Did I really just announce to all of you that I will run a marathon in March? Ugh…documentaries…you know?
It has been awesome to hear the response from all of you about my decision to run this stupid distance…er…I mean…marathon. Really, your encouragement has meant a lot to me. It already seems a bit daunting but since I have already announced to all of you my reasons for doing so…there is no backing out.
One thing that has been interesting has been to see how many of you are thinking about getting back into running as well. All different ages and experiences…you go!
Because some of you might join me on this crazy journey, I thought I would start my first running post out with some thoughts about training for this distance. I have run 2 half marathons and learned a lot from the preparation and running of them both.
My first half marathon was in Disneyland. The night before the race, my wife and I attended a wedding in Arizona. We had already made plans to run but the wedding was short notice so we decided to do both. The wedding was great and at the reception…there was an open bar and some dudes were having a cigar. Ugh. Of course, I partook with a beer…well…two…and had the cigar. I know…not great race prep…but it was a great cigar! (don’t worry…I can definitively say that I still love Jesus after having beer and a cigar)
We arrived in Southern California at midnight the night before the race and did not get to sleep in our hotel room until 2am. Alarm goes off at 4:30am and I hated life. I put on the shoes I had been training in and a cotton shirt and gym shorts. All bad ideas. I finished the race in 2:28 and I had sweat so much that my shoes were making a “squish” noise when I walked and I looked as if I had stood in the shower for ten minutes. Gross. But, I finished.
The second half was in Sacramento. The night before, we met with friends over a pasta dinner…no beer…and went back to our hotel room which was a five minute drive from the race site. Drank a Gatorade and ate a banana…and fell asleep at 10pm. I woke up ready and alive. I put on my new shoes, (I had broken them in for 2 weeks) my actual running shorts and a running shirt from Nike. I finished the race at 1:58 and felt amazing afterwards. I was tired…but not soaked.
You learn things along the way that help you feel more comfortable out there and I hope you learn a little along our journey together through this blog. Below as promised are a few things to consider when beginning your training for any sort of distance.
1. Your weight. You may be thinking…I want to run to take off some of this weight…and it will work. But, if you have some more serious weight issues…its best if you focus on losing some weight first and leave yourself time to train after. Imagine carrying a 40lb bag of dog food around while running…think your joints will love you? Get your body used to moving by taking long walks (longer than 30 minutes) and reduce your calories. Your body will thank you.
2. Make a plan. Don’t just go out there and run for 30 minutes…out of breath and hurting. Do a walk run. Four minutes of jogging and two minutes of walking. Do this for thirty minutes 4 times a week (for two weeks) and see how you feel. Find a running plan online and try to stick to it.
3. Avoid injury. Make sure you are stretching before and after your run. Keep a pace that would allow you to talk…no matter how slow. Don’t push yourself too hard the first month or you will get hurt. My wife hurt her knee training for our 2nd half and she stayed away from running for one week with ice on the knee every night. When she returned, she ran at a much slower pace and kept up the ice packs when we finished. After three weeks…she felt much better and avoided serious injury.
4. Get the right equipment. When running 2-4 miles, you can get away with wearing cotton clothing and older shoes. But…when you start to seriously train…you need actual running shoes…not just Nike’s. If your knees are hurting you when you run…go to a running store and ask them to evaluate what kind of shoe you really need. You will eventually want some good shorts and shirts as well to avoid chaffing.
5. Know your heart. It may surprise you, but jogging for under thirty minutes does very little to help your cardio endurance. The heart has not had to settle into a rhythm and really get worked like a muscle needs. Anything under thirty minutes and you are working your muscles, burning calories and teaching your body to run…which are all necessary things…but that’s about it. At first…training for 30 minutes is great because it allows your body to get used to the pounding…but once you’re less sore…its time to get in the longer runs.
Blessings and have great runs!