Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Completing a Marathon: Introduction (Part I of IV)

CM SEAL Team blogger: Tim Grizzell

Nothing is impossible if you try.” Paul Tergat, Marathon World Record Holder – 2003-2007

Hello Charlie Mike Teammates – I am back and I am fired up to talk to all of you about how to properly prepare yourselves to successfully complete a marathon. This is going to be a four-part series beginning with a brief introduction and some of my general thoughts regarding the marathon. Next week, I will discuss different training programs. The third week we will get into one of my favorite topics: running equipment (i.e., running apparel and running shoes). Finally, I will conclude by talking about the day of the marathon.

Now some of you might ask, “Why would I ever want to run a marathon?” Some history buffs who are runners might respond by saying that they want to experience the distance that the Greek soldier Pheidippides supposedly ran from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce the Persians had been defeated. Okay. I would respond by saying because it is a huge accomplishment and it will help you take care of your body.

How do you do it? As with most athletic endeavors of this magnitude, the short answer is that it just takes a lot of motivation (i.e., FIRE IN THE GUT), a lot of self-discipline and the ability to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!

Who can run a marathon?” It is my belief that the vast majority of humans can run a marathon. I mentioned in a prior Charlie Mike post that I believe humans were born to run. We were given this gift at birth. So anyone can run a marathon if they put their mind to it. There are experienced runners out there who have completed marathons, there are experienced runners out there who have never participated in an event at this distance, there are athletes who participate in other sports other than running yet are in great shape, and there are some individuals who lead sedentary lifestyles for one reason or another. So, picking a training program will depend on which category you fall in. Clearly, an experienced runner will have an easier time transitioning into a marathon training program then someone who is not as experienced (NOTE: I will never say someone is non-runner because deep down everyone is a runner).

Prior to embarking on marathon journey, I believe that you should decide if it is necessary to get a physical examination from your doctor to make sure everything checks out okay. Running a marathon is a big deal and you want to make sure that your training is not going to aggravate a larger problem. This is good advice prior to beginning any significant physical activity. You have to keep in mind, though, that some doctors feel running is unhealthy even if you are in great shape. I have been told this by more than one doctor. Show me a doctor who says running is bad for you and I will show you a doctor who has never run!

Training for a marathon is something that should be taken very seriously. We are talking 26.2 miles, right? Therefore, anyone who sets a goal of competing and finishing a marathon must make sure that they are properly prepared prior to showing up to the starting line the morning of the event. You cannot just phone in the training. If you do, you will pay for it. I am speaking from experience. When getting ready for my first marathon event, I missed a lot of long runs in the second half of my four month training program. I could give all of you a bunch of excuses why, but you know the saying. As a result, my performance suffered and my body took some weeks to recover. Yet – in the end, my experience from this marathon reinforced one simple fact – be consistent in your training.

Next week we will discuss different training programs. Stay tuned…

Fired Up!


Guest Blogger Tim Grizzell is a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer who led SEAL units in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. He is currently starting a running apparel company that will be officially launched in second quarter of this year. He has run numerous marathons. Tim resides in San Marino, California with his wife and their three young children.

Tim met Alden when Alden had just graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training and he had just arrived to begin BUD/S training.


Joe G. said...

Tim, what is your marathon PR? If it's not under three hours, don't even type to us! We absolutely cannot tolerate fat bodies on the site.

Tim Grizzell said...

Hello Joe G:

3:33 (2007 St. George Marathon)

In my first blog post, “Making Time For Fitness,” I mentioned to you that I injured my left knee on a static line parachute jump when I was serving our country. I had a complete tear in the anterior cruciate ligament and two tears in the meniscus. This knee was repaired in 1996. For a couple years after the surgery, I could not run more than 3-4 miles on a consistent basis without having significant inflammation or swelling in my knee.

I got interested in running marathons after I left the SEAL teams. Even though I had a bad “left wheel,” I wanted to complete a marathon. As I mentioned in this recent blog post, I missed a lot of long runs in training for this first marathon. It was because of this left knee. Yet – on race day I just decided to go for it even though my knee was not happy with me. I have a very high threshold for pain and got through it. I loved the event, got the marathon bug and I have done more marathons since; but not without pain in the knee.

Right now, my knee feels the best it has in 13 years since that surgery and my training is going well. I am looking to post a marathon time with a 2 in front of it in the next year. Prior to injuring my knee, I enjoyed running middle distance races. Here were some of my PRs:

5000 meters – 16:17
1500 meters – 4:03
800 meters – 1:57

I started running when I was 7 years old and I have not stopped since. It is my passion. My mission in life right now is to inspire others to run. Sure, I have had some obstacles along the way but I have learned to NEVER GIVE UP!!

So, I am going to keep on typing.

Fired Up!


Joe G. said...

You are the man! I have no doubt you will break 3. ZERO.

Does anybody realize how fast 16:17 is? Whoa. My PR in a 5k was over 20 minutes and I WAS HAULING ASS!

Good luck, bro. You are going to be training in the mountains w/ Kenyans one of these days. Please don't tell me you already are.

DebbieKinIL said...

Heya Tim, Your series reminds me of another SEAL who runs Marathons.

He is David Goggins- and he even does ultra marathons like Badwater.

See this link-

I am thinking of transitioning from fast walking to running (but not marathons-lol) and I will be following your series.

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