From: Marty Gaal [] on behalf of Marty Gaal []
Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:22 PM
Subject: One Step Beyond Coaching Newsletter - October 2012
One Step Beyond
The Next Level Newsletter
 from One Step Beyond Coaching 
Volume IX, Issue X
October, 2012 
This Month
Triangle OW Swim Series
Athlete News
Should I run a Marathon?
OSB Swim Clinics
OSB Masters Swimming
Triangle Open Water Mile Swim Series

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2013 Race schedule:

Coming Soon!

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Dear Marty,

Welcome to the Next Level Newsletter - October 2012,   the Fall running edition! 
Recent OSB Athlete News

  • Sudhir Arya PRs at City of Oaks Half Marathon
  • Kari Mayhew PRs at City of Oaks Half Marathon
  • Jason Galarneau PRs at City of Oaks Half Marathon
  • Paul Savage finishes his first Ironman at IM Florida
  • Kori Gray PRS and 6th OA at Old Reliable 10k
  • Coach Bri wins the Old Reliable 10k
  • Kari Mayhew wins Pinehurst Intl and takes 2nd overall in the NCTS series
  • Coach Bri takes first overall in the TTS series 
  • Kory Gray 5th open/elite in the NCTS series 
  • Julie Worden takes 3rd AG at the American Tobacco trail 10 mile 
  • Peggy Taylor finishes her first half-Iron at Beach 2 Battleship 
  • Brad Davis conquers Beach2Battleship Iron-distance
  • Tori Arens PRs at B2B Half-Iron  
  • Jason Klaitman 2nd AG and PR at B2B Half-Iron  
  • Kathy Larkin finishes B2B Half #3  
  • Marc Primanti finishes his first half at B2B
  • Frank Rexford and Brian Mann score huge PRs at Ironman Augusta 70.3!
  • Tori Arens takes 1st AG Pinehurst Intl Tri 
  • John Worden takes 4th OA Lake Royale Sprint Tri 
  • Erik Johnson takes 2nd AG Lake Royale
Should I Run a Marathon?

This is a question I hear a lot in the off-season. As athletes sit down to figure out what they want to do - and what will keep them motivated in the winter months - should I run a marathon is a common question.


I work primarily with adult triathletes and a handful of pure runners.   As usual, the answer I give depends on the athlete's specific situation. Here are a few of the pros and cons for picking a marathon as a winter or spring seasonal goal event. At the end of the article, I illustrate a few specific situations for you to ponder.



  • Lots of people to train with in most locations
  • Helps develop running endurance
  • Easy to train for during the winter as far as weather conditions go - in most locations
  • Helps you become more fit or maintain lean physique & body composition


  • Chances for injury increase due to higher mileage
  • May limit your top end speed depending on your training approach
  • Your food bill will go up
  • You will have to do some long runs to prepare adequately

For pure runners:

The question is simpler to answer. A) Are you prone to injury? B) Is the marathon your main goal? C) Have you run one before? D) Do you want to be competitive or just finish? If the answer to A is yes, marathon training really is increasing your chance for injury, even if you substitute things like water running and riding for general run endurance training.


But, if your answer to B is yes, then you may feel the training is worth the risk. If the answer to C is yes, then you already know what it feels like and some of the risks associated with it, which means your eyes are open. And the answer to D can help craft the approach - arrive safely at the finish line with minimal risk and a reasonable time, or walk that fine line of higher mileage and aggressive pacing and shoot for the moon.


For triathletes:

The question is a bit more complex. A) Remains the same. B) Are you training for an Ironman? C) Have you run a marathon before? D) Same as above.


If you're a triathlete prone to injury, then whether you're ultimately training for an Ironman or not, marathon training during the winter is not for you. Just stick to lower mileage with a few shorter runs and maybe a half-marathon. Why take the risk that you'll be derailed due to the many running related issues you can run into? When you build up to the Ironman you'll use a lower run / higher bike mileage approach.


If you're a bit sturdier, have never run a marathon, and do want to compete in an Ironman, then a marathon in the spring is not a bad idea. I generally advise my athletes to approach it with the goal of being healthy at both the start and finish lines. Nonetheless there are risks associated with the training, but the mental confidence an athlete can gain from getting a marathon under the belt can be worth the risk.


For short course triathletes that have no intention of racing an Ironman, there's no convincing training reason to run a marathon. You're best off focusing on developing speed and muscular endurance via shorter racing distances. You could do some higher mileage periods, then race a half-marathon at full speed with less chance for hurting yourself.


For both runners and triathletes: If you're carrying extra weight via muscle mass or adipose tissue, high mileage marathon training is going to be very hard on your joints. Adopt a plan that will help you approach a more optimal body composition before you hit the starting line of a marathon. Just my opinion. 


Bottom line: If you really want to run a marathon, find a good training plan for your ability and experience level. If you're just fishing for something to do to stay motivated, give it a few second thoughts.


Marty Gaal, CSCS, owns One Step Beyond with his wife Bri Gaal. He has been coaching adults since 2002. He has been avoiding marathons most of his life but still ran six of them over the years.



OSB Swim Clinics

We offer three different types of swim clinics throughout the year:

Beginner Swim Clinics focus on breathing patterns, comfort, and the key freestyle techniques for swim training & improvement. 3 hours long. Beginner to Early Intermediate level.

Last clinic for 2012 - December 2

Powerstroke Freestyle Technique clinics are 6 hour in-depth classes on swim mechanics and methods for speed and power improvement.  Includes videotaping and feedback.  Early Intermediate to Advanced level.

2013 dates coming soon

Open Water Training clinics are conducted at lakes, oceans, and bays and cover all the tools, tips, and tricks you need to improve your ability and confidence in open water.  3 hours long. All levels.

2013 dates coming soon

Please visit our camp/clinic page to sign up!

One Step Beyond
Masters Swimming  

Masters logo11

Looking for a solid season of swim training in the Triangle area?  Join the TAC-OSB Cary Masters swim team at the Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC) in Cary, North Carolina.  All workouts take place at TAC.

This is a year-round program open to all 18+ athletes.

Practice times are:
Monday 545-715AM distance & aerobic endurance
Monday 800-900PM distance & aerobic endurance
Tuesday 545-700AM core strength and swim technique 
Wednesday 545-700AM mixed stroke  
Wednesday 800-900PM mixed stroke 
Thursday 600-700AM distance and mid-distance

Friday 545-7AM core strength, swim speedwork

Some Saturdays 700-830AM coaches choice 

The fees:
$52.50 per month for all swim workout times, or $6.50 per session.

Click here for all the details.  

One Step Beyond is an endurance coaching business based in Cary, North Carolina.  OSB is co-owner and primary sponsor of the Triangle Open Water Mile Swim Series and Old School Aquathon Series. To unsubscribe from this newsletter, follow the directions below.
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