So You Want to Run a Marathon?

Q + A w/ Team Full Ride’s Two-Time Marathoners

With the Boston Marathon last Monday and Rock N Roll Marathon just around the corner, marathon season is in FULL swing. While the idea of clocking in the 26.2 might seem like an impossible feat to many, your Full Ride fam is made up of not only one, but two, two-time marathoners. This week, we caught up with Shawna and Oksana to get the lowdown on what inspired them to lace up their sneakers and hit the pavement.

Q. How did you get into running?


Shawna: I got into running in high school track-- I did the 3,000 meter race. It was SO hard and I loved the distance aspect of the race but not so much the speed. Then I tried cross country and fell IN LOVE. I had the speed from training in track but the distance is what truly challenged me and what I had a passion for.

Oksana: I got into running during my senior year of college. I was a dancer (mainly ballet + contemporary) growing up and honestly hated the thought of any form of cardio besides dance. But after signing up for a half I started running in hopes of finishing a half marathon without passing out, and after loving it so much, I haven’t stopped since.

Q. Did you always know you wanted to run a marathon?


Shawna: I knew I wanted to try it! I honestly signed up and knew because I paid the money I was in, I was determined to make something out of it.

Oksana: Not at all! Like I mentioned earlier, originally started with a few half marathons, but after my 3rd I was hooked. I knew I wanted to challenge myself to a longer distance so I went for it!

Q. What was the first marathon you ran?


Shawna: The Eugene Marathon in Eugene, Oregon in 2013!

Oksana: The Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach, California in 2018!

Q. How many races have you run?


Shawna: I have done 2 full marathons and 3 half marathons. I ran the Boston Marathon in 2014-- I qualified the year of the bombing and KNEW I had to show up the next year for support. Support for the victims, their families, and the city of Boston. #BostonStrong

Oksana: As of today, I’ve run 5 half marathons, and 2 full marathons (and I will also be running the full Rock N Roll Marathon that’s taking place in Nashville this Saturday!).

Q. What was your training process like?


Shawna: I did nothing formal. You don't need anything formal. I would run a short run in the beginning of the week (3-4 miles) and medium run in the middle of the week (5-6 miles) and a long run on the weekends (10-12 miles) -- I gradually increased the lengths over the course of about 5 months and VOILA.

Oksana: It was a combo of gaining physical and mental strength! I quickly came to learn that the mental component of running is half the battle. When I first started (with half marathons), I downloaded a 12 week half-marathon training plan off of Google and started following it running 3ish times a week just to get in the cadence of doing a few cardio sessions during the week. I made sure to incorporate long runs on the weekend, in order to build up endurance.

Q. Did you cross train?


Shawna: YES. Absolutely. I feel this is the most important part. Even body weight cross-training is perfect. Squats, lunges, push-ups. I feel if you feel strong all over you perform better. I ran a lot of hills just to increase my stamina.

Oksana: 100%! After racking up many miles, it’s nice to switch up a workout with cross-training. Strength workouts are wonderful to complement any training plan — squats, burpees, lunges, pushups, you name it. Also I personally have loved adding Full Ride classes into my training plans (it’s nice to give your knees a break sometimes!). In addition, I love adding in some yoga and stretching sessions to stay loose!

Q. How did it feel crossing that finish line?


Shawna: I cried when I crossed the finish line-- mainly in Boston. I showed up for everyone that day. I was so PROUD to be there and to cross the finish line with all my limbs and my heart beating. That's more than some could say.

Oksana: Unreal. Words can’t really describe how I’ve felt after both my marathons. Each was a very unique experience. My first full was magical. I’d never run that far in my entire life, and it was so neat being able to see what my body was capable of. I hit the wall HARD in mile 20, so it took a lot of mental strength to keep my legs moving. My second full was so much fun! Someone never hit that wall and instead felt beyond energized and managed to PR with a 3:37:10. Still haven’t been able to BQ yet, but hopefully one day :)

Q. Any tips + tricks for us non-runners?!


Shawna: Just try it. It's freeing. Your body feels amazing after a run. Endorphins help your mental health unlike anything. I truly believe movement is the BEST medicine

Oksana: Get out and run! So many people say “oh I’m not a runner”, but in my opinion… anyone with legs and a good pair of shoes is a RUNNER! Getting started is the hardest part, but you’ll come to find that there’s nothing quite like that feeling of a runner’s high. And on the note of shoes, make sure you get a pair that support and protect your feet. Lots of running shops will do a gait analysis or take a look at your arches/feet to ensure that you’re wearing the proper footwear to keep you injury free. At first I used to think it was silly to go through all the ‘non-sense’ just to buy a pair of shoes, but it’s actually so important and so worth it!

Thinking of running a full or a half any time soon? Let us know! To get in the marathon spirit, join us this Saturday, April 27 at 7:45 am for our own Full Ride Marathon made up of 75 minutes of killer choreography to get your muscles sculpted + worked. $30 drop-in, $15 for any unlimited member.

Kenzie Todd