Lincoln marathon novice prepares and adapts

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Adam Mongar will be running in his first full-marathon in Lincoln on May 6th.

By Matt Haron, NewsNetNebraska

It takes a lot of training to run 26.2 miles. UNL freshman Adam Mongar has been training so he can soon say he has accomplished this feat.

Mongar will run his first full-marathon on May 6th as a part of the 35th Annual Lincoln National Guard Marathon and Half-Marathon. He already completed a half-marathon earlier this year.

“When you’re done with something big, like a half-marathon and soon I’ll experience the full-marathon, it’s the feeling you have of accomplishment,” said Mongar.

Ten thousand  runners will compete in both races and Mongar will be among the first-time full-marathoners this year.

Mongar has run competitively since he was in middle school.  Now he’s aiming to complete his next goal and has stepped up his training.

“I’ve been running pretty consistently. I try to get out four or five times a week. Recently I’ve tried to step that up. I have a Nike program that tells me what to run each day, how far I should go and what intensity,” said Mongar.

Fighting through an injury

It hasn’t been easy for Mongar. He was diagnosed with patellar tendinitis in his left knee in late March. The soreness caused him to stop training the way he originally planned and admits this will be a challenge come May 6th.

Adam Mongar has slowly gotten back into running long distances since his knee injury.

“My biggest worry is that my knee will act up again and will start to hurt. I really want to get through this and do my best, but I’ve never gone that far before.”

The longest distance Mongar has ever run is around 16 miles. He believes a 26-mile marathon could be a quite different.

“26 is a big step up from that. I just want to make sure my body can take it and nothing bad will happen.”

Since running recently has been off-and-on for Mongar, he’s had to train differently.  Instead he’s been swimming a mile each week to keep his body in shape.

Physical training

University of Nebraska-Lincoln sophomore Nathan Kavan is president of the UNL Running Club. He has run multiple marathons and says it’s important for runners to keep their entire body hydrated weeks before the marathon.

“The way the body works is it processes it in a 24-hour period so you want to make sure you stay hydrated and keep up with that,” said Kavan.

Lincoln Marathon Co-Director Nancy Sutton says marathon workers will provide runners with water stations along the course, but it’s important for runners to take water with them.

Marsathon experts say it’s important for runners to drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the marathon while they are working out in the heat.

“They should take water, especially if it’s warm; and they should hydrate plenty before they get to the race,” said Sutton.

Full-body strength training and good dieting are also important factors in training.  Once Mongar started competing in half-marathons he says his diet has really changed.

“I’ve really changed my diet since coming to UNL. I have all the food available to have salads and pasta and good stuff like whole grains,” said Mongar.

Kavan says it’s not just the physical part of the race that will take its toll on new runners. The mental strength of runners may be the biggest part.

“You will have points where you feel it’s going amazing, but you have to know that you have to conserve your energy,” he said.

He says if runners don’t save their energy it will make their marathon even tougher.

“It’s 26 miles long and you’ll lose that endorphin high. You have to make sure you have enough mental stamina to get through those low points, or it’s real tough to finish that race,” Kavan said

The course

The full-marathon course will take runners out to Holmes Lake and back to city campus.

The full-marathon course goes by Antelope Park, Holmes Lake and the state capitol. Mongar has studied Lincoln’s course and foresees the long straight parts being some of the most difficult.

“After doing the first half of it, when you go out and back past the botanical gardens that is going to be a killer, because it’s just a straight out and back,” said Mongar.

Mongar says that no matter what happens with his injury he will be competing on May 6th.

“It’s an accomplishment. It’s one of those things that you want to be able to say at the end of your life that you did that because it’s a big deal,” said Mongar.

Mongar hope to get back into weightlifting as soon as his knee feels better so that his body will be in its best possible shape for the race.

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