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In this podcast episode Angie interrogates me about my training for the Little Rock Half Marathon.
Many of you know that I am a new runner. The furthest I have ever run is 10 miles, reluctantly.
I am taking on the half marathon challenge to prove to myself that I have what it takes. And because I think it will be a cool thing to brag about to my co-workers.
Here are my startling revelations from the first six weeks of my training
Lessons Learned So Far…
How to Run When You Hate Running
For most of my life I loathed running. This disdain stemmed from being handed “laps” as punishment from coaches and PE teachers. In fact, I was so scared of running that I would run away from it as fast as I could. Then I met Angie. She inspired me to eat well, exercise, and run. Now I am proving to myself that I can learn to love what I once loathed. Running is truly addicting.
When you first start running it can be painful and difficult. There is a “learning curve” that you have to master before you start reaping the benefits. I’ve said before that getting to the place where you can run for 3 miles comfortably can be a huge battle. For me those first 3 miles are a test of my body and will.
Don’t Be Too Cheap to Buy Good Running Shoes
In the beginning I tried to get by on an old pair of cross-trainers. I knew my shoes were insufficient but I was too lazy to buy new ones. This is like a guy who has a flat tire but is too lazy to change it. Consequently, I suffered piercing knee pain.
Don’t just wear your old tennis shoes or cross-trainers and don’t pull some old shoes out of the back of your closet. Fewer than 50% of runners are wearing the right shoes for their feet and gait. Go to a specialty running store to have your foot and gait evaluated. Make sure you replace your shoes every 400-500 miles. The investment in quality running shoes will save you money and time in the long run.
Breakthrough Discovery: I’m Too Lazy to Run in the Early Morning
The only thing I look forward to in the morning is drinking coffee. I hate getting up early to exercise! I get my best sleep in the early morning hours between 5:00-7:00 A.M. Angie gets in her run before I’m even out of bed. If the sun doesn’t even bother to get up that early why should I?
Running and exercise can easily be the first thing to get pushed out of our schedules when we get busy. Getting out of bed is half the battle, getting out the door another 25%, and then the run takes care of itself. The bottom line is to know yourself. Find a time to run that works for you and stick with it.
Purge Your Bowels Before Running
Running is a lot harder when you are trying to fight back the call of nature. I have learned to not eat anything two hours before my run. Now I understand why there are so many port-o-potties at the marathon starting line.
These are all lessons that are best not learned the hard way. Finding the balance of proper pre-run fueling verses dealing with gastrointestinal problems like nausea and diarrhea can be difficult. Take a conservative approach when you first start running. You can begin to experiment later if you don’t experience GI problems.
Don’t Be Too Lazy to Bring Water
Yes I know. Right now you’re thinking, “What kinduva guy is too lazy to bring water on his run?” Well it is a lot of work to find your water bottle, walk to the sink, unscrew the lid. . .
Proper hydration is one key to having a great run. Even being dehydrated by 2% of your body weight can decrease your running performance by 6% and also slow recovery. Running without the proper amount of fluids in hot weather can lead to heat stroke and possibly death. Get in the habit of drinking water or a sports drink every mile and you will be prepared for your marathon.
Step Into My Warrior©
These four words popped into my head while I was out on a freezing cold long run. You may notice this manta is protected. A good mantra is hard to find and nothing rolls off the tongue better than, “Step into My Warrior!” I can see that on the back of a t-shirt some day.
The power of a mantra! It’s so important to have positive self-talk going through your head while you run. Learn to recognize negative thinking patterns and get rid of them. Replace negativity with positive thoughts. You can borrow a mantra that resonates with you or make your own up. In fact, your mantra may change depending on the situation (races vs. long training runs). For years I’ve used “I am light, I am fast, I am strong” but at my second marathon when I was going for a PR I used “leave it all here.”
I Feel Fantastic After a Run
It is hard for non-runners (NRs) to understand how refreshing it feels to run for an hour. I never would have believed it myself. You just have to experience it personally. I don’t know where endorphins come from but I hope they never become illegal.
Running is one of those activities that stimulates every part of your being- mind, body, and soul. Research says that running is one of the best cures for depression. It can help stimulate new brain cell growth, increase mental alertness, and release endorphins (the feel good chemicals). It seems counterintuitive, but running can actually give you more energy.
I am still looking for the book “How to Run a Marathon In 3 Easy Steps.” Unfortunately it is not that easy. Training for a half marathon takes time, patience, endurance, and positive thinking. That’s why it is life changing.