Tag Archives: half marathon

What I’ve learned about training

We finally got snow in Minne-snow-ta.

(this would actually be a laughable amount any other year)

So, what do I do?  I decide that today is the day to break out these bad boys:

My coworker was so nervous I was going to fall on the sidewalk that he offered to walk next to me so I would fall on him and not the ground.  What a nice guy.  But, walking in high heels is actually one of my many talents (except that one time I completely “biffed it” at work… but, hey, nobody is perfect).

I actually wore these because I have a two-day meeting for work and was presenting today.  My practical footwear just wouldn’t do for such an occasion.  Maybe tall heels make me look smarter?  I don’t know, but it is worth a try.

Anyway, I like to doodle when I have a lot on my mind.  While I was mulling over my presentation, I doodled this:

It is a rough draft of our Tough Mudder/sprint triathlon training schedule!  (that big scribble is our trip to Cancun for our friend’s wedding).  I was a little impressed with myself that I could put together a rough outline for our upcoming events 🙂

It got me thinking about my very first half marathon training experience in 2008.  My coworker sent me a link to an online training schedule and helped me modify it to fit my schedule since I was working full-time and going to school part-time.  I was so nervous and diligent about following that schedule that I gave myself bronchitis two weeks before the race.  Fun times.

It was the worst race ever (but still completely awesome because it was my first race ever).  My knees killed, my hips hurt and I missed a lot of my last two weeks of training.  I figured I wasn’t meant for running, but I really just didn’t know how to train well.

After six half marathons, two 10 miles, two 20 miles and a marathon, my approach to training is much more laid back (which also makes the process a lot more fun!).  These are some of the most important things I’ve learned through experience, talking to my doctor, running stores, or my running books and magazines:

  • Start small.  I know the idea of starting at only one mile isn’t very sexy, but sitting out because of knee pain isn’t sexy either.
  • Build supporting muscles.  Most likely, your knees hurt because you don’t have good supporting muscles, not because you are predisposed to have bad knees (but please see your doctor to verify).  My knees hyper-extend when I run and I wore a really cool knee brace when I played soccer in middle school, but I’ve gotten knee pain under control by doing squats, lunges and biking.  Colleen and Matt both got their knee pain under control with a runner’s knee strap.  Click here for good information about runner’s knee and how to prevent injury.
  • Put your training plan somewhere you will regularly see it.  It will be easier to stick with.
  • Rest if you need it.  If I would have rested for a few days, my cold probably wouldn’t have led to bronchitis and I would have enjoyed my first race much more.  A good rule of thumb is you can run if the sickness is neck up, but you should rest if you have body aches.
  • Get fitted for good running shoes.  I know most of the cool-looking shoes aren’t bulky, but if you have frequent knee or hip pain you probably aren’t wearing the right shoes.  Go to a running store and have them fit you by watching you walk.  I was over-pronating, which was contributing to my knee and hip pain.
  • Vary the speeds of your runs throughout the week.  Each run serves a purpose.  Enjoy the recovery run and push yourself during the interval runs to build up speed.

Ok, I guess that was more than “some” tips.  There are a lot of good resources available about how to prevent injury and put together a good training plan.  Whenever I have a quick question, I check out the injury prevention section of Runner’s World online.

Here are a few links to training plans online:

Do you also like to run races?  What are important tips you’ve learned about training and injury prevention?

I wasn’t a runner before I became a runner

Happy casual Friday!  I live for casual Friday.  It’s so relaxed and everyone is in such a good mood.  Where are all of these smiles Monday through Thursday???

Today, I found a great Guide to Running on Pinterest that I thought deserved to be shared with the eight people who read my blog.  What?  You’re not a runner?  Neither was I before I became a runner. 

It took me two half marathons before I finally admitted to myself that I’m a runner.  I didn’t consider myself a runner because I’m not very fast and I don’t have the cute runner legs (they more closely resemble my hockey player days!).  After running a dozen races over the past four years, I’ve learned there is no typical runner.  In every single race, there have been people of all shapes, ages and abilities. 

I like running because it can be done anywhere and isn’t very expensive.   I love running because of that point in the run when you feel almost invincible, also known as “runner’s high”.   It took me a few months of running before I experienced the runner’s high, but (trust me) it is worth it if you can get through the pain of the first few weeks or months.  I hope that doesn’t make me sound slightly like a drug addict!

The first race I ever ran was a half marathon (when I dive into something, I really dive in!).  That is still my favorite training period even if it was my worst race.  I was beating milestones every week and it felt fantastic.  Running four and six miles were mentally the largest milestones for me.  Once I discovered I could actually run for an hour without dying, I knew I could make it through the race.

Enough about me, let’s get to the whole reason I was motivated to write about running.  Here is the guide:

The two things I like most about this guide are: the half marathon training schedule and the section about injury prevention.  Most runners experience knee or hip pain – it is all about the actions you take to prevent and care for injuries.  Happy running!