Muffy Robinson, who played water polo in college at Michigan State and has competed in sprint-distance triathlons the last few years, didn’t think it would be much of a stretch to train for a marathon. But the 29-year-old first-time marathoner from Houston, Texas, is finding that marathon training is a lot more demanding than she thought it would be.
“I really thought this was going to be a piece of cake consider the volume of training I was already completing for my short distance triathlon,” she says. “But I learned very quickly it is a battle of commitment to my training plan and more importantly distance base building. Overall it is going well, but because running has always been my weakest link, it has been a mental battle to push aside biking and swimming and replace them with more running.”
Muffy and her veteran partner, Steve Schnell, are part of the Saucony 26 Strong project, a collaboration between Competitor and Saucony that pairs experienced marathon vets with first-timers (“cadets”) as they both train to achieve their marathon goals. Muffy and Steve are training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon on November 17.
Like any runner in Texas during the summer, Muffy is also fighting against the weather.
“The toughest thing for me is the heat,” she says. “I was really hoping to gain some speed during training, but I’ve had a hard time (going faster” in hot weather training. The second most difficult part was readjusting my goals to be more realistic for San Antonio. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you realize your initial goals were a bit lofty. I’m hoping to be sub 4:30 now.”
As an athlete used to shorter distances, the long run can be intimidating.
“I keep telling Steve I’m scared that I have not gotten high enough in to mileage yet, but he keeps telling me to trust my plan,” she says. “I guess I’ll go with Steve’s advice.”
That advice has been helpful for her in all aspects of marathon training.
“I’ve learned I’m my toughest critic,” she says. “I now realize that even though it’s my own two feet doing the training I could never get through this without my training partners and their encouragement.”
Read more about Muffy, Steve and the rest of the Saucony 26 Strong team at 26strong.com.