Marathon Training with CF
By Megan Maurer
I have had a steady exercise routine on and off since high school. For me, working out on machines has always been difficult—my mind wanders and the monotonous movement leaves me bored. I gain motivation by doing activities that I love. Things that I have enjoyed over the years include yoga, hiking, running, and at one point, even rock climbing. However, as I have aged and my lung function simultaneously declined, cardio has become difficult.
After starting Trikafta, I saw noticeable changes. Where once one of the few things I could tolerate was lifting weights, I now can do more strenuous activities. It has become easier to breathe when I get my heart rate up and, as a result, I have seen increased endurance and energy over time. It’s been a night-and-day difference.
Once I realized I could more easily tolerate cardio, I wanted to set some big fitness goals. The goal I originally set was to run a 5K (3.1 miles). I downloaded the C25K marathon training app and took it slowly. At first, I didn’t enjoy my runs, but as I progressed, I started feeling accomplished after each run. I experienced the “runner's high”. I’ll admit, there were weeks where transitioning to longer runs took extra training, but within a few months, I had reached my goal of running 5K!
Next, I set larger goals for myself. I wanted to keep growing and developing this habit of exercise. I took on the challenge of running a 10K (6.2 miles). I am currently working on this goal and each of my runs is about four miles long. Every week I push myself to train longer and longer, progressing in both speed and distance. In time, I want to work toward running a half marathon (13.1 miles), with the eventual goal of running a full marathon (26.2 miles). Signing up for virtual races keeps me on track with goals to meet.
Even though I am running longer each week, my motivation and ability can vary. There are days where I really struggle and days where I need to listen to my body. I need to remind myself I am not going to set a personal record every run, but consistency is the key in the end. I know I am taking on a big goal that most people would find difficult.
When starting a fitness routine, start small. You don’t want to overexert yourself during your first workout. Make sure to listen to your body as your routine grows. Find something you enjoy—take a walk or start a yoga practice at home. Finally, and most importantly, don’t compare your progress to others. Everyone is at different stages of fitness; compete with yourself instead. Work towards beating a previous fitness goal you have set.
On CFTR modulators we are relearning our bodies. You may find that your tolerance for exercise has changed. Whether on a CFTR modulator or not, making goals gives you something to work toward. Your motivation may vary from day to day. Find ways that help YOU stay motivated to exercise. Most importantly, as with every fitness program listen to your body!
About the Author: Megan Maurer lives in Utah with her partner Adam. She is a dog mom of two and enjoys fitness. Her favorite activities are hiking, yoga, and running. She writes about living with multiple chronic illnesses on her Instagram @sweetstarfire. Megan loves reading and watching Netflix in her spare time. Her days consist of taking care of her health with multiple treatments, frequent doctor appointments, and staying active.