Monday, September 24, 2012

Baby We Were Born to Run

If somebody told 18-year-old me that one day I'd enjoy running in races I'd laugh. I'd laugh hard... right in their face. My dad has always been a runner (he's even completed the NYC full marathon), but I never really understood the appeal... Until recently.

I've tried lots of ways of working out - Spin classes, pilates, gym memberships, boot camps - you name it and I've probably attempted it. After all that effort (and mucho dinero) I've finally found something that I actually love: running outside. And the best part? IT'S FREE! Well, sort of.

My favorite part about running happens to be the races that I've signed up for. They're the secret to make me actually WANT to work out. In high school, you practiced hard in sports because you wanted to be good enough to start in the games. I needed a kick in the butt... a reason to want to workout. These 'races' have become my 'games.' I enjoy running in races so much that they force me to get off the couch after a long day of work and run 5 miles at 8pm.

Now running isn't for everyone, but if you've ever even kinda sorta contemplated attempting a race you should go for it. Whether it's a 5K or a full marathon, there's always training programs available online to help get you in shape at any level. Plus, what's the worst that can happen? You walk a bit, so what! Let's be serious, not everyone (including myself) runs to compete.

The training program I've been using is by famous American writer and runner, Hal Higdon. I've used two of his half marathon programs (Novice 1 and Novice 2) and they're extremely doable and helpful. Mr. Higdon also has a great 'beginners running guide' for those who are just starting out. The man definitely knows what he's talking about.

Here's the Novice 1 program courtesy of
So, if you've signed up for a race, here are a few things to keep in mind when you're running on race day:

  1. When you see a hill, don't think too much about it. Remember, everything that goes up must come down!
  2. Figure out how you're going to deal with water stations beforehand... believe it or not, it's pretty difficult to try and run while holding a cup. I've learned that, personally, I waste less time if I stop quickly and drink, instead of running and drinking... then spilling all over myself like a fool daddy. 
  3. Keep telling yourself 'I think I can, I think I can.' The feeling of accomplishment that hits you once you cross the finish line totally makes up for that numbness in your legs ;) 
Next up for me is the Philly Half Marathon. Need to keep moving to get in shape for next June (257 days to go!)... 

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