The distance from Marian to Ginger Cove Lake in Valley, Nebraska is roughly how far junior Bridget McGill ran on June 18. For her first marathon she chose to run the Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota with her dad, who’s also a first time marathoner.
She decided to run this particular race because it is known for being a great beginner’s race. Minnesota has the perfect summer weather for running; the elevation throughout the route isn’t too hilly and the final miles of the race are ran on the main streets so the whole crowd can cheer for all the runners!
Training wise, McGill said, “I super informally made a 16-week plan for myself which isn’t recommended for running your first marathon, but I needed to work around my school, work schedule and life in general.”
Most marathoners have a training plan that is made up of at least 20 weeks, which is around one month more than McGill. However, she had a history of running cross country for Marian which helped her while on her training journey.
McGill was also able to get lots of tips and tricks from her coworkers, who are experienced runners, at Peak Performance, a local running store in Omaha. These tips and tricks included information about nutrition and the overall best and easiest way to train with limited time.
Her training plan consisted of running six days a week with the mileage increasing slightly each week. However, about a month before the marathon, she got COVID, which put a bump in the road for her training schedule. Due to her fatigue from the virus, she had to alter her longest run from 20 miles down to 16.
Despite having COVID, she was able to finish the race. McGill said, “Mentally, the marathon was harder knowing that I was coming off of COVID, and didn’t have the last month of training play out how I hoped.”
She said she is grateful for being able to participate in the marathon and the lessons she learned from the experience to help her run in her future marathons.