Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What I Learned Today

What I learned Today!

Do you remember when you were a kid and you would come home from school and your parents would ask you what you learned that day? Well at the time I could never seem to recall anything important enough to mention.

Yesterday I had a co-worker asked me what I did when I started running. I stumbled to answer at first because I found it to be such a vague question (I ran and the more I did it the easier it was) but after thinking about it for a few minutes I realized she was asking what have I learned through my running endeavours that might help her get started with a running regimine. I suddenly remembered my blog and that this is why I started it! I wanted to document my running journey and all that I learned and encountered along the way!

I printed off a copy of my training schedule and a Couch-to-5k training schedule for this girl and walked her through the process. It also make me think about my Sunday visit to my Mom’s house, upon which I noticed she had bought true “running” shoes- asics, just like mine, and it made me realize how seriously she is taking her running also. She is hoping to do the same ½ marathon John and I are in February. It makes me feel good to pass on some wisdom about what I have learned while in training the last 4 months, so here it goes….

-Take Training plans with a grain of salt and don’t be afraid to modify it to your needs and schedule! I tried to follow the first training plan I had to a T, only to realize that it just wasn’t working with my schedule. Running at least 4 days a week is a MUST for me. 1 run for speed work, 1 long run, 1 easy, and 1 tempo/ goal pace. I prefer to do 5 runs (add 1 more easy run) and 1 day of cross-training, but as long as I get in 4 runs, 2 XT days are good too.

-Cross training is important, but not the most important. So many plans call for 2-3 XT days a week, that does not work for me, so I built in extra run days.

-Be flexible! Not the twist up like a pretzel kind. Be flexible with your schedule when needed (to accommodate bad weather, sickness, etc)

-Stretching becomes the 2nd most important activity of the week. I have NEVER stretched as much in my life as I have these last 4 months, but it is crucial to keeping soreness at bay and I have found many new ways to contort myself to relieve these sore muscles.

-When you live in Florida, Dry-Fit is a MUST! I have pretty much packed up every cotton workout item I own and said good-bye, I have been slowly trying to build up a solid workout wardrobe of dry-fit items. When its 80 degrees (when you run in the DARK) and you sweat as much as I do, running a sopping wet shirt just is NOT fun. I love my dryfit items, I still manage to soak them with each run, but at least it isn’t rubbing all over me while running!

-Just because you live in Florida does not mean you don’t need cold weather gear! It has been COLD here in the recent weeks, John and I have done several runs in the 40’s and 50’s. I have added jackets, gloves, and headbands (for ear warmth) to my collection to keep me moving even in the cold!

-There are things made specifically for running that are worth your investment: Real Running shoes, High Impact Sports Bras (yes not every sports bra is good for a multi-mile run), moisture-wicking socks (love these babies- probably not necessary but have seriously helped keep blisters away

-Running on the grass/dirt/gravel/sand is Definitely harder than trotting along on the road or sidewalk, we have adapted our regular runs to eliminate the grass factor.

-Have a go-to route you use and know the distances well, but make sure you have a couple extras in your back pocket to mix it up with, especially on a long run. Mixing up your scenery keeps it interesting, especially when you are chugging out 8-10 miles and want to die!

-Hydrate! Water is so important for me, if I am dehydrated, my run usually sucks! I like to make sure I have had water before heading out and have it with me if it is a run longer than 4 miles or a temperature higher than 75 degrees!

-Fuel! Food is fuel and making sure you are fueled up properly before running can make a huge difference. I can feel a difference if I had been eating crappy food or had too much wine the day before. Also, Mid-run fuel is a HUGE pick-me-up when you are out for more than an hour.

-IPods make a nice distraction while running, but learn to run without it. What happens if it dies mid-race, better be able to finish without it!

-Listen to your body!!!! SO IMPORTANT- it will tell you when to rest, when to push, when to stop to avoid injury. Don’t forget this!!!

-Running is 95% mental! Only once after a run did I come home and say I could not run right now to save my life- Endurance and training are certainly important, but when it comes down to it, like most sports, running is ALL MENTAL!

Hopefully this enlightens you as to my running journey thus far, and maybe it might just help you with your own!

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