If you have been thinking about running a marathon or half marathon, read this interview I did with Gisela. She works out hard with weight training, bodyweight training and endurance training. And, she runs and runs and runs…..and, much more…….

How long have you been a committed exerciser and how did you get started?


For the past 2 years. Even though I exercised before on and off, I had not actually taken it to heart as I do now. It started with the pressure of joining a running group with my cousins, who have all done triathlons. I have always liked running but never ventured anywhere beyond a mere 2/3 mile run, ever.

Once I joined the running group, the question to run either a half or full marathon came up and I was immediately encouraged to run the full. I hesitated but went through the training and was amazed at how capable we all are of doing much more than we think we can when we push our limits. Finishing my first marathon at 4:30 hrs/min without injury has been a proud moment I cherish immensely … And thus my training journey began.

How does exercise improve your quality of life?

Tremendously. It is a chain reaction: It helps me be in control of the way I feel about my body and myself. It makes me feel strong , makes me want to eat better, take better care of myself and helps me be more positive. It empowers me at the physical and emotional level and, therefore, it makes me prepared to face my life everyday in a very positive way at work and at home. And the fact that my 5 year old daughter sees that in me is very rewarding.

What was the first race you ran and did you finish?

I ran several 5Ks and 10ks. But, my first one in training mode and the one I ran straight through was the IBM Uptown, a six mile run.

What was your first marathon or half marathon race and did you finish?

My first 1/2 marathon was the 3M and my first full marathon was the LiveSTRONG. Yes, finished both.

What type of training do you do for a marathon?

Approximately a six month training with Saturdays reserved for long runs. Wednesdays are for sprint, hills, and speed workouts, and the rest of the week alternates between upper and lower body strenghthening.

How does your eating habits change during marathon training?

Interesting how much more in tune I become with every food option I make. I make sure I eat a cleaner diet with quality food. Quality carbs, fruits, protein, and plenty of yogurt for the calcium. During long runs (13 + miles) on Saturdays, I make sure I eat a full meal within 45 minutes of finishing. Plenty of water and quality vitamin supplements.

How do you avoid injuries during marathon training?

By staying in shape and committed to my workouts during the week at the gym and taking the time to stretch and cool down after my workouts is imperative. If not, I will feel it during my long runs and I cannot risk an injury. Therefore, I make sure to make time to cool and stretch, very important to me.

How do you train and eat for the 2 weeks prior to a marathon?

Training at this point is usually tapering. No more long runs in preparation for the marathon. Easy runs and workouts to avoid injury as well. My eating is carefully focused on carbs and keeping myself well hydrated. Getting enough sleep the last week is a must. Definitely going to bed early the day before the race and getting a good night’s sleep the night before. No alcohol (just the week before).

What’s your best time in the half marathon? 1:45 Marathon? 4:30

How long does it take to recover from a marathon?

For me it was approximately two weeks, although the first 3 days were hard since my feet and legs still hurt at that point….no high heels and plenty of water to keep me well hydrated. My diet was very balanced and abundant to make sure I refueled well….plenty of rest and light workouts.

What advice would you give anyone considering a half marathon or marathon race?

More important than knowing you have to be physically ready, prepare yourself mentally. Be mentally strong during your workouts and long runs. Know you are capable of training and running a marathon and believe it. Focus on your own goals and runs, do not compare yourself to other runners. Celebrate your achievements and own them, it is very powerful.

Be committed to your training and enjoy the journey. = )

Thanks for the valuable information Gisela! And congratulations on your achievements thus far! We will follow your training up to your next marathon in February 2013.

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Her Fitness Hut

Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist
Certified Nutrition Coach and Nutrition for Metabolic Health Specialist. Since 2006, I have helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle habit changes that helps you to achieve better long-term health, which includes body transformation and ideal body weight.
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