Marathon Training and Geology, Part 1

How about training for a marathon, hiking the wilderness in Montana, and defending a MS thesis? Only Erin…

This is her take on how she keeps busy all while trying to stay above water.

Many of us have busy and hectic lives, making it difficult to follow a good exercise program, let alone train for an event such as a marathon. My first love in life was and always will be running. I started in middle school and continued through college until I was plagued by a series of injuries, leading me to meet my second love – geology. Six years later, I am entering my third year of graduate school at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff with the ambition to defend my MS thesis by February/March. As a geologist, I have had the pleasure of traveling to many places multiple times a year. Working on an intense undergraduate honors thesis and currently my MS project leads to many challenges for being able to work out, let alone train.

Morning Runs are FUN!
Morning Runs are FUN!

Luckily, I started working with Marc at the end of my first year of graduate school, who caters to my hellish lifestyle of no sleep, constant traveling, injury restrictions, and multiple days (sometimes weeks) in the middle-of-nowhere geology excursions. This past summer I was an AI (associate instructor) for a geology field course in the middle of the Tobacco Root Mountains, MT for 6 weeks. What ensued was a 2-week trip of traveling prior to that all over the Wyoming-Montana area and a 1-week long trip after field camp exploring more of Montana. I had also decided to sign up for the Santa Rosa Marathon earlier that spring. And so began the madness of this summer, training for a marathon while nonstop traveling and doing intense hiking and field days in the mountains for 6 weeks.


I always ended every run with a smile because every completed run out there was a big accomplishment. I am excited and nervous for my marathon coming up on August 24th. I am excited to see what this combination of training will result in – the mixture of hiking, training in Flagstaff at elevation, and low mileage-uphill runs in the mountains. My goals are simply to finish the Santa Rosa marathon next weekend, because for anyone, that is an accomplishment to be proud of!

What training goals are you really proud of?


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