#7. Marathon training, nomad style!

A little over a month ago, I signed up for my third marathon: the Paso Robles Harvest Marathon, which will take place on October 30 in California wine country. (I’m not even going to try to pretend that wine at the finish line didn’t play into my selection process. It did.)

I’ve trained for two other marathons. The first was the Rock n’ Roll Marathon in Nashville, TN, and the second was the Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa, FL. In both cases, I was running in the same geographic area throughout the training period and often had a training buddy. Both of those things – knowing exactly what to expect in terms of elevation and terrain and who’d be pounding the pavement with me on the long runs – helped me stay motivated throughout the months-long preparation process.

I don’t have a training partner this time around, and the scenery and my running route change drastically from week to week. So far I’ve completed an 8-miler in the hills outside of San Antonio, a 10-miler in downtown Nashville, and a 12-miler in hot and dry San Angelo, TX. This upcoming weekend I’m slated to run 14 miles in Roswell, NM (which is 1,500 ft higher than San Angelo, so that’ll be interesting). Some of the longest runs of my training program (I have two 20-milers lined up in my calendar) will take place near Albuquerque, NM and Sedona, AZ.

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Super muggy and hilly run near Hohenwald, TN

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Running amongst cacti at McKinney Falls State Park near Austin, TX

Although running alone can get boring, I’m loving this training approach so far. It gives me a lot of time to explore new places, listen to my favorite podcasts, take pictures of wildlife, and think. Seeing the sights on foot is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to gain familiarity with an area and see it in all its authenticity. Plus, I like variety. I like not knowing exactly what to expect.

And I like going at my own pace. I’m not a fast runner. My goal is to run for most of this marathon – but I’m going to try hard to not have a goal pace. I just want to get out there, have fun, and avoid crying or throwing up at the end.

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Surprised by bison – or lack thereof – in San Angelo

I also plan to research some running clubs in less familiar areas to see where they recommend running and if they conduct any long group runs. As a nomad, it’s easy to insulate myself from others. Running with a group – if only once or twice – would be a good way to meet new people and brush up on my social skills (which are rusty on even the best days).

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Running with friends at Lady Bird Lake in Austin, TX

So if anyone has recommendations for running in New Mexico or websites that might offer helpful insights into trails and routes in the Albuquerque area, let me know. I’d greatly appreciate it!

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