My lovelies, as you read this I’m journeying to Orlando to run my first marathon. It may be one of my father’s infamous “Two in One Specials,” i.e. first and last marathons all rolled up into one. Okay. It’s probably going to be a two-in-one, but I have learned to never say never. In honor of this dubious achievement (Oh, please let me finish and not get swept!) I thought I’d talk a little about what I’ve learned from marathon training.
- Oh mah gosh does it take up a lot of time. If you thought finding an hour to exercise on three separate days of the week was hard, try planning two short runs and one long run each week. Now, make one of those runs take anywhere from three to six hours. I gotta learn to work smarter instead of just harder.
- But it’s not as hard as you would think. Don’t sell yourself short. One of my great revelations occurred at Disney marathon weekend back in 2012: Galloway has this plan where you run and then you walk. Y’all. Life changer. The beauty of the walk/run plan is that you can set it to fit your needs and the running intervals give you speed while the walking intervals give you recovery/endurance. If you’ve always thought you’re not a runner, I’d suggest you try run/walk. Start with a 5k then see if you don’t want to try a 10k or more. Goodness knows I never thought I would one day run a marathon.
- The key is to load your iPod with something awesome. I still prefer up-tempo music, but you can also catch up on your podcasts or listen to audiobooks.
- Good shoes are a must. Even if you’re not a runner, you might want to visit your specialty running store and get fitted. I will skimp on a lot of things, but shoes ain’t one of them. When I was a teacher I wore running shoes on casual Fridays, and they were my saving grace when I worked retail at Border’s.
- Don’t let the running community intimidate you—they’re a supportive lot. In college, I worried people were critiquing my form (or lack thereof) or that they would make fun of me for having to walk part of my first 5k. Later, I was afraid people would sneer because I didn’t run all of the Peachtree or because I wasn’t that fast in my first half marathon. No. Stop being afraid, my friends. I can’t remember a single race I’ve ever run where people weren’t supportive. Even the most elite runners appreciate that you’re out and trying to improve your health. If I’ve been judged, those folks have done a good job of hiding it. And speaking of that support. . . .
- Never underestimate the importance of a well-timed high five. I think this lesson may qualify for life as well as running. Let me tell you a little story about my last long run: Here I am, struggling because I have a runny nose and the wrong bra. I don’t want to be running, but I know I have to because the marathon is in less than two weeks, and I have to keep my endurance up. I see an older lady approaching me. She’s half-power walking and half-running, and it’s not easy for her. I held out my hand for a high five and added words of encouragement, something like “Way to go!” Her face lit up with a grin, and she said something I didn’t catch because I still had my headphones in. Three miles later, we meet again. I’m going out for the next half of my run, and she’s obviously returning from her workout. I took out my headphones and started to say “We meet again!” She cut me off, this time clasping my hand and blessing both my family and me and extending all sorts of well wishes for 2016. I thanked her and wished her the same. That is the magic of human touch, of one person encouraging another. *I* got an adrenalin boost from something I’d intended as encouragement for someone else. Giving truly is better than receiving so consider this post my high five to you!
I can avoid the smoothie question no longer. Fortunately, my first recipe to you is so ridiculously easy. I got the Nutribullet and found I could make a meal replacement smoothie that incorporated some of those veggies I keep avoiding by simply adding the following:
—Half the container of spinach, somewhere between 1 and 2 cups (You can freeze spinach if it goes bad on you before you can eat it)
—Half frozen berries ( like a mix of strawberries, blueberries, etc)
—A shot of some kind of protein (I’m going to try this new veggie powder from Costco since the brown rice is DISGUSTING and I can’t do whey)
—Liquid up to the fill line (I find half orange juice and half almond milk works rather well)
Blend and serve. Et voila!
(Burpees and the marathon results coming up next!)
– Sally Kilpatrick