I made it a goal in January to focus on a healthier version on me for this year. I picked up running back in October of 2018 and completed my first 5K. After that I did a couple more and signed up for a 10k, and then my first half in April. It was challenging but I did it! I felt so accomplished and proud of myself for running 13.1 miles of rolling hills along the beautiful Mystic coastline. Soon after this, one of my best friends and running buddy, said we should sign up for a full marathon. A full marathon is 26.2 miles to be exact and I thought she was crazy for thinking I could do that. After months of debating I decided to take action and sign up; your girl has either lost her mind or turned extremely confident overnight. I’ve been training for about a month now and have been loving how running is starting to come with ease. I have so much more running stamina than I did last fall and I am anxious and excited to see how the marathon goes in November!
Before you leave this post because you’re thinking I could never do this, I can barely run a mile! Let me tell you that a little over a year ago I was in that same spot. I signed up for a 5k with my friend and immediately regretted the decision after I started training for my three mile race. Running a mile around my neighborhood was actually torture. I couldn’t even run the entire mile, I had to stop and walk at least half of it. I kept at it, and each time it got a little bit better. I could run an entire mile and then walk/run the next mile. By race time I had run 3 miles and yes it was hard but I did it! The same happened when I did the 10k. Each mile got a little bit easier but my body was also getting stronger and stronger. So go find a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon and sign up right now! YOU can do it just like I did! You’ll need a few things to help you along the way that I will share with you, but I’m guessing that’s why you’re here reading this :)
First of all, I have to say I am at quite the advantage when it comes to training because I have an excellent motivational partner; which in my opinion is the first thing you’ll need. By no means is this a make it or break it need BUT it is so helpful to have an accountability partner. I am pretty strong minded when I set my mind to do something but it is always easier for me to run with someone than without. I recommend going a day or two without chatting so when you’re running together for 1+ hours you have a lot to say :)
Another thing you’ll need is good sneakers. This seems like an obvious one but it actually wasn’t to me. I have plenty of sneakers but most were chosen based on how they looked and not how supportive they were for my feet. It was fine for 3-5 mile runs but beyond that I noticed my knees and shins were hurting so badly. I went to Fleet Feet and did the Outfitting Process. It really was so cool! They take all of these measurements and ask lots of questions and then bring out a few pairs of different brands that would be a good fit for your feet. I ended up getting these and they are the most comfortable sneakers I have ever worn! I highly recommend getting there if you’re experiencing any pain while running.
Now that you have your buddy and your sneakers you’re going to need a plan. How many miles will you be running each week? How many days? What about cross training? What is cross training?? Don’t fret, all you need to do know is here. I’m following the Hal Higdon method for training. I can’t take the credit for finding this method as my running partner, Anna, is the one who introduced me to it; see I told you having her was to my advantage! The runs gradually increase and consist of short runs during the week and a long run on the weekend. On the days that I rest I try to get in a long walk or a hike since that’s more manageable in the summer with dogs! I also love to go to spin classes which are great for cross training. It will get your heart rate up and strengthen those leg muscles!
You may want a few other things I will categorize as: running accessories.
Something to measure your distance and pace. There are so many different tools you can use for this. If you’re going to use your phone I think the Runkeeper app is great for tracking mileage and pace. You can use it while listening to music or talking on the phone! If using your phone and training in the summer or warm weather you’ll want an arm band or belt to keep your phone safe. I have this one and like it but I don’t love having my phone on me. I have an Apple watch which I’ve found has been amazing for running because I don’t need to keep my phone on me to track how far I’ve gone or the pace that I’m running.
Something to re-energize. I love these honey stinger chews. They give me a little boost of energy when I’m feeling like I can’t go on anymore. I also have been bringing these teeny water bottles along on my runs. It’s really good to use them for training if you will be using them during a race. I do not recommend trying something new the day of your race because you won’t know how it will affect your stomach!
Something to listen to. I have been loving audible and podcast apps for running. Generally most podcasts are anywhere from 45-80 mins and can occupy your mind so you don’t get bored after a few miles of running. I have been listening to the Rise podcast by Rachel Hollis and I have been LIVING for it! She’s so motivational and inspiring! When I’m feeling confident in my running surroundings I listen to audible. I love a good thriller or mystery so I need to be in a place where I can’t get freaked out too easily. I highly suggest Stillhouse Lake. It was so good! I have so many other good thriller books that I’ve read - let me know if you want them.
I could probably write a few paragraphs about the clothing you should get for hot and cold weather training but I’ll save that for another post. I hope this was helpful and informative if you’re taking the next step to train for a race. Let me know if you sign up for one - maybe I’ll see you there :) Stay healthy! xoxo