And now, here I am. I have 19 more days of training before the big day. Thirteen miles may or may not seem like a lot of mileage, until you put it into perspective. For example, I live in Bridgewater. It is 6 miles to the Whitman Stop and Shop on Route 18 from the Roche Brothers Plaza on Broad Street in Bridgewater. Therefore, it would be like running from Roche Brothers, to the Whitman Stop and Shop, and back.
I have benefited greatly from using the mobile app RunKeeper, which was recommended to me from my good friend and running buddy Kristina. This app helps track your pace and will give readings aloud every few minutes and at the mile marks.
Sometimes, it’s extremely hard to keep going. I’ve come out with a few ways to keep running and hit that mileage, even when you want to give up!
1) Bring water with you. I’ve tried to run without water, and even though I can do without water for up to 4 miles, I just prefer to have some on me. It really can help me go further, longer. My running buddy got me a great running pack with a water bottle, which is awesome. For shorter runs, I also have a fuel belt handheld bottle that comes in handy. Water stops along the run are useful if your water is a little warm, or if it’s warm and you need a little splash on water on your face.
2) Gels and jelly beans. They are great for a burst of energy along the way if you plan to do a longer run. I personally like to run first thing in the morning after eating a little bit, but I can’t always plan a running schedule within my hectic commuting life. The gels are great for when I am running in between meals and maybe am lacking energy.
3) To listen to music or not to listen to music. I personally started running with the mentality that I NEEDED to listen to music when out for a run or at a race. Back in March, my music stopped playing on mile 1 during a 5 miler. I was so miserable for the duration of that run and it was at that point where I realized I had to train myself to not rely on music. Since then, I’ve stopped listening to music and actually really enjoy not having earbuds in my ears. I take the opportunity of running without headphones to listen to nature around me, as well as always keeping an ear out for cars. The area I typically run around in Bridgewater has very limited sidewalks, so it’s important for me to hear the cars coming. People also occasionally speed on those roads, and a few times I’ve had to “offroad” onto lawns to stay safe from passing vehicles. Throughout my long runs I think about things and sometimes get random songs stuck in my head. I don’t mind not listening to music so I definitely think it’s something everyone could do with practice.
4) Talk to yourself. We know everyone can be their own worst enemy at times in life, but you can also be your own best friend. This is true in running. You are the only one who would inevitably give up while on a run and thus you are the only one who can ultimately keep yourself going. It’s important to keep encouraging yourself to continue to run when you want to give up. If you can push through that burst of negativity, you can complete the run. It’s very very easy to give up. Tell yourself to keep going. If you have to even get mad at yourself for wanting to stop, say KEEP GOING! Talk yourself through the negativity and it will eventually go away. This is probably the biggest thing when training for long runs.
5) The importance of stretching. It’s important to stretch as much as possible after a long run. You don’t want to injure yourself especially if the main goal is a marathon. Along with that, always give yourself the appropriate rest needed. I’ve had a hard time with this one because my daily schedule is hectic and I don’t get home until later in the evening because of commuting to Boston. I always feel like I need to be running, but have learned that it’s okay to take a day off.
From here, I have 3 weeks before the half marathon. I have a couple more solid weeks of training that will be essential to completing those 13 miles. Right now, I am focusing on running and preparing for the event. Any free time I have is set on training. As I’ve said in a previous post, I have never put as much commitment into anything else in my life before this half marathon. I can certainly say it builds a lot of character.
I want to thank everyone who has made donations to my Make-A-Wish Foundation webpage for the half marathon. I’m so thrilled that my friends and coworkers have been so supportive of this activity that I’ve made a key part of my life. A million thank you’s would never be enough to express my gratitude.
19 Days and counting. Are you running your first 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon anytime soon? I’d love to hear about it!