grandfather mountain marathon

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Ryan 14 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #2262

    has anyone ever run the grandfather mountain marathon in boone, nc? i have signed up and it will be my first marathon. i run a lot and such, but i know it will be a challenge, maybe even stupid for my first. however, i’m a glutton for punishment…

    anybody that has run it, i would love some tips and advice.

    also, what is a good program to help me train? i’ve heard that the hanson program is a great one. anyone know? i need some speedwork, hills and also a program that puts in a good bit of miles…although, the long run scares me….

    thanks for any help!


  • #17802

    I’m sure you’ll get lots of responses about training… though I would table the speed work if it’s the long run that scares you… after all that’s what a marathon is… a LONG RUN… lots of coaches suggest just trying to finish your first one…. however if you are truly set on one that has hills I would be sure to have them in your program…keep in mind you can be a glutton for punishment just by running a FLAT marathon…

    I’ve listened to lots of people discuss Hanson vs. Higdon vs. other programs and one thing seems clear (to me).. there are good points to all but it does take time for your body to adapt to the long run… didn’t see a date for GMM, hope it’s at least 16 weeks… I know you say you’ve been running, but, well… it’s different…

    can’t wait to hear others… good luck…


  • #17803
    steeplegal wrote:
    what is a good program to help me train?


    I don’t know your running background, but it sounds like this is your first marathon. I think any program that gets you out the door and motivates you would be a good first program. I doubt you could go wrong with Glover or Higdon. Pfitz, Daniels and Beck (and probably Hanson) are probably geared towards people with a little more experience.

    i need some speedwork, hills and also a program that puts in a good bit of miles…although, the long run scares me….

    You listed the key elements, but in the wrong order. You need to get over your fear of the long run. Also the speedwork you’ll need is very minor (depending on your goal).

    I don’t know anything about grandfather mountain, but it sounds hilly. 😉 So you’re going to need lots of hill work. A local runner does the Pikes Peak Marathon every year. Not a lot of mountains in Minnesota, so he does lots of hill repeats, runs lot of stairs and simulates long hills on the treadmill.

  • #17804

    thanks bunches for the advice!

    i’ve checked out higdon and i think i’m going to combine a little bit of two of the marathon schedules i saw. the beginner wasn’t nearly enough mileage and i would not feel prepared. not to mention i would like something that has me running at least 5 or 6 days. i’ve got a decent base under my belt. i also ran cross and track in college (i graduated a year and a half ago), so i’ve got a good bit of race experience. i thought maybe looking at the intermediate II mileage and then subsituting some of the hill and interval repeats from the advanced program.

    i think the long run just scares me cuz i’ve never done anything over 13 miles. i’ve gotten a couple ten milers in the past 3 months or so, but thats it, a couple. i’ve also heard conflicting ideas about whether a 20+miler is needed before a marathon. strangely enough, while the practice long run scares me, the marathon doesn’t really worry me. go figure.

    the marathon is july 9th. i think that is 21 weeks from now. so hopefully that is plenty of time to prepare. if this was a normal marathon i would be trying to shoot for a time under 4 but this one i’m just looking to make it to the “official” finish (which closes after 5 hours). there are some downs but the elevation change from bottom to top is about 1,000 feet. it will be rough i’m sure, but what the hell. i bet it might be a little fun, too.

    i appreciate all the help and anymore that people have to offer. and if anyone is running it or has run it, let me know! i’ll see ya at the finish, even if i have to crawl to the end.

    steeplegal 🙂

  • #17805

    Have you checked out They have the results from the last few years as well as runner’s comments. Here’s the link…

    It sounds like you have a solid history, a nice 21-week lead time and your plan seems to be on the right track. With a long run of “only” 13 miles in your life, it’s never to soon to start ratcheted that up. I think once you start adding a long run every week or two, you’ll be fine. You might even like it. It looks like you’re in a large metro area. Try finding a group to run with. There’s gotta be running stores, running clubs or coaches that have group runs on the weekends. I think it’d make your long run more enjoyable.

  • #17806

    I’ve heard that long runs are not always about the distance but about the amount of time spent in the running mode. Your legs are going to need to get used to running for three plus hours to finish a marathon. However, I believe that crossing the typical “wall” point of about 20 miles can prepare your mind and body for that point in the marathon. I have only done 1 marathon so far – so take my advice lightly unless supported by some of these seasoned vets.

  • #17807


    It sounds like you have a fair amount of experience so don’t be afraid to look beyond Higdon. Also, reading over this thread, I am most concerned about your long runs. With about 4 months to go, your long run is half the distance of what you want to run 4 months from now. As Zeke stated, it’s definitely not too soon to start building that distance up.

    Given your goal, I would say that speedwork would be at the bottom of the list of important factors, maybe even falling off the list. The first thing you have to do is get comfortable with the long run. This is accomplished by both building up your weekly miles and building up your long run. The next thing you have to do, given your choice of marathon, is get comfortable on the hills. You can do this by mixing hills into your regular training. Later in your training, you can add hill repeats to further develop your strength on the hills and get in some low-impact speedwork.

    21 weeks is not a whole lot of time but it’s definitely possible if you have already been running for a while and are coming in with a reasonable base. Also, without a goal of a real fast time, you have the freedom to take more time to develop your base – which is the key to the marathon – without being overly worried about speedwork.

    I don’t think you need a “program” of any kind if you are the kind of person who will get in the needed training without having a piece of paper in front of you telling you what to do every day. If you do feel that you need or want one, though, don’t be afraid to look at the more “challenging” ones and definitely don’t be afraid to adjust whatever you choose as appropriate.

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