Meet LIFEAID’s Karly Wilson Who Finished in the 126th Boston Marathon
FITAID: What was the first marathon you ran in, and what motivated you to start running marathons?
My first marathon was in Salt Lake City Utah in 2012. I signed up for that marathon to do something for myself, not for a coach or my family or anyone else. Finishing that race was very empowering and inspired me to sign up for more.
FITAID: To this date, how many marathons have you participated in and do they ever get easier?
So far, I’ve finished 112 marathons total. I don’t know if I can say that they ever get “easier” because each one is different—even if I run the same course over again, it’s still a different race and it could be harder or easier or the same the second time. You just don’t know. It’s all about mindset on the day. You can come in with a terrible mindset and run a terrible race, or you can trust your training and run a great race (even if the time isn’t your best). But definitely, once I started adding CrossFit/strength training in, everything changed so that, even if it isn’t easier, it’s better. I mean, strength training has meant that I haven’t had to do so many grueling miles in preparation and can still run lean and strong and achieve better times than ever (I’m 30+ minutes faster than before CrossFit). Plus, I just don’t get injured like I was before. And it’s given me faster recovery—before adding strength training, it would take me 10 to 12 days to recover from a marathon, but now I can bounce back after a marathon and train just as hard the next day as I would have otherwise. And I feel great doing it.
FITAID: What do you enjoy most about running these marathons?
Running gives me a sense of independence. It’s just me and my body and what I can do. When I first started running, it was because I needed an outlet for things that were going on. I still get that release but I also get a sense of accomplishment and achievement.
FITAID: Can you describe the training process for getting ready to run a marathon? How do you prepare both mentally and physically?
I’m pretty much always in training, so ramping up for a marathon doesn’t change much for me. But I do offer advice to the athletes I coach. To start, if they’re just getting into running, I remind them to meet themselves where they are. No one just steps out the door and completes a marathon. It’s all about the baby steps and going forward one small bit at a time. Training isn’t about pounding out mile after mile—it’s about combining strength training (lifting), plyometrics, and a speed-focused (interval training) running schedule to produce results. I get my athletes to work on building both muscle and running endurance so they can feel confident about being able to finish that many miles. From a mental perspective, mindset can be tough. Some tools and tricks that have worked for me are to think of something I’m grateful for each mile and just take it one at a time. Don’t think about what’s left to do but what you’re doing right in the moment. And when I’ve gotten stuck in a particular mindset, I try to stand outside of it to shift my perspective—like how an upset might be better for letting me add new ways to train or how giving in to a feeling instead of fighting it can actually let me have more success. COVID has taught me a lot about my mental health and focus, which has let me help my athletes more too.
FITAID: While you’re running, what is running through your head?
Everything. It could be what I want to eat later in the day. Solving a problem at work or in my personal life. Things I am grateful for. Right when I finish I forget what I was thinking about it. It's really odd!
FITAID: Any superstitions you have before races?
I have 4 songs I have to listen to. I have to have one of my lucky numbers on my bibs. Or at least the numbers on my bib have to add or subtract to my lucky number.
FITAID: Morning of the Boston Marathon, what did you have for breakfast? Fruits? Bagel? Water? Or perhaps a FITAID ENERGY?
I ate an apple and drank a FITAID Energy Mango Sorbet an hour before. I drink a PARTYAID when I finish!
FITAID: While running, do you have a specific playlist you listen to? If so, who is your go to artist?
I don’t listen to music. I like to hear my footsteps and focus on breath control. Listening to music changes that.
FITAID: What is the next marathon you plan on running?
I’m signed up for the Colfax Marathon in May!
Thinking of training for a marathon? Have you finished a marathon? Tag us on Instagram with your marathon experiences! @FITAID