Rookie Commandment #3

Thou shalt not run Spear Street, between Swift and Main, ever.
Seriously, there should be signs for runners, written in blood, that says “Turn back now, or else” in either direction of this hill:

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bob February 25, 2014 at 10:20 am

You will learn to embrace the hills. They are your friends :)

2 Kiersten Hallquist February 25, 2014 at 10:31 am

Thanks, Bob, but I think you run with some awful people if that’s the case… ;)

3 Valerie February 26, 2014 at 5:55 am

You are amazing!!!

4 Jeff Altman February 26, 2014 at 7:06 am


Love reading this post! And that hill, well, that’s one of those “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” hills, that’s for sure. Good luck with this weather – it’s been a heck of a winter to train for a marathon during.

5 Shane February 28, 2014 at 10:44 pm

“Not only am I taking these “Andre the Giant steps” in my running schedule” Nice name drop! Running in VT is so tough- props to you for pushing through it and getting it done. Keep up the great work!

6 Jill H March 20, 2014 at 9:06 am

There is always room for cake :)

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