Marathons Reviews

Marathon Challenge – Update 2

wrote a couple of weeks ago about how I was starting to look for marathons in Europe that might be interesting to run and review and even more interesting to travel to. Using points and miles is really fun for me when I can do something a little different than just taking the single option the award calendar spits out :) . I know, I am strange like that!

Anyway, in a quick overview of my marathon challenge, I had realized the Iceland Marathon was in August and that it was on a day that I would be available. The Challenge part came about because I have not run much at all in the last few weeks given our family’s moving plans, travel, and such. For people that know about training for marathons, optimal training schedules are between 16-18 weeks. It is possible to do it on shorter schedules to be sure, but it always helps to have a solid base in place. In my instance, I really do not have much of a base (the longest distance I ran recently was 27 miles on the treadmill back in May). Please note: if you do not have enough miles under your belt, you can hurt yourself starting from nothing and running a marathon on such a short timetable. I realize the potential is there for that, but given the amount of miles I have before that period and my reasonable goal, I feel I have ruled out the possibility of injuring myself to some extent.

So, once I decided to run the Iceland Marathon, I had 40 days until the race. In that time, I have to ramp up my mileage again and find a way to get to Iceland on the cheap from Greece. The challenge consists of:

  • 40 days of training
  • 40 miles (max) of training per week (to reduce the potential for injury in training)
  • 4:00 hours for the marathon (which is about 30 minutes slower than my PR but is a suitable goal considering my lack of training)
  • Use miles and points to get to Iceland, stay, and get home with as little cash outlay as possible

Race Prep

I had a decent week of training this week. It is hard to prepare for a marathon while trying to keep under the ceiling of 40 miles a week. This time last year, I was averaging 70 miles a week with a couple of weeks around 80+ miles in preparation for St. George. So, mentally, it is more difficult to keep lower miles (although I know many marathoners that do very well with lower mileage). The lower miles have been working well for me since I have been very busy here and the days are very hot (and humid)! A couple of hours in the heat of the day and I feel wiped out and do not feel like running at all after that!

Week 2

  • Tuesday – cross-training workouts (really highlight how out of shape I am right now!)
  • Wednesday – 10.5 miles @ 8:17 pace (along the boardwalk and the very busy roads – VERY hot!)
  • Thursday – 6.5 miles @ 8:00 pace
  • Friday – cross-training workout
  • Saturday – 17 miles @ 8:31 pace (did it at the gym with no air – inside temp was 104 degrees and humid!)
  • Sunday – 4 miles @ 8:45 (recovery)
  • Total – 38 miles @ 8:24

It was a fairly decent training week. The long run was exceptionally difficult because of the humid indoor conditions. I am going to try to mix it up a bit for this week’s long run. Even though I do not like running in the heat and humidity, I keep reminding myself that this is good for body because of the cooler conditions I will have on race day – at least it helps me while I am running!

Travel Prep

I finally booked my last flight this week! Two days after I booked it, something that I rarely see happen (with my reservations) happened – the price dropped as the travel date got closer! Fortunately it wasn’t too much, but it was not something that made me feel good (I know, what was I doing checking the ticket price after I purchased it!). So, now my travels are set – hotel (can’t wait to write about the deal I got with this!), flights (3 separate tickets flying 3 separate airlines using multiple forms of award currency), and car rental. The last thing I did was to register for the race – now there is no backing out! I wish my wife was going with me, but I need to be back the morning after the race so that has me flying short flights through the night and that is not something my wife is fond of at all (especially since I am flying coach!)!

Only three weeks from Saturday! I am looking forward to it and looking forward to seeing how great this race actually is and how you can get there for free next year!

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.