On Fitness: Not so fast

craig.hill@thenewstribune.comJuly 21, 2013 

The minimum requirements did me in.

Every muscle in my legs ached, and I was pretty sure I’d done something horrible to my left foot as I settled in for an epically long wait at the doctor’s office.

I’d met the minimum qualifications for the Half Fanatics. Two half marathons (Tacoma City and Capital City) in 15 days, but I’d gone about it the wrong way.

I didn’t train. I was fine run-walking the Tacoma City Half Marathon with my 11-year-old son, but when I decided to jog the entire Capital City Half two weeks later, I paid the price.

My left foot felt as if somebody had bashed it with baseball bat. When two weeks of ice and rest didn’t do the trick, I was off to the doc.

An X-ray showed no stress fractures, so the doc fitted me for a post-op shoe, an ugly sandal with a thick, stiff sole that would allow my foot to heal.

Don’t make this mistake.

“You definitely need to have some training,” said Steven Yee, one of the three founders of Half Fanatics and the Marathon Maniacs. “That’s the smart thing to do. Know your limits.”

This is why the club websites have lengthy disclaimers with wording such as: “Participating in a marathon (or) half marathon … has inherent risks involved and could potentially be considered a hazardous activity. Not only the numerous injuries that you may incur by training and running in these events, but past history has shown that some runners have died during and upon completion of a marathon.”

Still want to try qualifying? Here are some tips:

 • “Don’t do too much too fast,” Yee said. “A good rule is to not increase your mileage by more than 5 or 10 percent each week. Start slow.”

 • Yee recommends talking to other runners and club members to get advice on what works for them. The Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics have open groups on Facebook that offer an ongoing conversation about training, Yee said.

 • Zach Zimmerman, a member of both groups, recommends joining a running training group with experienced coaches. He uses the Fleet Feet Sports training groups. The store has running programs at its Tacoma (253-272-8890) and Bonney Lake (253-862-8890) stores.

 • Finishing a marathon doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready for another one two weeks later (or the next morning, for that matter). “Give your body time to adapt to running multiple marathons,” said Tony Phillippi, co-founder of the clubs.

Sound crazy? You won’t get much argument, even from members. After all, these clubs didn’t get their names by accident.

Craig Hill, craig.hill@thenewstribune.com

GETTING IN

Speed is not a factor in qualifying for the Half Fanatics or Marathon Maniacs. However, getting in and achieving one of the clubs’ nine levels require running at least two races. To reach the lowest or highest level in each club, you’ll have to meet one of these requirements at the club’s race distance.

ENTRY LEVEL

• Two events in 16 days.

• Three events in 90 days.

HIGHEST LEVEL

• 52 events in 365 days.

• 30 events in any combination of 30 different states, Canadian provinces and countries in 365 days.

• 20 events in 20 different countries in 365 days.

More info: halffanatics.com and marathonmaniacs.com

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