December Running

For the past few years, December has been my month to reset running goals.

December is two months away from my annual fall failure to quality for the Boston Marathon, so my memories for attempting to run 22 miler training runs at 8:40 pace at five in the morning are getting blissfully foggy. As are my memories for those last terrible miles I spent running a marathon that I knew wouldn’t live up to my hopes. 


Last September I ran the Light at the End of the Tunnel marathon in hopes that the gentle downhill would give me the edge I needed for that qualifying time. Not so much. I hated the first three miles in those tunnels, crammed in with other runners, desperately trying to avoid puddles, getting stuck on the down sloping sides of the trails, and feeling my headlamp jostle around on my forehead. Things didn’t improve much from there. I stuck with my pace until mile 15 or 16, but it was never an enjoyable run. The scenery was the same the whole race, and the downhill was more monotonous that anything.Anyways, moving on.    

December is also the month following NaNoWriMo, which is my November obsession. Every November, I (along with 384,126 people around the globe) write a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel. Unlike my race goals, I totally achieved my writing goals. During November, early morning track workouts were replaced with early morning writing sessions at Starbucks. My weight and fitness levels adjusted accordingly, so December is a necessary time to staunch that free fall.


December is also not January, so I can’t be lumped into the “resolution runners.” You know, those dudes who say they are going to start running and then spend $500 on new running clothes only to quit by February? Not me.

So, last weekend I took a good hard look at the marathon training plan that I’ve never quite managed to follow, and I decided, again, that this year was the year I would be in-shape enough to start this plan in May. Because this training plan is no joke. Week 1 of training kicks off with a 13 mile long run and (speed work). After an October and November is averaging 10 miles a week of running, I clearly have to some work to do. Before jumping into this kind of training, I should really be at 30-40 miles a week.

Starting this week.

Like the resolution-ers I just made fun of two paragraphs ago, my training also began with the spending of money. Race fees were just sent in for the Fort Ebey Kettles Trail Run on Whidbey Island in February. I also booked an airbnb for myself, my two kiddos and my mom so we can make a little weekend out of the event. I’m also planning on the San Juan Island Half Marathon in May. The Everett Aquasox 5K in June, and (of course!) Ragnar in July. No word yet on which marathon I’ll tackle. Stay tuned.  

marathon training

Jenna Vandenberg

Teacher, writer, runner, mom and wife.