Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Monument July 4th 2001
This is a follow-up post to my post: Marine Corps Marathon (2013 – Very Early Planning).

Note: The 2013 MCM registration is over. The event is sold out. It was not well executed (putting it nicely). I’m sure I’m not the only one looking for a Plan B. Congratulations on those who got through the server failures, odd error messages, and other technological hurdles and have a valid registration. If you were not able to register try this page: MCM Charity Partners, they have set aside registrations but require minimum donation pledges. I went with the charity Finish for Kids, they are doing good things, have a well working website, and a reasonable domation minimum.

I’ve never trained for a Marathon before, but there are at least 4 things I know I’ll need to work on while I’m training.

1. Weight – I need to lose 20 pounds to reduce the pounding on my legs and feet during the run.
2. Wind – I have good wind, but I want to increase my speed so I’ll need to work on my wind. Wind sprints are the best way I’ve ever found to make fast improvements in my wind and speed.
3. Distance – Up to this point I’ve been running 3-4 miles once a week. This is comfortable, but it will not be enough to get me through a marathon.
4. Avoid injury! An injury would set me back on my preparation and could even prevent my being able to run on the big day.

I won’t need to work on determination or the ability to keep going even when it hurts. But I want to do more than just finish. I’ll be almost 53 by the time I run this, my first, marathon. I’m not expecting to “enjoy” the experience, so I may never do another one! If this is my only marathon I want it to be successful which for me means – worthy of mention. To avoid procrastinating on my training plan I’ve already signed up for one half marathon in 2012, the America’s Finest City Half Marathon, in San Diego and will sign up for at least one more half marathon in March or April of 2013. The America’s Finest City Half Marathon is 19 August 2012, so as of today I have 21 weeks to train. That is more than enough time to get ready, but just enough time to really reach my goals. I’m currently running just under 9 minute miles for my 3 and 4 mile runs. If I can maintain that pace I would finish in under 2 hours. I think I would be happy with that time, although I would love to finish in under 1:45. I know that I would be unable to maintain even the 9 minute mile pace for 13.1 miles today.

I also want to be able to walk in to work the next day without limping or complaining about my aches and pains! I have a small strip of metal and two screws in my right foot from a surgery 3 years ago. It doesn’t cause problems with the shorter runs I do any more. A couple of years ago it used to swell up every time I ran, but at least that problem has cleared up. I am afraid that I will have issues when I try to run further. For training I may try to replace some of the recommended running with time on the elliptical machine in the gym. I know I can’t replace all the miles that I’ll have to run, but if I can avoid some of the impact training I may be able to avoid issues that affect my ability to train.

There are several interesting websites that show up in Google results for “training for a marathon”. has training programs for both the half and full marathon. The training advice and mileage table for a 10 week training program for the half marathon look good. I like to keep things simple, so I like the straight forward explanations in the post, The World’s Simplest Marathon Training Plan. Since I’m over 50 I decided to add that into my search criteria. I found a post on – How to Train for Running at 50 Years Old. (Update March 2016. They have updated this post and my critcisms no longer apply, now it has reasonable advice, and an appropriate pictue. The following comments apply to the original post.) I can say right away that the picture of a much older couple, definitely not anywhere near fifty, made me wonder about the age of the person who wrote the article. Much of the advice also seemed to be targeted to much older runners. I would give them a break if the article was for “over 50” instead of “at 50”. Osteoporosis, really? While there may be some instances of this in 50 year olds, the information I could find pointed to an age closer to 65-75 years old before this should be a concern. Much of the advice is good for runners of any age. I did see a validation of my thought to replace some of my runs with other aerobic training in this post though.

For Marine Corps Marathon registration information I went to the official Marine Marathon registration page for the 2012 race. The registration for the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon opened in early March and is already closed. From what I’ve read in other places this usually happens within hours! For 2012, there are still some ways to register, but for the most part the race is closed out. For next year I will monitor the opening day for registration closely and will consider running any earlier race that offers a “golden ticket” for the MCM in the same way that the 2012 Irish Sprint 10K did. I do not want to have to wait until 2014 to run in the Marine Corps Marathon, and I really don’t want to do a different marathon.

Next posts in this series:
26.2 Miles of Music
Americas Finest City Half Marathon (Aug 19 2012)/
Marine Corps Marathon 2013 (Updated training plan)
Training Log page (converted to a post after the marathon) to track my training miles in preparation for the training half marathons, and for the Marine Corps Marathon.

Update 2/20/2013: OK… the registration time for the Marine Corp Marathon is at Noon Eastern Time on 27 March 2013. Get there early, it sold out in under three hours last year and this years Golden Ticket race sold out in less than an hour! If you are feeling generous to me, wait until about 5 minutes after noon so I can get my registration in without internet traffic delays. Good luck to everyone…

Update 3/10/2013: Completed the second of three planned half marathons in preparation for the Marine Corps Marathon – the San Diego Half Marathon!

Update 3/19/2013: Updated my Marine Corps Marathon training plan based on the lessons learned from my second half marathon – Evolving My Marine Corps Marathon Training Plan

Update 3/27/2013: Yikes. is not handling the traffic well. Hope this clears up soon! — Very disappointed with I’m now getting a “Sold Out” Message and event unavailable even though I clicked register at 0900. I believe their site design and inability to fairly distribute the registrations may have cost me a chance to run this Marathon in 2013. Not happy right now. The MCM Facebook page is reporting that the race is SOLD OUT. Time to figure out a Plan B.

Update 3/29/2013: I got in. I chose a charity partner and was able to get registered. Here are some tips on registering next year if they don’t go to a lottery system: Marine Corps Marathon 2014 Registration Recommendations

Here are some more posts… after my successful registration for the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon:

Evolving M Marine Corps Marathon Training Plan/
Marine Corps Marathon Training Plan (Over 50, Over Trained, and “A Little” Over Weight)
Marine Corps Marathon 2013 – The Final Training Push

And my training log for the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon:
MCM Training Log

Only one more post to go… the results!

——-Older updates——

Update: The 2012 Marine Corps Marathon sold out in 3 hours. Marathon Registration Operates at Brisk Pace With Cloud Computing. Need to be on top of this next year. Also have to seriously consider the “Golden Ticket” run.

Update 6/6/2012: Because I get a lot of people coming to this post looking for 2013 MCM registration information I emailed the MCM staff to find out their 2013 MCM plans for registration day and race day. The response: “Sir, we are planning to open registration for our Marathon (which will be October 27, 2013), on March 27, 2013” (Note: As of 10/17/2013 the Official 2013 MCM Registration date of March 27, 2013 and golden ticket event and registration date have been posted on the the official Marine Marathon registration page. However, the time that Registrations will start has not been posted. The time is important because the event sold out in 2 hours and 41 minutes in 2012.)

Update 7/12/2012: Keep in mind if you are looking for information on the Marine Corps Half Marathon, it is run at a different time and place than the Marine Corps Marathon usually in May. The Half Marathon is called the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon.

Update 8/21/2012: I did my first half marathon last weekend. This was a major milestone in preparation of the Marine Corp Marathon. There were lot’s of lessons learned. See my post on the half marathon here: Americas Finest City Half Marathon (Aug 19, 2012)

Update 9/30/2012: I’ve updated my training plan for the Marine Corps Marathon based on the lessons I learned training for and running my first half marathon: Marine Corps Marathon 2013 (Updated training plan)

Update 10/30/2012: If you are looking for the Golden Ticket race this year, it is not the Irish Sprint, it is the 17.75K Race (Sold out), so be prepared to run quite a bit further (11 miles) than usual for your golden ticket and a guaranteed entrance in to the Marine Corps Marathon.

  1. Ray says:

    Any information on when the 2013 registration will open or the date for the 2013 race? I hope I see you there.

    • eric.rial says:

      Ray, sorry for the slow reply. I emailed the MCM staff and they are planning to have registration for the 2013 MCM on: March 27, 2013. Be sure to check out their official registration page for updates in January.

  2. Bettie Nguyen says:

    Thank you so much for your info. I am 55, I will run my first marathon, so ” Age is just a number, marathon is for every age who challenge herself or himself.” If you are healthy and doc says OK, the go for it.” Nothing is impossible with a wiling heart.” as Abraham Lincohn one sai. Good luck with your PR! I just want to finish.

    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks for the comment Bettie. I also wish you luck finishing. I ran a half marathon yesterday and it was hotter and tougher than expected. But I got out of it what I needed. I will not take the Marathon next year lightly, it will take more training than I have been doing, and I will have to be in better overall shape, and at least 20lbs lighter to reduce the pounding on the legs and feet.

  3. brickthomas says:

    Glad to here the 1/2 went well with a few lessons learned. Keep at it and stay healthy.

    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks for the encouragement. I’m lagging a little on my training with the short days and colder/wetter weather this winter, but about 6 weeks to the next 1/2 marathon, so no more time to waste. Enjoy St George, I love that area!

  4. Justin C. says:

    Hey Eric, Good luck getting registered! Wednesday is the “Open to the Public” registration. I did the 17.75k this past Saturday and got my “Access Granted” ticket, and got registered pretty quickly. Also, If you know any military folks out there that might want to run it, they can register up until Wednesday with no problem. GEICO actually knocks off 15% of the registration fee for military, so it’s only $86 (approx) or so. Other options, raising some money for a charity of your choice. A lot of charities have an alloted amount of spots for the MCM, and are willing to give you one if you can raise some funds for them. My favorite is “Back on My Feet” which is basically a running group that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change in their lives that results in employment and independent living. I ran with this group for a couple years when I first started running, and lived closer to DC. Check out their site and Anne’s story about how it all started. In a nutshell she’d run by homeless shelters with guys out front in the morning that would cat call her when she’d run by every morning. One day she stopped, and talked to them, and invited them (many on drugs, and/or fresh out of jail) to run with her. It evolved into a pretty amazing things since then with many members running marathons, and other races, getting full time paying jobs, and moving into their own housing!

    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks Justin. I plan to be on this on Wednesday. Registration opens at noon eastern time, but I may be checking it out before then. I considered the golden ticket run, but it didn’t fit into my schedule this year. Maybe if I decide to do another one! I guess I better get one done first.

      • Justin C. says:

        Last year was my first Marine Corp Marathon. I swore I’d never do another one again, because I finished. I finished a lot slower than my goal, but it was “one and done!”… then this 17.75k race popped up (although I can register early as military). I also have my plaque on the wall with an awesome pic of me around mile 24 or so chugging a beer I was handed, and my crappy time (6:55). I blame it all on a “poor sock decision” that caused some serious blisters on both feet (don’t wear padded socks EVER), but I know damn good and well that I didn’t train enough. I returned home from a 1 year deployment in late August, and just wanted to relax then. So this year, I’m going full speed, and shooting for 4:45 or so. We’ll see! Good luck to you, and I look forward to your posts over the year, and a beer at the finish line! 🙂

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