Finishing the grueling 26.2 miles of a marathon is one of running's biggest achievements. To finish, a runner has to train for months to be at their best for the race.
Today, many people are turning to training routines and regimens they find online. But Carol Frazey, founder of Fit School, Inc. in Bellingham, is making online training regimens more personal for women who want to run a marathon.
Frazey, 44, has led 12 women through five months of her six month training via the internet. The program, based on "26.2 Lessons: Helping You Keep Pace with the Marathon of Life", a book she co-authored, will conclude with the Austin Marathon on Feb. 16, in Austin, Texas.
"I do classes in Bellingham leading women from walking to running in six weeks," Frazey said in a phone interview of her inspiration for the program. "Some of the women wanted more, but they didn't know how to go about training for a race. ... I wanted to develop a program to get them to change their nutrition habits and have a goal at the end. I've done the program myself, but this is the first time doing it online."
Frazey's program takes the women through small incremental changes in their diets and training, to get them eating healthier and in shape for the marathon at the end of their training. Each week she does a "teleseminar" over the phone with the group of women, talking to them about healthy eating, what running gear to wear, or how to train better over the next week.
"It's a variety of women, all shapes and levels of running," she said. "(At the end of the teleconference) they share their experiences. Having them share their knowledge and experiences is helping."
The hardest part of the program for Frazey's participants so far has been the lonely long runs, she said. As the women get to longer distances, up to 15 miles sometimes, it can be hard to stay motivated running alone.
"Next time I might have local people in the program meet up (for the long runs)," Frazey said. "Then they can know each other's paces because a marathon is hard to do alone."
Cami Ostman, who co-authored "26.2 Lessons" with Frazey, is one of the women participating in Frazey's training program. Though Ostman has done about 25 marathons, she has enjoyed having the online community of women training together.
"For me, training is fine because I have a regular habit of training, but other people say the long run is the hardest part," Ostman said in a phone interview. "There is a great amount of accountability, people have been very encouraging."
Ostman said the group's facebook page has been helpful for everyone in the program, as they can communicate their difficulties and successes on days they don't have teleseminars.
Ostman's goal is to run a 4 hour, 30 minute marathon, because she has been running at about the 5-hour mark in her previous marathons. She thinks Frazey's program is the boost she needs to get out of her 5-hour norm.
"Carol is brilliant with supporting women and developing a positive mindset," Ostman said. "She gives me pointers in such a positive way that I really feel like she is improving me."
At the Austin Marathon, all the women will meet face-to-face for the first time. Then their six-month training endeavor will be over once they have achieved their goal from the beginning: finishing the race.
Reach Alex Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 360-715-2285.