Road to 26.2

Copy Editor Courtney Kueppers logs her triumphs and tribulations of marathon training in this bi-monthly running column


Graphic by Karl Enghofer, The Spectator

Story by Courtney Kueppers, Copy Editor

Welcome back to the outdoors, fair weather runners. I realized earlier this week on a quick five-mile training run that the people who run on treadmills all winter and the people wanting to obtain their summer beach body are back on the roads.

 Every which way I ran there were three or four other runners in sight. It was like people had come out of the woodwork, the trails I’m used to sharing only with the snow are now filled with fellow runners.

 I love this time of year because people flock to the outdoors, but it does make for some awkward trail encounters. My marathon-training sidekick, Johnny, says hi to every person we pass, so when we run together I leave the greetings to him; his loud voice makes him a natural.

However, recently we have increased our mileage, which can make it harder to find time to run together and for this reason we do some of our shorter runs separately squeezing them in whenever we can find time in our busy schedules.

When out on a trek alone I always wonder how to treat a fellow jogger passing by. Sometimes I go with a slight head nod, to acknowledge the presence of the jogger, as if to say, “Hey, good for you, good for us, we’re runners.” Sometimes, just a slight wave seems reasonable; other times yet I express a chipper “hello.”

However, whatever greeting I go with doesn’t really matter. The interesting and sometimes awkward part of the encounters that are more frequent this time of year is how people respond. It’s often with nothing at all. More times that not fellow runners just keep on trucking, but to each their own. I’m just happy to see the trail traffic on the rise.

Throughout our training, Johnny and I have acknowledged the value of resting. By the time race day arrives in early May we will have been training for six months and running four or five days a week. If we ran every day for that half year span it would be nearly guaranteed that we would become exhausted and be prone to injury. I’m a firm believer that days off allow our bodies to recover and have paid off thus far. However, this week we have gone away with rest days in an attempt to build some more endurance. It will end with the longest training run we are going to do.

Friday we will head out on a 20-mile run. Every time I think about it I get a little shaky and freaked out by the thought of running 20 miles, but I also get excited. Without a doubt this will be one of the most important runs we will do. How the run goes will truly show how prepared we are for race day.

If we can successfully accomplish the 20-miler we will start trimming back and doing relatively shorter runs until May 3.

It’s weird that we have already come so far. It seems so recent that I stood in Duluth, Minn. and watched in awe as my brother ran 26.2 miles, and now I’m so close to accomplishing the same feat. With any luck at all, Johnny and I will follow in his footsteps and become marathoners.