Wednesday, August 18, 2021

5 Things I've Learned During My 1/2 Marathon Training

For the last few weeks I've been running at least 3 days a week. This isn't something huge, except that I haven't really been a "runner" for about 7 years. And here is my little story (thus far) and what I've learned about being a runner (this time around).

It all began at church one Sunday when a man spoke about getting a "team" together to run the Kansas City 1/2 Marathon to raise money for the World Vision's clean water initiative. Normally, I would have tuned out or given $$ and forgotten the invitation. But as I listened, I heard this horrifying statistic: nearly 1,000 children under age 5 die every day from disease caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and improper hygiene. I thought of my Quinn who just turned 6 and Carter who is 10 and felt a sense of relief that I never even had to think about where to find clean water...what a privilege that is.  And then, to my own shock, signing up for the 1/2 marathon. It was as though I forgot what training for something like that entails. I also seemed to forget that I was still nursing tendonitis in my left Achilles.

So here I am, weeks later, running several days a week with a currently long run on the weekends a bit over 7.5 miles, with a hurt Achilles tendon and teaching 1-3 classes a day know...for my job. 

This is what I've learned and how I am going to be able to finish this race and probably all other future races without further injury and with that bright knowledge that I'm doing something hard so that some don't have to do something harder every day to get clean water. 

1. It's okay to go slow: WHAT?! I used to be so fast! I would pick people (unbeknownst to them) to pass or race during by runs and have a super competitive nature about needing to "beat the girl in the blue tank" or "pass the man with the short shorts" or "place in my age group". But now, it's okay to slow it down. Listening to one's body is sooooo important when running. So slow it doesn't always have to be a competition. I can celebrate other's achievements, even when they are faster than me. (And yes...that's a very hard pill to swallow...but I'm working on it.)

2. It's okay to walk. Double WHAT!? Walk in a race or during training? Yes...that's right. I've been running 5 minutes and walking 1 for all of my training (save a few days of shorter runs) and I think it is saving my knees, feet and not doing any more damage to my Achilles. It's a miracle. 

    You know why it's a good reason to incorporate walking into your long runs and races? Well let me tell you. When you walk, your breathing becomes deeper as you aren't exerting so much energy. That means that more oxygen can get to those tired muscles to give them a bit of recovery before they have to work hard again.  Some long distance runners even find that they are able to increase their overall race pace using this method and more and more running coaches are beginning to use the run/walk method with their clients to prevent injury and improve race outcomes. Pretty neat, eh? 

3. It's okay for people to see you walk on your runs. This was a big one for me...I have been humbled in during my training. I once thought that it didn't even count as a run if you walked part of it. No more. And also, who cares what other people think about my run. It's none of their business as I get my run on. 

4. Stretching is a thing. I know, I know. As a fitness professional, I know that stretching is a thing. This thing is, though, that I don't stretch often and I never stretched after a run years ago. But now, I'm 40, I have injuries, I don't recover as fast as I used to and stretching, rolling, massage gunning is imperative now. Sometimes, I do a little 7 minute post-run stretch by Adriene (yep, the Adriene from Yoga with Adriene)

5. Good running shoes are a must. This is nothing new and I went to get fitted at a running store the Monday after I signed up for the run because this wasn't something negotiable. 

I still have two months to go, but I thought I'd share my humbling first lessons. 

If you are interested in sponsoring me, click here for the info...clean water is just how life is for us here, but it's a struggle between life and death other places...let's be a part of the solution together!

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