test-Rain, Snow, Flood... Marathon Training in Fargo Proves Challenging!
Exercise & Fitness
Rain, Snow, Flood... Marathon Training in Fargo Proves Challenging!
Ben H. • April 25, 2013

We’re now less than a month away from the Fargo Marathon (May 18th), but Mother Nature doesn’t seem to care. Last week Fargo received enough snow to make April the snowiest month of the winter. Yes, April is apparently now a winter month here in Fargo, ND.

It’s also flood season. So as flurries once again greeted me on my morning commute to work yesterday, I also passed by a convoy of semi trailers hauling sandbags, signaling the beginning of our annual fight to keep the Red River from inundating our city.

So to recap what Team Swanson marathon runners are up against as they continue to train for next month’s Fargo Marathon...

  • Record-breaking “spring” snow storms
  • Record-breaking low temperatures
  • Potentially record-breaking spring flooding (although we’re now told it won’t be as bad as originally feared, so that’s positive!)
  • Closed roads and/or slick, muddy roads due to the semis hauling sandbags... and some leftover icy patches thanks to never-ending winter
  • An unknown final course route for the big race

Despite the challenges, Team Swanson is toughing it out and making adjustments to their training as needed. Let’s take a look at their updates for the past week...


Nathan—Half Marathon Runner

Bring on the warmer weather (relatively speaking of course)! Last Saturday I did my long run outside, my first outside run of the year, and now I want to do every run out there. My legs felt great during my 9.5 mile run and I was able to get a good gauge on where my average pace is at this point in my training plan. 

To improve that pace I am going to focus a little more on my speed workouts over the course of the next week and a half. For my speed workout each week I’m trying to do it at my goal marathon pace, and last week went surprising well. I’m hoping that focusing more on my speed now will teach my body what speed I want it to race. 

With the race just a few days over three weeks away, it’ll be here before we know it. Right now I have two more weeks of building in my training plan before I begin to taper for the race day. But as the race gets closer I will listen closely to my body and adjust my training accordingly to ensure I’m ready for race day.


Kurt—Half Marathon Runner

I’ve added some cycling to my routine to work some different muscles and give some of my joints a break. I traded my 3.5 mile Monday run for an 8 mile cycling session. With the weather warming up this weekend, I’m getting my bike tuned up for a long outdoor ride on Saturday...before it snows again on Sunday. In addition, I’m adding two 15 minute core workouts—conducted by the trainer in our on-site gym here at SHP—twice a week to supplement my training. I’m also purchasing a balance ball for work, which I’ll occasionally switch out with my usual office chair. I’m hoping this helps me build some core strength and help with my posture.

That’s about it. Oh, and I pushed my Saturday run an extra mile (8m) to make up for the cocktails I had on Friday night. Duffy’s was especially cruel to me.


Chris—Half Marathon Runner

I did 2 training sessions again this week. Thursday was 4 miles speed training using Fartleks. The weather was horrible (24 degrees with winds out of the NNW at 25mph and 69% humidity)—welcome to spring training. I’d rather run in the middle of winter. Saturday was 11 miles--the weather finally worked out but there is a lot of ice out there (28 degrees, 2mph winds from the north, 63% humidity). 

Half an hour before I started my run, I had a couple FRS energy chews (because I didn’t eat breakfast) and “Sticked” my calves. Very comfortable run – not once did I feel a pull in my ankle during the entire route. About mile 8 I started to get super hungry and had another energy chew, plus I was carrying a bottle of water with a Nuun tablet in it that I took a sip from about every 2 miles. 

When I got back, I walked a couple blocks to cool down and ate a banana and had some carbs since I was smelling ammonia pretty vividly (lack of carbs). My Garmin tracked 1384 calories burned for this run.  The biggest thing I noticed about this run was I didn’t really get sore. The next day I actually felt better than the day I ran. I’m not sure what I changed that would have caused this, but I like it!


Rachel—Relay Runner

Last week's training went really well! I did circuit training three days and managed to do two five mile runs. My first five-miler was outside and got pretty dicey, as my route took me through some un-plowed territory. Got soaked half-way up my calves. Stupid snow.

My second five-miler was on the treadmill where I again did an interval run to continue to improve my speed. I'm feeling pretty good about my progress and just need to stay un-hurt (knock on wood) until marathon day! I haven't been taking any additional supplements, nor have I changed my eating habits during this training season. My only thing is that I try to eat at least two hours before I work out and to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day.


Kaitlin—Relay Runner

Last week my thigh felt well enough to start running again! I was shocked to find I could still do 3 (slow) miles. I’m trying not to push my legs too hard because I want to avoid any further setbacks with the marathon creeping up on us! So I only run every other day and continue to run on the treadmill until it’s nicer out. I’m one of those weird people who actually enjoys running on treadmills. There is nicer weather on the horizon and I’m hopeful next week I can try my first run to work and run home from work day! Thankfully we have showers here, otherwise my coworkers would NOT thank me!

I continue to do my Tuesday and Thursday morning training sessions with our Swanson trainer and I think that’s what has kept me in decent enough shape to not fall below the 3 mile mark! I had company this past week and I felt bad making them eat my boring, healthy meals so this week should be better for my diet; loaded with fish, avocados, and protein to ensure I don’t lose weight! I continue to supplement with my daily multivitamin. However, I would like to pose the question: What are active women taking for their joints? Mine are a bit touchy the day after a run.


Lisa—Relay Runner

This past week started out great--I got in two runs, a strength training class and then played in a soccer game, all before Friday. It seemed like I was on track to meet my goal of three runs. Then the weekend showed up and my evenings were filled with a family get-together and a friend’s birthday. I always plan on waking up early and getting a workout in before the day starts, but I am not a morning person.  It’s hard for me to get the motivation to work out at the crack of dawn. 

Question: How do you get yourself motivated in the mornings?



Scott—Relay Runner

The past week got me out of what little routine I had started. The weekend was again terrible for doing anything outside. And work took me out of town two days this week, so I missed one session of training and didn’t get out and do any running on my own. I could’ve run at least one of those days but finding the motivation was tough!

I’m back on schedule though and the next couple of weeks I should start buckling down. The weather is finally becoming spring-like, so I’m hoping to get my first outside run in this weekend. I’m still confident in getting my 6.75 miles in without issue during the race, but with about three weeks left, I’d like to get up to 5+ miles by this time next week.