USA Today published a list of 10 warm-weather winter marathons, and reading the article got me thinking about how running a marathon makes a great excuse to travel. My friend went to Paris because she chose the Paris Marathon on a whim, and the Honolulu Marathon has been whispering my name for a few winters now.
I’ve considered training for a “vacation marathon” before; I figure the training will keep me in shape through the Alaskan winter, and I’ll get to visit someplace warm and maybe actually feel somewhat attractive in a bikini (running a minimum of 30 miles a week helps the bikini bod).
But there are a few potential problems to consider before you start busting out your Sunday long runs. For me, the biggest problem is training in cold weather and trying to race in warm weather. I don’t know the science of it, but what I do know is that in the past few years I’ve started overheating whenever I go for a run at my parents’ home in Seattle. Seattle. I can’t imagine how my body would respond to the heat of the tropics or the desert.
My other problem involves training in Alaska. Sometimes the weather here in Seward just plain sucks. The mere thought of having to put in a 15-mile run at any time during last week’s freezing rain downpour is enough to keep me safely tucked in my cozy bed with my laptop and some Sex and the City DVDs.
Of course, surviving winter up here generally requires you to force yourself to exercise, so the goal of a vacation marathon has the double result of keeping you in shape while rewarding you with a warm vacation. Unfortunately, I didn’t get myself motivated early enough and at this point I’m not sure I could start a hardcore training regime. So for me this year, it looks like a 5-miler in Florida over Christmas vacation and a lot of step-aerobics at the gym.
Maybe I’ll run that marathon next winter.