Running has been a passion of mine for a while now. Ever since I was in Junior High and my Dad would take me out running with him and I began doing races, always looking forward to the next one. The San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon has been on my bucket list for awhile now and I am so excited that this October I finally get to check it off! I will be running the half-marathon which is my favorite distance and four of my other girlfriends are doing it with me which will be a blast. Since I need to kick my training into high-gear now, I thought I'd share some of my running tips and a half-marathon training schedule if any of you want to train with me. I can't believe it's only ten weeks away!
| PREPARE YOURSELF |
It's so important to take care of your body and make sure it's in the right condition for training. Start with your gear and make sure you have comfortable shoes that will support your feet. I always get at least half a size bigger than my regular shoe size for running shoes and most running stores recommend a full size bigger to prevent blisters and bleeding. Which reminds me - make sure your toenails are cut short to prevent being rubbed up against each other or getting smashed. I sometimes tape my toes for a long run, but I think if you have high-quality socks then you don't need to. Make sure you hydrate your body before a run and always stretch to prevent injury. I can't tell you how important stretching is. When I was training for my first marathon I started having knee problems and my doctor told me that I wasn't cut out for long distances, but I was determined to do the marathon I had signed up for so I stretched religiously and iced my knee after each run and it was amazing how all my knee pains went right away. I would also recommend a foam roller to use after runs as well.
| KNOW YOUR ROUTE |
I always like to run with a GPS whether it's from my Nike+ app on my phone, or a watch, I think it helps to know the course you are taking and how far you have gone so you can be sure to reach your goals. Pick a place that has pretty views and will be somewhere enjoyable to run through because that will take your mind off the run if you are enjoying the scenery. I also like knowing my coarse because then I can pace myself for hills coming up and know when I should be pushing it at the end.
| START OFF SLOW |
If you are a beginning runner or an experienced runner, everyone should start out a run at a slower pace until you're warmed up and then get up to your running pace. But I think starting off slow also means that you shouldn't go straight to signing up for a marathon without ever having run a 5k before. You should work your way up and train for a smaller race before jumping right in to a big one. See how your body does at certain distances and if you feel like you can push yourself further than go for it. Everyone can be a great runner, but we all have to start somewhere.
| RUN WITH MUSIC |
Having a great music playlist while running can really make or break your run. I love it because it helps keep my pace up as I run to the music and it also helps me relax and just not think about anything else but enjoying my time. It's also great to have some power songs that really push you when you need a little pick me up or towards the end of the run when you're getting tired. Music can be the motivation that you need. Make sure your playlist is long enough for the distance of your run, so you'll always have a new song playing.
| GET OUTDOORS |
I have not run on a treadmill in a long time because the outdoors is what motivates me to run. I think getting some fresh air and having scenic views help you go further and for me the time flies by so much faster. I also think that if you are training for a race then it's good to run in the type of environment that you will be in for the race and every race is outdoors. It's so great to enjoy new trails around you, whether it's by the beach, a pretty neighborhood, or some mountain trails - just get out and hit the pavement. There is nothing better than being out early when the sun is just coming up and it's just you on the road. You will thank yourself after, I promise!