Monday, December 20, 2010

The Start of Training for my 1/2 Marathon

I've been training for the AAR 1/2 marathon for about 3 years now. This is my year! The last 2 years were slightly interrupted because, well... we had a few surprise pregnancies... So anyways. I officially started my training program on November 1st. We don't have much money, so I don't have the convenience of technology of mapping out distances and keeping track of my pace, but I'll share what I've done to work around that.

I had been running on the treadmill at the gym and I was at about 3 miles and my pace was just under 10 minutes per mile so I figured that I would train by time and not miles, since I didn't have the equipment to track my mileage.
On my calendar I wrote down how many minutes I was going to run for. My first week was 30 minutes, and then I would add 10 minutes every week. The week of Thanksgiving was 60 minutes and I kept it 60 minutes the week after due to the holiday and company in town. Last week I reached 80 minutes (about 8 miles!) I have 6 weeks left until my race (Saturday, January 29th)

Help along the way

Some things that have helped me along the way so far in my training is to:
1. Choose a Race or a Date to complete your goal
Experts recommend giving yourself 4 months to train, so try to make your goal 4 months out from when you start. I gave myself 3 months, but I had some mileage under my belt when I officially made up my mind to train for my 1/2 marathon.
Make sure the race fits your schedule! Don't just close your eyes and let your finger land on a race and pick that. For me, I will only run on Saturdays, because it's important for me to keep Sunday open for church and family.
Location and Time is important to consider. Some races have a very early start time and if you live pretty far from the race, you need to consider traveling time, checking in, and time to warm up. Races are supposed to be for fun, and don't do one that you know will just stress you out and not let you enjoy or do your personal best.

2. Plan out your workouts and Write it Down.
For me, this was getting my calendar out, writing down the minutes I would run each week, and really considering what would work for me. (Taking in holidays, guests in town, or busy schedule)

3. Go out driving
My car is what I used to track some good running routes. Even though I am counting my workouts by minutes, I didn't want to go exploring and get lost or do a distance that was impossible for me to finish. So I drove around some areas to get an idea of what the mileage is. There is also a website that runners contribute to called, "" where you could look up running routes in your area that you could follow. I think this site has more to offer too.

4. Equipment
Shoes! Let's start with shoes. I do recommend going to a store that is geared toward runner's. I tried to go to a regular store, had them fit me for a running shoe and left feeling with buyer's remorse. I knew it didn't feel right to me and I couldn't get away with buying a cheap shoe, so I went back and returned it. I later found out that the size they put me in wasn't right at all! I went to the Road Runner Sports over at the Tempe Marketplace and loved it. They measured my foot, gave me advice on what to look for, and after I had picked a shoe, they had a treadmill that video recorded my running so the salesperson can check to see if the shoe is correcting my foot posture. :) (The treadmill test is free by the way!) So make that investment in your running shoes, because if the shoe doesn't fit, it will cause problems in the long run.

Clothing. I'm now learning about purchasing the right clothing for running, and I'll explain later why. But when I started, shorts are a must for me. My lower body has it's curves and the feeling of material rubbing together is quite irritating and will distract you the whole time during your run, so if it's the same case, shorts or better material is a good option.

5. Nutrition
When you are training, it helps to see food as "fuel." You are challenging your body hard time and eating proper foods that will fuel and replenish what is lost during a workout is key. Reaching the 8 mile mark I realized the importance of feeding your body. I had eaten a good meal before my run, but afterward I had doctor appointments, errands, and then feeding my kids. So after a few hours from my 80 minute workout, I never refueled and I started to feel weak and nauseous. Whoops.
Also hydration, Before, During and After.

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