National 1/2 Marathon 2009

Monday – 10.5 miles outside
Tuesday – 4.5 miles outside
Wednesday – 0 miles
Thursday – 0 miles
Friday – 5 treadmill miles
Saturday – 16 treadmill miles
Sunday – 0 miles – rest day

36 miles in 4 days.  My highest mileage week since baby C was born.  [And now that I think about it, it’s probably the highest mileage week since last March before I got pregnant] 

Training is in full effect now for Boston Marathon and National Marathon!!  Yes I did just say National Marathon.  I’m excited and proud to announce that I was chosen to be a RunDC National Marathon Ambassador!! [If you have any questions about the race feel free to ask me!!!]

When I was initially asked to be an ambassador for the race I had wrongly assumed it was four weeks out from Boston.  I agreed to represent the race and run the half. After a closer look at the calendar I realized it was three weeks out when I would need to be doing my longest long run before taper time.  I decided the best option was to turn the marathon into my last very long run before Boston. 

Last year I served as the Director of Volunteers and the year before that I ran the 1/2.  I’m excited to experience the race from yet another perspective.

As for the doubling up of my races:

I’ve doubled up on marathons many times before but I don’t recommend it for most people.  In my opinion in order to double up on marathons you have to consider many different factors all of which are unique to the individual.  Here’s why it works for me and my body and why it may/may not work for your body.

I have never been injured.  REPEAT. Never injured.  I have at times felt some aches and pains, like my IT band, tight quads, sore arches, etc.  I have never however had to stop running due to an injury.  I credit this to a couple of different things, that we can get into at a later date if anyone cares.

I don’t expect PR’s at both races, though it has happened numerous times.  I pick one race to be the target race, whether it is the one before or the one after, and focus my training on that race and that race alone.  I consider the other one a ‘for fun race.’ In this case I don’t plan on being anywhere near PR shape for either race, so the pressure is off.  I can run both races strong and use them as a base for this fall when I hope to set some new PR’s.

While I certainly do not run as many miles a week as I would like to run, I normally run at least 30 miles a week.  If your mileage is 20 miles a week or less I DO NOT recommend doubling up on marathons.  Your body can not handle the pounding and you are likely to injure yourself. 

My main goal in running is to make sure I can do it for life. If you gave me two options right now – a. go under 3:00 in the marathon or b. run till I’m in my 70’s 80’s and beyond. I’d pick option b.  Simply put I want to make sure I am physically capable of running the rest of my life.  I’m not going to tack on extra races just to say I could do them if they will hurt me in the long run.

Which brings another point to light.  I am not saying that if your mileage is under 20 miles a week that you could not run two marathons back to back.  You probably could.  I’m telling you it’s not smart.

When I was in highschool and wanted to do something that my friends were doing I’d say to my mom oh but amy and sarah are doing it and she would say to me, well you aren’t amy and sarah.  Just because you read about me, or some other blogger attempting and having success at crazy things, doesn’t mean you should do it.  You have to consider what works best for your body. You are not your friend. 

Maybe you read this and you think – hey I run 45 miles a week every week, I’ve been running for 15 years and I haven’t been injured lately – maybe I could run back to back marathons.  If you came to me and asked my opinion I would say that you are a good candidate!

My point is not to discourage you from running races, but to advise you that you must listen to what your own body is telling you, not what you see others doing.

That being said, if you want to copy me here is my long run [subject to change] plan.

01/01/11 12 miles
01/08/11 14 miles
01/15/11 14 miles
01/22/11 16 miles
01/29/11 16 miles
02/05/11 18 miles
02/12/11 18 miles
02/19/11 14 miles
02/26/11 20 miles
03/05/11 20 miles
03/12/11 16 miles
03/19/11 12 miles
03/26/11 National Marathon – 26.2
04/02/11 16 miles
04/09/11 12 miles
04/18/11 BOSTON MARATHON – 26.2

This plan gives me only 1 step back week, but allows me to fit in 2 20 mile runs prior to National Marathon, with a 3 weeks taper before that race and a three week cycle back taper for Boston.  My body thus far has handled minimal step back weeks during marathon training.  I personally have seen more benefits from the super long runs, than I have from stepping back down to 12 – 14 a handful of times.  This is an example of altering your plan to fit what works best for your body and not following a cookie cutter one-size-fits-all training plan.

If you are signed up for National Marathon, Half Marathon or Relay you might have noticed that they featured all of the RunDC Ambassadors in this months e-newsletter.  I loved the blurb they wrote about me!

9. Dorothy Beal, South Riding, VA
Dorothy is running the National Marathon. She has served as the Director of Volunteers for the 2010 SunTrust National Marathon and is currently a Saucony Ambassador. She writes the popular blog, Dorothy is quite the speedy runner and qualified for the Boston Marathon only six months after having her second child.

So what’s the 6:32 and 6:22?  Tuesday I did my run a mile fast to see where my fitness is at mile.  It was cold, windy and was starting to sleet. I managed to push out a 6:32 mile.  10 seconds faster than the mile I did 2 weeks before.  I was proud of myself, but felt that I could have gone faster if the conditions had been better.   I just couldn’t get it out of my head so I attempted another fast mile on the treadmill at the end of my run on Friday.  I got up to top speed prior to the last mile to ensure that the mile was indeed what my target goal time was.  6:22 – for the 5th mile of my run.  20 seconds faster than I was at 8 weeks post-partum. 

I’m being honest when I tell you I did not anticipate my fitness would return this fast.  10 weeks ago I was struggling to run 10 minute miles. I just ran a 6:22 mile, 28 seconds off of my mile PR of 5:54 set last summer.  I hope this serves as an encouragement to anyone who is currently pregnant and worried about loosing their fitness. 

You don’t have to run like a crazy person the entire time you are pregnant.  Listen to your body.  Let it rest when it needs to.  Even fast walking while pregnant helps you maintain fitness and keep your mind in the right fitness mind frame.  Remember my goal?  Runner for life?  There is no need to push yourself hard when you are pregnant.  Allow your body to do it’s main job, growing and nourishing a new little life.

Director of Volunteers 2010

Comment below if you are running the National Marathon, Half Marathon or Relay! 
If you aren’t signed up but are thinking about running, don’t hesitate.  Less than 1,000 combined spot remain for the race.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to run 26.2 on 3.26.2011!!!


  1. ahhhh….miss dorothy you are indeed so encouraging! and smart. and inspiring. and amazing!

  2. National is one of my dream races. I want to run it so bad. I know I have several awesome blogger friends to stay with but I'm lacking in coming up with the entry fee & travel. I really wish I could find a way to make it happen.

  3. Pemberton Family says:

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this post tonight. I emailed you awhile back about running while pregnant, I have been pushing myself like a crazy person taking no days off and running 4-5 days a week while pregnant with my third right now. I have started to experience some early contractions and realize I may have pushed a little too far. Thanks for the reminder that there are more things in life than running (especially when pregnant)! You are awesome.

  4. Love your blog…you are so inspirational! Looking forward to reading more.

  5. dannie chOOng says:

    hey hey, congrats for being nominated as one of the "Best Running Blogs 2011" hope to read many more of your fantastic running stories. sending you greetings from Malaysia…

  6. Rebecca Samson says:

    I needed this post as motivation. I just slug along on the treadmill at an easy pace. Well not this morning. I thought of you and really pushed the pace my last mile. Not only did it feel really good but made me realize I can go so much faster on there if I try. Thanks Dorothy!!

  7. Madam National Marathon Ambassador, can you give some insight to the hills I will be facing in the 1/2 marathon? I've heard they are bigger than expected.

  8. I am running the National Marathon! It will be my first Marathon and I am VERY nervous!


    So cool! Congrats! I know you will do great at both races. I am running the National Marathon!

  10. Congrats on your awesome & speedy week! You're running the full!! Amazing! PS, Poor Pritch, I think he got the hill fear from my post!! You know I hate hills, let him know they're not that bad, as long as you're prepared!

  11. National Marathon here I come. Been training hardcore…40-50 miles a week. Im gonna give my strongest shot to qualify for Boston at the National Marathon. See you there.

  12. Hi Dorthy. I love your blog. After taking off a few months due to injuries from soocer I am back to running, but I am as slow as molasses. Thanks for giving me hope that I can get back to faster times quickly with adequate training.

  13. SupermomE12 says:

    Great job on the miles!!

    I just doubled up on marathons and it was an awesome experience for me. I did the Vegas RnR on Dec. 5 and then the Walt Disney World on Jan. 9. Vegas was my first marathon and I felt awesome afterwards. I got the unexpected last minute opportunity to run Disney and felt up to it so I went for it. I felt even better after number two.

    I have race reviews of both on my new running blog

    Thanks for your blog… It's awesome how many great people in the running community you get to meet.

  14. SupermomE12 says:

    Ok, just curious about your coaching (if you are taking new runners, what you charge, etc.) Could you email me at fullhousemom at gmail dot com

    Thanks! :)

  15. The Laminator says:

    Very nice job getting back to form. You are definitely a fast momma!

    Excited to meet up again in National! Cool =)

  16. Lisa Rini says:

    Congrats Dorothy!!!! So awesome to hear! You are going to do amazing, and can't think of a better person to be a National Marathon ambassador. :) Thanks for posting your Long Run plans. If there's any way I can get one of the 20 milers in with you, would help me a lot! I need to check with my babysitter and see what Saturdays she's avail. (Chris is working every Sat. until April 15th).

  17. I REALLY want to run the half for the National Marathon, but since you need a prequalifiying race, I can't register. I haven't run a race in 10 years… I got out of running for a while and now with a busy lifestyle, I mainly just run for fun. But I want to run my (new) hometown race! I know I can do it because I run half marathon distances just for fun on the weekend (in sub 2 hrs). I've looked for race to qualify pre marathon, but none work with my schedule. Am I just out of luck? Or is there any way I can get my way into the race?

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